It sits right behind the police station, so close you can hear the men laughing about the day's criminals. The house is green now, but that covers the pink that graced its wall before. It's a two-story building that has been home to twenty-four children, countless grand children and various others-some relatives, some not.
As you walk in, it has all the typical Samoan decorations; a bead curtain in the doorway, diplomas and pictures bordering the living room, and a picture of the last supper in the dining room-the kind where Jesus follows you whenever you walk by. The floor is tiled green and white with the occasional brown one where one had to be replaced.
Behind the TV hangs a coconut, which fell on the head of a cousin who lived to laugh about it.
My grandfather's chair is the big leather one right across from the TV. It was from there that he would give the evening prayer, which always involved long blessings for all family members near and far, followed by a lecture on any topic- most often frugality.
However, from this very chair where he dispensed all his wisdom, he also watched WWF wrestling every Sunday afternoon with great enthusiasm. In his old age he took to sitting in a wicker chair right by the front door so he could look out and see who was coming down the drive.
Hurricane Ofa took the big open fale which sat in the front yard outside the kitchen. It was originally built for my great-grandmother. She didn't like those big palagi houses.
My cousins and I would use it as a roller skating rink when we were little. It was a perfect oval just like the indoor rinks, the only things missing were the disco ball, loud music and hotpants -although if you hitched up your lavalava and tied it tight around your things, it could pass as a mini-skirt.
The wood always seemed a perfect brown, never faded by the sun or rotted by the rain. And it had that smell. The smell of Samoa. The smell that always lets you know you're home.