All posts by Maureen Unasa

Maureen Unasa is a contrarian Samoan woman unravelling life, love and culture through the art of Samoan weaving

What does mentoring look like?

My parents would so have a massive Samoan style BF if they knew of my mischievous brat antics while in my last two years of high school.  Mildly put, I kinda spiralled out of control.  I dunno???  Maybe something to do with raging hormones, developing frontal lobes and all out confused teenage rebellion.

I wasn’t a screechingly loud annoying type.  Just quiet and intimidating lone rebel from hell.  Friends not a requirement.  Doc martens and steel caps my shoes of choice.   Don’t cross me.   #Anger management alert.

My teenager daughter is baffled by my psychic eagle powers of seeing around all her angles of deception attemtps.

Honey, I am MASTER deception.  Sensei Sneaky.  SAS Covert Operations Elite.  The all seeing eye.  The Oracle.

Two more years of expert training acquired at university until I was (thankfully) suspended.

Group work at my Community Mentoring Course earlier this week had us picking random questions out of a bag. (A coles cooler bag if you must know) Purpose was to observe mentee or mentor conduct.  An intentional exercise that drew out automatic behaviours.  Illuminating I must say.

Answering my selected question without hesitation and direct honesty was a breeze.  No further discussion required. (I’m just awesome like that)  Personal reflection and profound probing later stirred emotions inspiring this post.

RANDOMN QUESTION: “Who was your favourite teacher and why?”
ANSWER: “My 6th form accounting teacher.  I was 16 and she believed in me when those around me didn’t.  She picked me up when I needed it. (Realising I’m in a mentoring course)  Wow! I guess you could say she was like a mentor for me”.

Like seriously.  In a mentoring course and realising I had my own at a critical time in my life. PRICELESS.
Could that be why I’m ok with who I am right now. Yes, she was definitely a huge factor.

  • What teacher stands up for you when colleagues discuss your lack of attendance in Statistics?

Instead she casually (as teachers do….NOT EVEN) walks into the senior common room and asks whether I’m supposed to be somewhere right now. I am honest with her after all she is also my form teacher too.
“Yip, statistics and it’s so boring and I don’t understand any of it. Annnnd she only teaches the front of the class and ignores us at the back”.

“Oh, OK”, is all she says. Sitting there waiting for her to ORDER me back to class she tells me about a leaving certificate. “It is a national certificate that recognises your official satisfactory completion of high school. Future employers will want to see this”.

Yeah my turn to go, “Oh, OK”.

“Um, you need to satisfy certain criteria of attendance, competency and satisfactorily completing all subjects”.

Case closed. “Yes Miss. I will be at all future statistic classes and I will sit at the front”. I still loathe statistics but learned what I needed to.

Did she like do a mentoring course or something?

  • What teacher turns up to your house after 3 days of consecutive absences and simply asks whether I’m ok.

(My parents only knew I wasn’t at school for one day. I was hanging at a friends on the other two days)  I was so moved by her concern that I made sure I was at school for her.  I really didn’t want to disappoint her anymore. (not that it was about disappointing her but I never realised that yet)

  • What teacher gets permission to take me out of school grounds for lunch?

One that is concerned enough to recognise self destruction. I lost one of my best mates to cancer and refused to attend her funeral.  I was so angry.  All she said to me was this, “If you ever need to talk about anything I am here not as your teacher but just someone to listen”.  Told her I was fine.

  • What teacher sews your ball dress and says if you ever get married I would like the honour of making your wedding dress?

I got hitched at the registry so no wedding dress there but my ball dress came complete with the royalty of a cape. I was a princess without my regular armour and defence mechanisms activated.

  • What teacher helps you cram at her place for finals because you can’t bluff your way anymore through highschool….while she makes her famous shortbread cookies for brain food?

I failed miserably by the way but it was enough to get into a Science degree at the University which my older brother helpfully enrolled me into.  God bless him for his unconditional commitment to my future.

I begrudgingly attended  University the following year with no honest attempt at trying.  I didn’t want to be there. I was lost and confused and just wanted to immerse myself into a job.

I never thanked her properly nor have I kept in touch.  She is always in my heart.  I carry her kindness with me always.  I still have her glowing reference letter that I thought she must have confused me with someone else and put the wrong name on it.

She believed in me when others gave up.  She encouraged me to take on leadership roles and I loved it.  House Captain.  Samoan Group Leader and principal dancer.  Volleyball Captain.  I thrived in the environment of rallying, delegating and inspiring towards success. (OK. Miss Competitive-Take-No-Prisoners-Mercy is for the weak-Fun is when we celebrate winning)  #Issues.

She saw what I didn’t.  Frustrating most,  she broke down my barriers long enough for me to glimpse my potential.
She told me I had the potential to do anything I wanted to and would set about achieving it with distinction.  It is who you are.

I have carried that with me (often trying not to) through life.
Why didn’t I keep in touch.  Because I didn’t realise I had a mentor.
I just thought of her as my favourite teacher who gave a damn.
Of all my highschool memories and subjects learned, she is what has stuck and can recall vividly.

She had two brats when I was in high school.  One graduated with honours in Psychology and is a Doctor in Clinical Psychology working for/with youth offenders and the relevant agencies.
I am an Executive Research Analyst in Behavioural Sciences specialising in child behaviour.  I am the Chairman on the Board of Directors for Unasa Holdings.  In my spare time I am an artist and I write for self-expression.

Not too bad for a couple of brats that one teacher made time for.

Thank you so much for the difference you made in my life.

My simple secret to losing 12kg in 4 weeks #Truestory

Yes, I know YOU want the answer! Let’s see how much traffic this post will possibly generate(if any) compared to my current religious group of five. 🙂

how to lose 12kgs in 4 wks disclaimer

I do hope you have paid attention to my very very very important disclaimer above.  I am an emerging artist and a hopeful writer not a qualified health professional. 🙂

Accompanying child number one (#1) to the doctors a week ago seeking further assistance to remove all traces of our holiday bliss from her skin, proved a marked improvement (unawares I might add) in my own health goals.

Seriously, special rain dance to the scales gods while waiting in the doctors room.
Checking three times for good measure.

Encouraged #1 to jump on the scales and check the health of the scales themselves.
“Stop it mum the docs coming”, #1 whispers with concern.
I reassure her concerns, “And what? He’s gonna put me in the corner or charge me for over exerting his scales?”
(These scales never had this much loved heaped onto it bwahahaha)

She was only too eager to confirm the deceptive scales.  The truth was all too much for her to bear.  Or was it my rain dance and stifled giggling that was drawing the attention of waiting onlookers.  (it’s my job to embarrass my children)

“Mum, the people in reception can see and hear you”.

“Well I have something to be joyful about honey”.

Hahaha.  All of a sudden it dawns on her that I was wearing jeans that she hasn’t seen me wear in over a year. Ahh hello honey?  (wish she would use her powers of observation in her room too-it’s a teenage mess)

Anyway, walking like a deformed duck in denim is not good for the posture. (I don’t succumb that easily to fashion pressure.  If it’s tight.  It don’t fit!)

By the way, we did address her skin issues with the doctor.

An ALL inspiring step by step guide to my transformational weight loss filled with steely determination and guts of sacrificial sweat sessions but……sadly NO.  It depends really.  It might be a false glimmer of hope for some.

My revelation will either inspirate (cupcake’s famous word from MKR) you OR deflate all your notions by obliterating all the recommended health paraphernalia about exercise and diet. It is almost tempting to prove the experts wrong but I know that my miraculous weight loss with ease, was simply a pleasurable sweet bonus of my recent holiday. Oh, if only this delicious treat were the norm and not the exception to the rule.

RULE: Hard work = Results

EXCEPTION: Relaxing, coca cola in a bottle, holiday cigarette smoking, eating when I felt like it.  Sweating profusely voluntarily like a pua’a (pig) AND without lifting a single finger, weights let alone my well developed kalo (taro) calves.

I have managed to defy the impossible and lose 12kgs.  True Story!

Don't know if that shows how much I lost given I look friggin awesome before and after :)
Don’t know if that shows how much I lost given I look friggin awesome before and after 🙂

The scale gods confirmed it in the  serious abode of health professionals. I am an exception to the rule. My body  willingly is/was purely a fine tuned fat burning machine.

Enthusiastically, I shared my new found fat loss success formula to my gorgeous breadwinner and was stunned at his lack of support for my health and the wellbeing of our little family.    (Healthy me-Happy family)

If it works then why would I go against what works. Especially with no effort. OMG THAT IS A DREAM for a busy fiery goddess. I can weave and lose weight by just moving my fingers.

Only that according to my maths to reach my goal weight I will need to return to Samoa for ummmmm……only three months.

IT’S ONLY THREE MONTHS.  It’s important.  A priority.

There is no price to put on that new fabulicious body my health. I can drop the cigarettes again.

(I am not endorsing smoking & will be quitting again on Good Friday-yeah. Oh and consuming ridiculous amounts of refreshing coke from a glass bottle) I have this holiday habit that takes a couple of months to shake trying to keep the holiday dream alive inside the matrix again.

So there you have my secret formula. It would only cost $600AU off peak but the results will absolutely send you to another realm or an island.

And if I want to keep it off.


Stay in Samoa forever and ever and ever. I just need internet and ribbons and I will be as happy as a pig in mud. Just better looking all over. Ohhhhh Yeahhhhhhh.

Sorry honey. Gotta do this for us. You can always join me 😉   (No, he isn’t having it one bit)

The Simple Secret to Losing 12kgs with ease.....HAPPINESS :)
The Simple Secret to Losing 12kgs with ease…..HAPPINESS 🙂