The family are gathered for a big meal, an 18 year old Siale Piutau stands up and proudly announces to the whole family his intentions to marry his girlfriend, Blossom.
Blossom Piutau laughs as she thinks back on the day.
“I think half of them just found out that we were dating that night, so they were shocked to hear that we were getting married at some stage.”
Blossom and Siale were high school sweethearts, and have known each other since they were 15 years old.
“We’ve shared our goals at a very young age. Because we did that, I believe it’s brought us to where we are today.”
The question of who said hi first, that is still up for debate, “we’ll leave that in God’s hands” she joked.
Blossom had a career in finance, and also pursued her love of photography. However, she chose to leave it all behind to be by Siale’s side as his career in rugby took off.
Today, with five children, Blossom is there to support her husband wherever his rugby takes him, supports and homeschools her children and keeps a home for the family.
She says it’s very rewarding, but not always easy.
“It goes without saying, there are times where I’m like what am I doing? What was my goal? What is my dream? What did I want to do? What did I aspire to be like in terms of my career? Those days often come up”.
Talking to her husband is her coping mechanism, she says sometimes she needs the reassurance that they’re both still on the same page.
After “one of those days” she’ll talk things out with friends, and enjoy a glass of wine.
Keeping in regular contact with her friends is something that has helped her along the journey.
Blossom has a circle of friends in the UK and made new friends at their current home in Japan. She said one of the highlights of this lifestyle is “meeting new people and them becoming family”.
It can be hard when Blossom and her family move to a new country or when friends leave the team, but she said she will always keep in touch with them.
“All the people that have come into my life, I will still carry on and be friends with for a lifetime” she said.
Roughly three years after their proposal, Blossom and Siale were married.
In 2010 they moved to Dunedin, Siale was signed by the Highlanders and he was already loved by rugby fans.
Blossom admits, with the status and fans her husband has, it’s easy to lose yourself and sometimes wonder “is he looking at someone else?”.
“One thing we’ve always told each other, even though we have children, we’ve always prioritised our marriage”.
She remembers this, as Siale will head out to a function, she knows nothing can come between them.
“Make sure your marriage is strong and you communicate constantly. If you do get these feelings where it’s eating you up because your husband is now seen in another light to women, voice it. Voice it to your husband”.
By now they had three daughters, the youngest being three months old.
Their oldest daughter, Emma, started school in Dunedin. Three months into her schooling, Siale accepted a contract with Yamaha and the family were off to Japan.
Juggling the schooling system in an unfamiliar country was a hurdle for Blossom. The closest international school was over an hour away and she quickly decided that wasn’t an option.
They made the call to put Emma into an all Japanese speaking school, which she said was difficult. Blossom often questioned if she was making the right decision, considering the language barrier between Emma and her teacher.
Blossom recalls Emma walking home from school in tears, the culture change being very hard.
“You’re not allowed to drop your kids off to school, you have to let them walk. On their first day they’re paired up with someone and that’s who they go through primary with.
“They didn’t have westernised toilets, they had the toilets in the ground, so she wasn’t used to that kind of thing. I would be the mum that would walk her up the road a bit and stand on the side so that the teachers wouldn’t see me”.
Blossom said things were a lot easier once their second daughter, Azariyan, started school.
“Before you know it, after maybe six months, they loved it!”.
They were settled in Japan for five years, before Siale was offered a contract in the United Kingdom.
There was a lot of back and forth moving between Japan and the UK, as Siale honored his contracts in both countries.
Now, living back in Japan again after five years in the UK, Blossom is homeschooling her children.
“Homeschooling I find these days a bit challenging. I don’t know if I’m teaching the kids enough, or if they’re up to par with where they’re meant to be”.
Although homeschooling isn’t easy, she said it’s rewarding when her children show they remember things she taught them weeks ago.
Blossom said she sometimes struggles with the lack of stability and not knowing how long they’ll be in a country for.
It’s also an experience she said, “that we could never experience if we just stayed in New Zealand”.
For those about to embark on a similar journey, her advice to you is to remember that it’s not forever so enjoy it.
Find the beauty of the city you’re in.
Make memories, create memories.
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Article written by:
Samantha Shields & Vanessa Leota