To our dearest Fiji,
We knew this time had to come.
We tried to ignore it, not wanting to think what our life would become without you.
But we cannot hide any longer. We now must face the truth.
The time has come for us to say farewell Fiji. To say moce. Goodbye.
Eight months, eight glorious months in your warmth. It pains us to leave.
We will miss your warm and welcoming embrace. At times, that warm embrace felt almost suffocating as if we were drowning in a sea of hot damp towels draped across the backs of our necks, but still, we loved you.
Oh the adventures we have shared together, dear Fiji.
Sailing across your perfect turquoise waters, plunging into your alluring marine world and among all the beautiful life that calls the ocean home. How will we ever cope without you?
You have ruined ocean swimming for us.
Those beautiful, clear waters that felt like a warm bath; with you, we never had to face the the seven stages of freezing waters trickling up through sensitive body parts while slowly drawing out the pain of immersion into a cold ocean.
With you, every swim was a tropical delight.
We may not have always seen eye to eye.
Your internet connections leave much to be desired, as does the time it takes to get a message through to the right person. And the frequent powercuts we endured were tiresome, but we learnt to be resourceful.
Perhaps you were just teaching us a lesson, dear Fiji.
To appreciate the smaller details in life that perhaps we have ignored all these years as a result of the hustle and bustle of big city life.
You taught us about Fiji time. No hurry, no worry, you would say. Sega na leqa!
In the end, we could not fight island time. Soon enough we too were turning up late to meetings and responding to emails a week later. But it was easy to understand why – your beauty was too much of a distraction.
From four-wheel driving over and between precariously positioned rocks and dirt tracks up into the mountains, overlooking your beauty from a height – you took away our breaths at every turn.
Sometimes that was as we manoeuvred up tracks seemingly made for an ox not vehicles, but mostly because of your stunningly beautiful and intricate landscape.
Driving through your villages, some where horses are a daily mode of transport, taught us about gratitude.
The basic housing structures, the hardworking people in the heat of the day chopping sugar canes and tending to crops, watching children still aged in single digits herding horses and cattle – we realised what a privileged life we had been living before you.
Your people are your strength.
You have been through tough times, but oh my, how resilient you are. Some of your people have suffered much pain and trauma especially due to violent acts of nature, and yet your people never complain.
They continue to smile and greet strangers at every opportunity.
At first we were afraid of the men carrying machetes, but soon we understood and learnt we had nothing to fear, just admiration for a workforce untouched by the strains and demands of modern farming and hunting technology and tools.
We soon joined in and bought our own machete – the perfect tool for cracking open a fresh coconut.
We learnt that despite having few possessions and little funds, your beautiful people would always smile.
Your children have not been spoilt with the technology of societies driven by smartphones, laptops and constant connectivity. And they were the happiest, friendliest children we have ever met. Every time our paths would cross, brilliant flashes of wide smiles and waving arms would greet us.
How much joy it would bring to us to see children outside playing together and singing. We were humbled to see teenagers just as passionate about sports using plastic coke bottles for rugby balls as the genuine article. Boy, did that speak much to us and our commercialised brains. We realised how much we had to learn about life.
We were just a newly married couple when you entered our lives, Fiji. New and naive in the big scale of marriage.
You certainly have challenged us.
Your mosquitos grew tiresome, never knowing if they were carrying dengue fever or zika and the subsequent ban on potential reproduction.
We may not have always appreciated the taste of kava, but thank you for letting us be part of those special ceremonies.
Unfortunately you never learnt that we had our own vehicle and we didn’t need a taxi. I know we looked like tourists but we never needed that taxi in our first month, our eighth month and every month in between.
But hey, at least we knew we were never alone, right? There was always someone to greet us.
Being with you in our first year of marriage has strengthened us in more ways we could imagine.
We only had two hospital visits during our time with you, one each.
We took road trips at every opportunity, spending hours marvelling in your nature while talking and bonding with one another.
Our scuba diving and snorkelling trips breathed new life into us and now we have a bank full of incredible memories of our adventures – under the sea and on dry land.
Because of you, we have grown; because of you, we will be better people and your memory will remain forever etched in our hearts.
Dear love, never stop glowing in the evenings.
We treasured all those breathtaking twilight hours, evening after evening. Those slow, lingering sunsets where golden, red and purple hues blended and merged into the ocean oasis. Oh what beauty, oh what hope each sunset gave us.
You got under our skin, Fiji.
And now we have to part.
We broke down when your people sang Isa Lei to us, your farewell song. Those stunning voices and harmonies – it was too much for us to bare and tears streamed at the beauty and the heartbreak of having to say goodbye. Those rich voices, unified and perfectly fused with one another; how we will miss your songs and your music.
Our love for you will never fade. Our admiration and respect for you will shine as vibrantly as your azure waters.
Never forget us, for we will never forget you.
Farewell Fiji. With all our love.
Juliette & John
THE NEXT CHAPTER
We are terribly sad to leave Fiji after a wonderful life in the Islands. But for now, a new chapter awaits for us on Aotearoa, New Zealand. Our Home. Fiji will remain a part of our lives forever and part of this blog – but we cannot wait to share more of our future travels around the world and around our home country of New Zealand with you.
We’ve got some exciting posts coming up next, including our ski trip to Japan, showing off the stunning scenery in New Zealand and our trip to Ireland at the end of the year. So don’t go anywhere! We’ll be sure to keep posting beautiful Fiji photos on our Instagram page so give us a follow, if you aren’t already following.
DISCUSS: What feelings did you have when you left a country you had called home?