Mother's Day 2012 for the Veikoso family living in Nepani, Nasinu is very different this year.
Their Nau, Adi Sainimili Loco Veikoso has returned after 12 years.
Adi Sai as she is fondly known by neighbours and close friends, is from Sawakasa, Tailevu. She is the only daughter of the late Ratu Filimoni Loco.
Her husband Ratu Kinivuai Veikoso is from Buretu, Tailevu. He is the son of the late Doctor, Ratu Savenaca Veikoso.
Adi Sai had been working as a caregiver to the elderly in the US since 1995. She surprised her family with the best Christmas gift ever last year when she arrived home on Christmas Eve.
Adi Sai's experiences from the day she left Fiji on October 5, 1999, has been life-changing.
She left her employment as a typist at the then Native Land Trust Board in 1998 and took the redundancy package.
Leaving her husband and six children behind was not easy, she says, but her faith in God pulled her through the years they were apart.
Interestingly, Adi Sai says that in all those 12 years, she kept a close tab on the home front and knew what was going on.
"I called every day - I call them to say "good morning" and call them to say "good night," she says.
"For 12 years, that's what I did. Everyday, I knew what's going on in my house.
"Even on Sundays, I wake them up early to go to church! If you ask them, they'll tell you," she laughs.
The six children and her husband filled her in on the daily family affairs and changes to the home and their lives which their Nau was financially providing for.
When Adi Sai left home at the age of 47, her children were still in Primary, secondary and tertiary schools. She came home last year to three married children and six grand-children.
Eldest, Rt. Imanueli Mulomulo Veikoso has three children, daughter Adi Alaiwalu is married to jazz guitarist Tom Mawi's youngest son, Tom Mawi jnr. They have two children. And third son, Rt. Alipate Bolabasaga Veikoso has one child.
Her other three children are Rt Aporosa, whose in the British Army, Adi Arieta Lutunauca (named after Adi Sai's mother), and youngest son, Rt. Filimoni Loco Veikoso.
She said she was shocked to see so many Fijians in the US and moreso, that many in the Fijian community were already aware she was coming.
"I went there to work. I thought it would be a housegirl type of job, but I later found out that I was to be a caregiver to elderly people in their 60s, 70s, 90s, some even 100."
"We have to fix breakfast, lunch, stay with them full-time. Here in Fiji, only nurses administer injections, take blood pressure, and medicine, unlike there, it was a case of "we see, we do," she said.
Adi Sai's memory of her first ever job at a place called Paradise Point is still fresh, and is one that always makes her cry when she recounts it.
For the first six months, work was two hours from her home in Sacramento.
"I thank the good Lord that I know him, because I had nobody to talk to. I thought I would be near my other Fijian friends but we were located very far from each other. Imagine!"
At Paradise Point, she had to have a code to enter through the gate. The house overlooked San Fransico bay.
Adi Sai says that morning she was ready by 5am for her 7am pick-up. At the house, a man asked her if she knew what to do, she blindly answered 'Yes'.
"He was the owner of the house and was paid to take care of this elderly Italian lady. He and his wife had to go work elsewhere so I was to stay with the old lady. I didn't know what to expect really."
So the owner told her: "She's in that room. The fridge is there. Eat whatever you want. I'll be back on Sunday."
Adi Sai says nothing prepared her for what lay ahead.
"I hurried to the room to see her. When I got to her bedside, the stench of her soiling herself was unbearable! I ran to the bathroom and broke down in tears. I was crying and crying. It was just too shocking. And the stench kept hitting me. I saw Ratu's face (husband), my children, I was weeping , I think I was like that for three hours. I was totally unprepared for this. No one explained to me.
"Because for us, we only know to clean our children when something like this happens, but this was a stranger.
"Then I prayed. And God spoke to my heart and reminded me that the old lady was a helpless human being in need. God reminded me that it was just food being removed as waste. When I looked at the situation like that, it gave me the courage to carry out my work," she said.
Adi Sai says by the next two days, she treated the almost 90-year old lady as if she was her very own mother.
She says anyone wanting to work as a caregiver must possess special qualities like love, patience, understanding and a humble heart.
Adi Sai proudly showed me an album full of pictures of her life in the US, all the different places she worked, all the elderly people she cared for, their families and grandchildren, pictures of her Fijian friends and relatives and exciting places she visited.
She says working in a highly populated and advanced environment like that has its temptations and diversions, so keeping a stronghold on God and prayer life is a must. She knows of many cases where marriages and families have broken because of distance and lack of self control by those who live there to work away from home.
She has cared for Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, even Athiests. One funny memory she has is of an old man she cared for, for five months.
"When I say, ok, we pray," he'd say "Take that crap away!" she recalls, laughing.
She particularly loved her work at Clearlake where she took care of a lady so short, she needed a ladder to climb into bed.
"And everyday, we have to play rami (500), she loves to play cards! We play rami after breakfast, then after lunch until dinner. Just her and I."
"When her daughter comes, she takes us to the Casino for more card games."
She also spent seven months with a family in Santa Rosa. "They were just like my family," she says.
"You know, they always ask me if I miss my husband and my children. One thing I tell them is, I pray everyday. Give everything to our good Lord. I pray and have faith that the good Lord is taking care of them."
Adi Sai says she will never forget her grand-children's voices over the phone.
"They always asked me "when you coming home"; they call me "Nau Levu Amerika," she laughs.
One day, her eight-year old namesake said something that broke her heart and got her thinking. "When she asked me if I was coming home, I told her that if I did, she wouldn't be getting any more pretty clothes and presents. You know what she said, "I don't want that. I just want you to come home".
Today, Adi Sai, her husband, children and grand-children will relish their reunion on this first Mother's Day after 12 years.
At 59, and a few grey hairs later, her love for God, family and others is stronger than ever.