First of all, quick apologies for the delay in continuing this Abroad Series. I shot my first wedding of the summer on Friday, and then have been in Seattle for graduation and hanging out. But the good news for you is that I've consolidated all of Fiji into one post! I encourage you to also check out the full gallery, as there are a lot of photos I haven't included here.

Also to take note, Fiji was a lot different than New Zealand. A lot of the activities we did I couldn't bring my camera to (like hiking/swimming through the wilderness ... not very good for expensive equipment), so checking out my #laurentakespacifica tag on instagram is good for seeing a few more things that I didn't document with my canon).

And now, the beautiful land of Fiji!

May 18 >>>

  • Flew out of Auckland
  • Landed in Nadi
  • Visited sand dunes

May 19 >>>

  • Safari ride through village
  • Cave touring
  • Eco Park
  • Snorkeling
Amy, our awesome tour guide.

Amy, our awesome tour guide.

May 20 >>>

  • Truck ride to hike to slide down the waterfall
  • Kayak/play in the ocean

Today has been insane. Muddy hike. Shoes breaking. Everyone was slipping and falling. Our tour guides took us out into the rainforest on the back of a truck and we hiked through grass and forest and mud and crossed rivers and forest and vertically climbed and swam to get to a waterall. It was absolutely insane and also a fabulous adventure. My shoes died a horrible and painful death and I ended up just walking barefoot through the mud. When we reached the waterfall (and after we played) we slid down the river (the locals were laughing at us wanting to do it), and trekked some more, waded in another river, and went the rest of the way by boat. It was great and absolutely beautiful and I will never forget it.

May 21 >>>

  • Lunch in Suva
  • Village Stay
    • Kava ceremony
    • Lake + bamboo rafting
    • Dinner
    • Evening Kava ceremony, with dancing

May 22 >>>

  • Breakfast in the village
  • Painting the community hall
  • Morning Kava and more dancing

That's it. That's life. If we have contentment, that's all we need. Not complacency, but contentment. No matter the circumstances, only being thankful for whatever we have at this moment. Because then our tie with one another can never be severed. We can move from the bus stop to the bus and be equals because we all know we don't deserve grace, but we are thankful for every drop we are given. And there's no pity or contempt or pride, only love and immense joy.

A wave saying, "Bula, fellow human, I hope God continues to bless you and shower grace and contentment upon you." And we both smile because we are given life and given this beautiful place to live upon.

The hills are orange and dark green and bright, grass green, almost neon. I need to document everything so I don't forget, but sometimes I just let moments hang in the present and become filled with them. I don't remember the pictures but I remember the feelings. And I remember that everything I see is beautiful. But I remember that each moment will become a memory, hazy and desaturated, and that breaks my heart. How can you remember everything perfectly? Not through any means that I know of. The camera picks it up half a second too late, and that half second itself is flawed. It's in there before I blink, the thin place is in time--every single tenth of a second, there and gone, there and gone, like the blue sky and green sugar cane fields right before my fingers touch the camera.

May 23 >>>

  • Mud pools and hot springs

We covered outselves from head to toe in mud. We dried in the sun, then washed it off in the mud pool, which was a lot more gross than what we were expecting. But then we got in the geothermal pool, which was so relaxing. I closed my eyes and wanted to stay there forever, my chest feeling tight and just the top of my head to my nose out of the water. This whole Fiji portion has felt like that. I think that's the best way to describe all the emotions I've had. I'm laying in bed now in Nadi, watching the line of ants on the opposite wall go down from the air conditioner to behind curtains that look like angels. We've all said, "Fuck it" to amenities and try to give extra thanks to the waiters and waitresses, and try not to think of the village next to us as we sun bathe in our bikinis. This is life. It's a strange paradox but the ants don't know that. I can't hear anything over the air and I can't speak because my mouth is under water but I can see everything clearly and the mud washed clean makes me new.

May 25 >>>

  • Robinson Crusoe Island
    • Snorkeling

I float on the water, looking down and out towards a vast dim something. A turtle races by, a million tiny fish sway in the current, and I dive for a shell. My eyes and mouth burn with saltwater, sanctified. All the different wave-tides converge together, and I stand where ocean becomes one. I am 75% water, and it tells me new things each day. Each shell dances a story, rippling bigger and longer until every massive wave hitting against the reefs are a result of it, a home for a hermit. We've come full circle, from one end of the ocean and back, and the world is much, much smaller and more beautiful than we dreamed.

We finally returned back to America after flights were delayed a total of 24+ hours, and that made everyone really ready to be back home. While in the air, I wrote once more in my journal ...

We are losing a day in the air and I've gone back in time to recall our journey. I have too many emotions and I want to cry for how truly incredible this trip has been. We all have the stories and sunburns and scars to prove it. It's going to take a while to adjust back to normalcy, but when I get back to Oregon it will nearly be time to plan for the next trip.

This world leaves me breathless. I don't even really know what to write. My journal has been graded but I still feel the need to document. Eleven hours of reflecting as I fly back over the Pacific, and it will never be enough time. This trip has changed us all.

 

Again, I encourage you to view the full gallery of this trip, and check back tomorrow for the culminating video!!

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