Bula Fiji

It was hard to say goodbye to Fiji and this study abroad experience.

I mean, who wants to leave this behind, right?

Leekoo (no clue how her name is really spelled), who was one of the Fijian guides, was telling me about some cultural differences which I found very interesting. She said that in Fiji they only really celebrate their 1st, 16th and 21st birthdays. Other than those it's pretty low key. She said that for her next birthday they would probably go to McDonalds or get pizza or something. I thought that was interesting because I go to McDonalds for the exact opposite reason, I only go on unimportant days when I'm in a rush usually. She said that most Fijians are Christians. They usually celebrate Christmas by having a big party the night before. And she said Santa normally just comes in the city. Arranged or "fix" marriages used to be very common, but now "love marriages" are more common.

Last boat ride on this amazing blue water!

Well, that's one way to spell Fiji...Feejee

Love the random talent you find in Fiji.

We got henna tattoos from this amazing lady who free-handed these in just minutes.

We got to ride on the special bus!

It was special because there were seats that popped out in the middle, as shown here!

This is the plane that I got ride back to the big island in. YIKES! Just 8 of us could fit inside.

Never been so close to the pilot before!

The view outside the window.

Beautiful Kiersti and I.

World's smallest baggage claim. haha. Ok, I'm not sure if it is or not, but it was hilarious how they loaded it on there just to have it spin a few feet so we could pick it up.

We got to visit the temple in Suva which was awesome. It's really beautiful.

However, if you look closely the angel Moroni is missing a leg!! Some thieves thought he was made of real gold and climbed up and cut off his leg only to find out it's not made of gold!

We spent some time in the city, although mostly shopping or at internet cafes. I've heard that Suva is the biggest city in the Pacific Islands, but I didn't find it especially nice. Something interesting though is that there is a very high number of Indians living in Fiji. They are called Indo-Fijians. They were brought over by the British over a hundred years ago to work as indentured servants and slaves on the sugar cane plantations.

It's surprised me to see that "clean clothes all the time" is something worth advertising. That just seems like a basic necessity to us in the states.

In my journal I wrote, "I seriously have an immense gratitude for what I have and the blessing it is to live in America that I did not have before. But I also have a better understanding of how it's possible to grow up in a 3rd world county like this and be truly happy even with such modest living conditions. They enjoy social gatherings, food and music just like we do in America. And life is simpler with less distractions, but harder because they have to work really hard just to get food and survive. This has all been very eye-opening and good for me to learn what it's like to do without."
I miss my tan!! All natural.

This study abroad was incredible and I learned so much. It really stretched me and opened my eyes to new cultures and ways of living. It taught me to be more easy going, to be more grateful, that families are the most important thing, to make the most out of any situation, that a little dirt never hurt anyone, that this earth is far more beautiful than I ever imagined, to not always believe in first impressions, that "I can do hard things", to always be kind to others - you never know what kind of an impact it can have, and that what I previously considered necessities really aren't so necessary after all. I am so grateful to have had this experience.

Landing in LA was definitely a culture shock, but it felt so good to be back home.

I lived August 22, 2010 twice. Pretty cool, eh? The first time I spent the day in Fiji going to church, eating Thai food for lunch, hanging out at the hotel watching Inception, packing up and flying to LA. We left at 10:00 PM on Sunday, crossed the international date line and arrived in LA at 1:40 PM on Sunday, 8 1/2 hours earlier than when we left. I then spent the rest of that day traveling to Bakersfield and being with family at home. Oh how good it felt to sleep in my bed and take a very long hot shower, followed by delicious American food.

1 Response to Bula Fiji

December 17, 2012 at 4:25 AM

Thanks for these reminders of what I also learned on that study abroad. Maybe we should line up some of our travel plans to meet up somewhere overseas!

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