Fiji: What I have learned in 6 months

After spending the last six months in this beautiful developing island state, new pearls of wisdom have washed ashore, and silver linings have revealed themselves through many hard learned lessons.  There is definitely something to be said about living and working in paradise, and while anyone may experience ups and downs when away from home, I find value in chaos, and beauty in understanding myself and my place in this wonderful country.

 

I walk around barefoot. Say hello to strangers. I care less what cobwebs belong to which spider. I appreciate the rain; the sound of it on tin roofs. How your blood rushes in cold showers. Life is less cluttered.

Everything feels more authentic. Beauty goals and ideals are without its attainment through unnatural, painful or artificial means, because I would go a day without looking in the mirror. I know what the tree looks like that my fruit from the market comes from, because I have picked them myself.

When dealing with local partners, you are met with the optimistic ‘you have something good to bring, lets hear it’ attitude as opposed to the doubt and cynicism you may encounter back home. It’s less about who you are on paper and more about active thinking.

I have learned infinitely more about the environment, and even more so I feel reconnected. I did not have much intention on learning how to dive, and now I have found a whole new world to wanderlust.

Things don’t always go as planned, so you quickly learn the futility of complaining. You adapt to ‘Fiji Time’. Promises are often only a meaning of intent. If anything, I plan less and come up with the same results.

Family is the cornerstone of every aspect of life here. Do not take everything at face value, as even though you are welcomed instantly, respect is earned and relationships are slow burning, but the rewards are invaluable, because feeling like you are part of a family is priceless.

Political sentiment of the past and present echoes through the mouths of taxi drivers, and as you listen awkwardly you will yourself to learn more. This may not be your home country, but pick up a newspaper once in a while.

Rugby. As a sport for me it has gone from vagueness to familiarity, and Fiji is an amazing place to be for it.

I am drawn to Fijians for their strength and positivity, and whilst I emulate these traits, I maintain healthy ways of addressing sorrows. Despite respect for the natural order and circle of life, I maintain that the battle does not have to be lost for all animals. I have learned that it is important to take what you can, give back, improve yourself but not lose sense of self.

My only regret is not keeping a journal for the especially eventful days. Fiji Day, in particular, you have stayed strong in my memory.

I may not be slingshotting bats out of trees or successfully spearhunting fish anytime soon, and I will never master the art of consuming chilli and then remembering not to rub it in my eyes, but maybe in my own sweet Fiji time i’ll get there eventually.

 

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