Bula means Hello in Fijian. I was saying Bula over and over for 5 days while I “holidayed” in Fiji with my new family. From the moment we landed I knew we were going to be spending the week in a tropical paradise. From the welcome song that the native Fijian people sang to the goodbye song they use to send you back home, I was in awe. We got in fairly late for the kids and the first meal in Fiji was more stressful than the rest but I couldn’t wait to see everything the next day!
We stayed at the Sheraton Villas, the picture above, and it was fabulous. Four different pools and spots to lay out. THe kids of course only wanted to swim until their arms wouldn’t work. It was fine by me because we spent most days outside for the majority of the time enjoying the warm air and cool water. From the pools you could see the ocean and in the ocean popped up mountains and islands all around I have never seen anything quite like it.
The second day after a morning of swimming I got to try paddle boarding for the first time. It was really fitting that my first time on a paddle board I got to be in Fiji of all places in the world. Paddling out and keeping balance came fairly naturally to me thankfully because the whole family watched as I tried this out for the very first time, a lot of pressure to look graceful and cool. In one word the experience was SPECTACULAR! Now I kind of want a paddle board of my own. After paddle boarding as a family we got a sailboat and went out for a bit. It was really fun to watch how their dad mesmerized the kids by being the captain.
The fijian language is really fun to listen to and I got to hear it all day. The people there are so friendly and warm they would make it seem they had known you forever. I am fluent only in two words Bula and Vinaka which means thank you. I could have said Vinaka about 1000 times a day if I could have. One night I got to do a little exploring while both kids napped with mum NOT mom and dad. It was so nice to have some quiet time to take in everything around me.
The food was really great a lot of spicy chicken and veggies and pasta. I also got to try the local beer Vonu which was really tasty. Two nights we were there I got to have a very special dinner with just the kids. They both felt really grown up but most especially Cooper who was really cute and said it was out special dinner and his parents were at the boring work dinner. These two kids already have my heart. One night we had dinner at the pizza spot by the hotel and I got to witness how crazy people are for rugby over here. New Zealand was playing South Africa, everyone was singing the national anthem of NZ before and going crazy during big plays. I’m not sure what qualifies as a big play in rugby but I was just as entertained by the people around me as they were of the match. Rugby is for Australian and New Zealanders as football is for Americans. I want to watch one here in Sydney when I get the change.
One of the more memorable moments for me was getting a sailing lesson with mum. She knew HEAPS (straight aussie lingo there) more than I did but I took the captains spot and didn’t run us aground or run anyone over that was kayaking so to me it was a job well done. Our instructor was at times hard to understand but really funny. He jumped off the boat after about 10 minutes and we were on our own. It was lovely to spend some one on one time with her.
On Sunday the day before we were heading back home we did a day excursion to one of the smaller islands. We sailed out there with a big group of people. Thats a pic of the whole family on the boat :) they are the greatest. We ate and drank the whole way out. Some people were using the bar quite often and everyone I met told me how beautiful my accent is. That part is still surreal to me that I am the one that sounds cool. It took about an hour to get to the island but after that there was a TON of stuff to be done.
The first thing to be done was the Kava ceremony. Kava is the native drink. The ceremony is very precise and used to only be done with the chief but now they use it on the tourists too. First thing is the chief drinks the Kava, our chief was just one of the people from the ship. You have to clap once say bula then clap three time before drinking and then clap three times when the drink is gone. After the chief does this it was open for the rest of us. I was told I HAD to try it, so i got in line and was ready to have my first native experience. It tasted disgusting and you drank out of the small wooden bowl. It made my tongue and lips feel numb…not strange because apparently it has a mild sedative in it. I guess if you drink enough your whole body may go numb. After that the kids and I went and had a ride in the glass bottom boat over the reef while mum and dad went on the powered snorkel machine things. I don’t know what they are called. After that it was lunch and more free time.
During my off time I went snorkeling for like an hour and a half. I have never been in water that clear. There were blue starfish and tons of different kinds of fish to see. I just took my time and wanted to see everything I could, the water was warm, the beauty was everywhere. I could not have asked for a better first snorkel experience over here. I can barely imagine what the Great Barrier Reef will be like in comparison because I know it is WAY more colorful than anything I saw in Fiji. That makes me really excited to say the least. After snorkeling we all took out a kayak. Dad with Cooper, mum with Sacha, and me in my own. I kayaked around the entire island, which sounds way more than what it actually was because the island was really small. By the time I got back though it was time to board the boats back to the ship and head back to the marina.
On the trip back it was more eating and drinking and mum and I had a few glasses of champagne to celebrate the kids not absolutely losing it on the boat rides. They were really great actually no serious issues which amazed me. I took tons of pictures on the boat and island and everywhere during this trip so it was hard to decide which to put in this post. But gosh Fiji is spectacular.
I cannot believe the things I have gotten to do in the first 10 days of being over here. It has been a whirlwind but so amazing. The trip was the perfect way to really get to know the family and when we got back home I really have felt so comfortable. I got my first I love you from the kids which meant that I passed the test, they like me, they really like me. I am so relieved. Each day I am driving I am also gaining confidence in that area. Its harder than I thought to drive on the other side of the road especially a manual. Maybe that will be my next post. For now I will say bye to Fiji and hopefully a see you again.
Au domoni iko (I love you)-