Sunday, August 19, 2012

So Long, Farewell, Hasta la Vista, and I'll Be Back

AHHHH MY LAST ENTRY FROM FIJI!!!!  But before I start bawling and getting all gushy about my time here...I'll recap the last week from where I left off.

Meet Curtis.  He was the guy I mentioned who asked me out for Monday.  Good was fun to get to know him.  Wish I had a picture of him smiling (great smile) but he's kinda quiet/shy and it's almost impossible to get him to smile big without me in the picture with him.  I was really impressed by just how good of a man Curtis is.  He's incredibly respectful and kind, and it was nice to be somewhat adored by him.  We went out to lunch Monday and actually met up again later that evening to watch The Bourne Legacy after I taught some of the youth how to square-dance.  The movie wasn't as impressive as the company, but still enjoyable nonetheless.  I'm happy I've had the chance to spend some time with this guy.  He's a total stud.

On Tuesday night I packed up to head to Suva again.  I had one last meeting with the guys at World Health and was able to plant the seed of possibly coming back with them next summer.  That evening, we went to a massive multi-school talent show called Tadra Kahani.  Basically, each school comes up with a drama/dance routine with themes and costumes and compete with one another for various prizes.  Many of the schools had a crazy amount of talent and creativity.  I just love watching Fijians dance.  They're so good and have so much fun doing it.  It was a lot of fun.  Well, except for this violent chest cold that took hold during the event that made me feel like someone had thrown my body into a lawn mower.  By the time I got home all I could think of was sleep and mucus. (yum....).   The whole next day I spent in bed.  I guess it was good because it gave me the chance to apply for jobs and post pictures on facebook, but I can't say getting sick my last week in Fiji has been fun.

Saturday I was feeling a bit better, and even caught one last session at the temple before going to give my last nutrition lecture of the summer.  It was for a Relief Society activity for one of the Suva wards, and the meeting went really well.  The women were attentive, curious, and quite funny.  We had a good discussion about basic nutrition, chronic disease, and exercise, as well as how to read nutrition labels.  Afterward, the RS president made me some yummy Australian-style sandwiches and took me to the bus station to head back to Lautoka.

While heading back, Ross (one of my local friends) told me it was his birthday and my last Saturday, so we were going dancing that night.  After not sleeping well for 3 days, being sick, lecturing, and then being crammed in a van for 4 hours, I wasn't exactly feeling it, but I'm a sucker for birthdays so I went.  When I arrived at the club (went directly there from the bus station), they weren't there.  I thought about grabbing food, but when I called him he did what every Fijian does, "we'll be there in 10 minutes."  So I waited, but 40 minutes and a few aggressive Indo-fijians later, I was ready to call it quits.  I was hungry, tired, and annoyed.  Right as I'm walking out of the club, they arrive and drag me back in.  I had no energy for it, but it was so much fun dancing with Ross, Ben, and Kula, I'm glad they did.  I'll miss how much enthusiasm they have when they dance.  It's an awesome group.

Even though they kept me out until almost 2am, I somehow managed to get up early and prepare my last lesson for my last day in church.  I ended up teaching the youth about the 2000 stripling warriors and had a lot of fun with an object lesson I made up about how covenants are like our conscious commitment to achieve happiness.  It was a good time, and I really just love teaching - in all it's varieties.  It makes me excited to get to work on this PhD business.

After sacrament meeting, the congregation sang me a goodbye and my face felt like it was going to break from smiling so big.  I just love Fijians, and I've loved the chance to get to know so many wonderful people.  It took about two hours to say goodbye to everyone (fiji time...) and get pictures with all the kids who wouldn't let go of me.  It was tough to say goodbye, but I really am hoping for some opportunity to return next summer.  Something tells me I'm not completely done here. 

Agh...I just can't believe my time now is up.  I can't believe it's been 8 months since I left home.  Now, I leave Fiji tomorrow and all I can think about is how weird it will be to be stateside once more.  The emotions are bittersweet.  I've learned so much on this trip, (far more than I would have ever been capable of fitting in this blog), and I'm nervous about what the next few months will hold.  In a way I feel like I've been cruising along a coastal highway, with lots of ups, downs, twists, and turns, but now the road has ended, and I'm not exactly sure which exit to take.

But I guess that's just the nature of life.  I do have a rough idea about where I'll be and what I'll be doing for the next couple months, but now my choices now seem to hold more consequences.  I can sense the stress of functioning in America once more, and it looms ahead of me, almost taunting me.  As if to say, "Ok, so you think you're something huh?  Prove it."  Now it's time to utilize all the things I've learned and put my life in gear.  Now it's time to reassess my desires, my plans, and my goals.  I've been in "do" mode for so long, it will probably take some major effort to transition back into "think/feel."

I guess I'm not terribly worried though.  Last week while enjoying my solitude at Natadola, a phrase kept tickling the back of my mind.  "Come what may.  I know in Whom I trust."  Whenever I feel the apprehension and anxiety that rises up from the unknown path ahead, I keep thinking back to that.  If this trip has taught me anything, it's how to have faith that all things can/will work together for good.  I know God loves all of His children and that includes me.  I know that He has the ability and desire to make me and my life more fulfilling and happy than I could ever imagine.  That is why I trust Him.  That is why I can let go of the safety net of plans/control and submit myself to whatever life bring.  Sure I still have goals, and of course I'll do what I can to pursue them.  But there is nothing I feel more attached to than the desire to be happy, to love God, and to love others.  Whatever way I can best accomplish those things, is exactly what I hope to do.

So lead kindly Light, amidst the encircling gloom.  Lead thou me on....


  1. First of all, that man is so beautiful it hurts, and that's without seeing him smile!!
    Second of all, I am so proud of you, inspired by you, in awe of you, and yet I think I understand more than ever. I have had some similar perspective changes this summer. Life truly is a beautiful thing!
    I cannot wait to catch up with you!! And I'm so excited to see how you continue to change the world! Love you Cherie!

  2. Yeah, we went out again tonight. It was a difficult goodbye. Ugh...he is such a good man. And likewise dear, I can't wait to catch up on your life. I feel at a disadvantage here. Are you coming to the mocktail party?