taki … bula!!!

sitting outside of the hotel on the veranda feeling fortunate to have wifi connection. and feeling like one of the luckiest people in the world to be here in fiji. we love the coffee here at the hotel … i don’t know why it’s so delicious.
we couldn’t have planned or thought up a better first day in fiji if we’d tried. we got in yesterday morning … entertained the idea of taking a nap since we hadn’t gotten much sleep on the flight, but we didn’t want to waste the day. so we drank some coffee and decided to go to the beach of course. only a 5 minute walk. as fate would have it, we took a left outta the hotel instead of a right … you can go either way to get to wailoaloa beach. on the way there a man stopped us and asked us if we wanted some fresh coconut. we were of course hesitant and a little skeptical … anticipating that this dude just wanted to sell us something. we ended up walking over to his home/hut/field/boat factory to see about the coconut and meet the other guys who were waving us over. or maybe he offered us kava and that’s why we went. i’m sure that was it. they wanted to sit and hang out and drink kava and chat … they were so eager to make us comfortable. i liked these guys from the beginning – good vibes. and as the day went on, my guard came down more and more … realizing that we had just met good people with good intentions. so we stayed for bit … and by that i mean that we stayed there all day. we had some kava and fresh coconut. they use coconut and/or the shells of them for almost everything … cooking, milk, making bures (covered huts), cups to drink kava out of. really amazing what these guys can do … how they live so simply and eat so fresh and make everything with their hands. i’d forgotten how fantastic that is.
we hadn’t made it to the beach yet. after a few rounds of kava they asked us if we’d like to come back for some fresh fish after going to the beach.
this literally turned out to be one of the greatest days ever. we hung out with them all day. something that christy and i talked about before the trip was how we really wanted to see how locals live, what their life is like. we don’t just want to do all the touristy things and go from place to place missing out on different cultures.
spending time with these guys at their home was exactly the kind of thing we were hoping to do. we felt like we’d known them for much longer than a day. the kava kept coming. as did the suki (a leaf from india that you smoke – tastes similar to a clove). so “taki” is what you say when it’s time to stir up the kava to serve another round. and “bula” has many meanings … hello, you’re welcome, cheers.
they had fresh fish, which we watched junior clean, descale, and gut. he made us fish cooked in fresh coconut milk with rice and fresh lemon. it was yummy! we talked for hours with these guys. junior is a talker, a storyteller … and one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. his dream is to have a farm where he grows all sorts of fruits and vegetables … and he wants to have a huge bure where travelers can stay in exchange for their help on his farm. he is such an exquisite person … very intelligent, open minded and genuine. he isn’t too interested in the past or the future … he wants to live for right now, enjoying whatever comes his way at the moment. i think he’s pretty honest about that. it’s rare to find that in a person.
why not … we can’t do anything about the past and we have no idea what the future holds … or if we will see another hour pass.
this is another thing I wanted to be intentional about on this trip … being present and enjoying what i’m doing when i’m doing it. not taking for granted all the beautiful things i’m gonna see and experience.
still can’t believe I’m doing this! wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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