Life is precious

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Wow.  Only one month into 2018 and it’s already felt like a period of learning and introspection.

January was full of the usual summer frivolity; beach, sun, eating copious amounts of watermelon, and contemplating whether or not to switch on the air-conditioning.

But then a couple of things happened that made me step back and realise how previous life is and how we need to make the most of every waking day.

Firstly I’ve had a few health issues to deal with over the past month.  At this stage I’m still making sense of it, but will blog this about some time in the future.

Secondly, I found out last Monday that a colleague from Unitec, Deborah Faaiuaso, had suddenly passed away in an accident.  I worked alongside Deb in the wider Student Experience team and she was a backbone of our key services.

I admired so much about Deb.  Not only was she a fellow Samoan, she was also a well-educated, articulate person who was passionate about helping students.  As a colleague, she was so confident in her approach and didn’t hold back from sharing her perspective.  She could present an argument logically, with thought and evidence.  Even though she used to laugh about having to tap into ‘feelings’ she did indeed have a kind, friendly persona.

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Deb, Erin, Ally and me (2017, Unitec)

When I was going through a difficult time at work last year, Deb stood strong and always supported me.  She kind of reminded me of my older sister – strong, protective and always willing to put up a fight!  She also had a wicked sense of humour too.  I am forever grateful for when she looked after my beloved Careers team when I left Unitec.

I remember an amazing conversation with her last year when we had a deep and meaningful about our families and career paths.  I loved hearing about the love she had for her aiga, in particular for her nephews.  She also shared her passion for the arts and play-writing.  So talented.

Deb, you will be missed by many.  Thank you for sharing your talents with us on earth and for being a great role model.

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