Hi all, im having a great time being back in Fiji. Have been here now for 6 weeks, time is flying, its amazing how easy it is to fit into old ways of life. 'Fiji time' has most definitely hit and although I've been busy im enjoying the slow pace of life. I think both Clare and I were totally ready to give our backpacks a rest for a while. I know I took great joy unpacking my bag.
As you can imagine we were both really excited to be back in our South Pacific home. It also worked out perfectly as Sowani's flight from Melbourne arrived 30 mins before ours. Little Hannah (Yaca) was doubly excited to get to see her Yaca (me, namesake) and her favourite uncle. Its incredible to see how much she has grown and her English is amazing.
It felt right when the ferry docked on Ovalau, it's a great feeling to be home. The only difference was that I went straight to town to see Joanne rather than going to the village. That felt very unnatural but it was one of the best feelings seeing Joanne. Her and the kids are doing really well, i've been to stay with her a few times and im looking forward to seeing them more. Joanne and I had a great night out at the only bar in town which resulted in a very long slow stagger back to hers in the dark.
I had a great Christmas in the village, Christmas Day was quieter than I expected, more like a family getting together for Sunday lunch. I dressed in my Fijian Christmas sulu jaba, it was really nice to get dressed up. After lunch I opened my Christmas parcels from home, no Christmas presents here though I did go to a few house that had tinsel decorations up. I had a lovely parcel from Mum and was most surprised when the boys sent my Christmas stocking. The one Mum made and even now hang on my door handle come Christmas Eve. I cried my eyes out and phoned home which in turn made my dad upset. It was such a surprise apparently Dave is taking all the credit for the idea. It took a hell of a lot of thought and advanced planning, I don't give them enough credit. Christmas afternoon was swimming which was lovely.
Sat and drank Kava (traditional Fijian drink) at New Year which was followed by stealthily trying to make our way across the village without either being taken down to the river or getting in the cross fire of a water fight. This usually lasts for a few weeks after New Year along with the kids blasting the bamboo cannons, noise similar to the big booming fireworks but without the pretty lights. Spent the afternoon of New Years Day with Joanne going around the village taking people down to the river and jumping in. It was great fun and a great way to cool off on a hot afternoon.
Spending time in the water has been a common theme of being in the village. On one particularly hot day I bathed/swam a total of 5 times and have even taken to taking a dip late at night to sit in the cool water and admire the stars. Nothing beats a Fijian night sky.
Sadly just after New Year one of Sowani's cousins passed away. In the Fijian culture the celebration of life is a big with relatives travelling from around the whole of Fiji. In preparation for the funeral I joined our village (Nasauamatua) to pay our respects to the family by contributing dalo (root crop) to be used to feed the visitors. I was asked to carry a piece of masi (hand printed tree bark) which as well as the dalo was our families contribution.