Lessons from the Fijians

Bula and New Year greetings dear reader! I hope your 2023 has started well.

I drafted this post whilst boarding was delayed at Nadi airport in Fiji after a magical break there.

We last came here 5 years ago when Ethan was 18 months and Huw was in my belly. According to Huw he remembers everything we did that time, even tasting the coconuts through mummy’s belly!

This time round the boys were 7 and 5, old enough for the kids club (#winning) and to create memories that will last. We also came with our dear friends family Wong to share the fun. As a mentor once shared, all good things are for sharing!

Reflecting on the warm, welcoming nature of the Fijians and lessons from their spirit and culture that thought are worth paying forward. I’m sure those who have been to Fiji can relate.

Fiji time – once you arrive in Fiji the locals tell you you’re on ‘Fiji time’, where you are not worrying about the stress of time….things will get done eventually….. Whilst this can at first be a little hard to adjust to, especially if you’re used to the hustle and bustle of city life and things being available on demand, I found you soon get into the swing, especially after a cocktail or two! I recall the difference in my patience when we first arrived waiting a long time to check in and then by the end of the trip waiting in a queue smiling when I was really into Fiji Time. A great perspective to bring back home and a refreshed sense of patience. What’s the rush? Will try this when the husband is waiting for me next 😉 

Bula – everywhere we went in Fiji a welcoming ‘Bula’ greeted us which can mean many things including an informal hello, welcome, good morning and afternoon. Even when my husband Owain was running down the side of the main road he received and gave a Bula greeting to every vehicle passed instead of angry beeps which sometimes happens elsewhere. We found the Fijians make eye contact and are excited to connect, not look down and away. They truly embrace we are wired to connect! Vinaka – the Fijian word for thank you is commonplace too and helps create a respectful and polite culture.

Ties to country – I found the Fijians we met, really seemed to embrace their cultural roots and traditions including with food, dress and dance. We observed that the culture is truly respected and brought to life including through storytelling which the boys loved at a live cultural experience. I would love to see this approach more widespread in Australia to learn from, truly respect and embrace Aboriginal Australian’s, one of, if not the oldest civilisations on Earth. 

Creativity – I loved how the local Fijians would bring creativity into the kids club activities and use natural resources for this. The boys enjoyed making a boat out of a coconut and racing it, weaving, playing fun local games, dancing and making tie-dye shirts. It shows you we just need to look to nature to surprise and delight.

I hope to hold on to these lessons as I return to normal life including being a little more patient, embracing the simple, not being in a rush, connecting with nature and being warmer to strangers. 

Whilst still on a post holiday high, I know it’s easy to have a rose tinted glasses view of a place after staying in a luxury resort and that every culture has its troubles with poverty and domestic violence levels high in Fiji. This seems to be a systemic issues which organisations including AusAID have made a long term commitment to help. I pledge to research more into this and find a way to give back to a place that has given our family its best.

Thank you Fiji for the memories, we plan to be back soon! This year according to the boys 😀 Huw said ‘20 out of 10’ for the holiday as the Fijians are so nice and kind 🙏❤️ Vinaka! 

Wishing you all an abundance of love, laughter, good health and happiness in 2023 and beyond xx

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