Have you ever looked at the scenery and fallen in love? It is your calling and you know it’s where you belong. There is a whole other world out there just waiting to be explored, no rushing adults,
speeding drivers and all the hustle and bustle of city life. There are places just for those who are happy with life where the only sound is of care-free laughter and the swaying of palms trees.
It is here where I fell in love. Not with a person but with Fiji itself. I was fresh out of school and my friends and I had decided to take a gap year to go travelling around the world and to see
all it has to offer. I’m the laid back, go with the flow type of person so I wasn’t fussy about what happened; as long as I was with good company, I was fine.
Our first stop was in Fiji. Ever sinceI was younger and had seen a picture of the clear blue water, I had promised myself a trip to the tropical wonderland. I had spent my youth in an average sized
city, where the buildings were all grey and plain, people hurried along doing the same thing they had done for the previous 20 or 30 odd years. You didn’t talk to strangers, that was a rule we had
all learnt from a young age, so when I arrived in Fiji, were everyone was happy and talkative, it was so different and I loved it.
I had always loved anything to do with water for as long as I could remember. I counted the weeks till the hot days came, where everyone was relaxed and where we spent all day lying around a pool
or down on the old jetty, swimming and fishing. When the cold, tiring days came around, I spent my time remembering the days past or planning the summer to come. I could stare out the window at the
forever changing scenery, for hours on end, like nothing else matters.
Fiji was more than I had expected. It was warm all year round and everybody was smiling and laughing with each other, no matter how long you had known them. There was always something to talk about
and everybody was laid-back so I fitted right in. On our second day we took part in a River Safari. While on the safari, we were drifting down a small river, were school children lined the banks.
They were planting seedlings and when we passed, they all stopped gardening and started waving and yelling hello to us. To see how their faces lit up from the simplest things gave you a feeling you
Whilst still on the tour we stopped at a small village. The locals welcomed us with open arms. Almost as if we had known them our whole lives, instead of meeting them for the first time. We had
lunch with them. The women cooked us a traditional Fijian meal while the men entertained us. They called the food lovo and later, when I asked what it meant, a nice young girl replied saying it was
simply the way that they cooked the food.
Once we had finished the meal, we took part in a kava ceremony: The guide gave the chief of the village a gift of Kava roots, which all the visitors had never heard of. The chief then grounded the
roots and added water, then strained the ingredients to create a drink. Everyone formed a circle and we each in turn had a sip. According to their society, it is offensive to turn down a drink. The
kava made our tongue go numb but the all together affect was amazing. It altered my process of thinking. Like drugs and alcohol except it was good for you, it was almost as if I didn’t have a care
in the world, these were my people and this was where I truly belonged and that was all that mattered.
Before we left, there was a mekè. I had become close to the young girl and I asked her what it translated to. She stated that it just meant that we were going to have a traditional sing-a-long with
a bit of dancing. To tell you the truth, when it came time to go I was a bit sad to be leaving the village, but the idea what lay ahead of us got me motivated again.
The rest of our time in Fiji came and went in a flash. We had visited the temple, museum and government house which were fascinating to learn more about the typical life in Fiji. While on the
islands we had made many new friends that we would forever remember. One couple invited us back for their wedding, which was in the following year. I rearranged our schedule so we could make it
back to see them off on the beginning of a great journey in their life. As we neared the airport to catch our flight out, it was all too soon time for the goodbyes to begin and we were all teary.
Just as I was about to board the plane to our next destination, I remembered the time when I had drunken the kava. I had thought that these were my people and this is where I truly belong. All
through our journey around the world, I remembered that and now, 18 months after finishing school I know what lies ahead of me. It is a life of happiness in Fiji.
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