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I recently went to Fiji
My friend Tina wanted to go for her 40th birthday. I was able to go and so I did. My husband wants to go there and scuba dive. I decided I would sacrifice my time and go scout it out for a future family vacation. It’s difficult to be a selfless mom sometimes.
Why should everyone stop what they are doing and go to Fiji right now?
On the flight from LA to Nadi, Fiji, I sat next to Eseta. We started talking. I mentioned I’d been to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. We found out we were both LDS and started talking about that. She invited me to go to her congregation on Sunday and to “come home” for lunch after.
We talked about our families and what we do at church and what we’ve been doing so far this year. She is an amazing person and so friendly.
It was perfect.
Before we had gone, I’d made the comment that if we went to church, we would have lunch at a member’s home. I had been joking, but at the same time, chances are good that someone will invite you over if you smile broadly and ask “so where’s a good place to eat around here?”
Then I sat next to Eseta and before I even hinted she should invite me over, she did.
When she invited me to “come home,” I thought it was an odd way to invite us to her house. But then someone else invited us to “come home.” When someone invites you over, they don’t invite you to their house; they invite you to “come home.”
It isn’t their home. It’s simply home.
I felt such a sense of community while I was there that it made sense I would be invited to come home. It made it more personal than the saying “Mi casa es su casa” because there weren’t personal pronouns. There wasn’t my or your. It was merely home.
Strangers would say “Hello” without wanting anything. They just wanted to say “Hello” to you. Often as a tourist, “Hello” is usually how someone starts a sales pitch. That only happened to us in Nadi, a big city. In the villages and small towns, people were purely welcoming.
There was a basic feeling of welcome wherever we went.
We stopped at a random town and walked around their market place. One booth sold powdered Kava. We asked what it tasted like and she invited us inside her booth, pulled a bucket out from under the stall behind her and handed us a coconut shell cup. We smiled and nodded and drank some.
Turns out, our immune systems aren’t used to the water in small towns and villages and there were some unwelcome side effects for about 24 hours.
Kava is supposed to be a relaxing drink, but we became very alert to our stomachs for those 24 hours…
But I wouldn’t let that stop you from going to Fiji RIGHT NOW.
I’m hoping to develop the spirit of welcome I felt there and invite strangers over and say “Hello” just to be friendly.
(Looking out the window right now, I think it’s probably easier to do that in a place where the sun shines so brilliantly. Our chilly, overcast day makes me want to drink tea in bed while reading a book. I won’t; but I want to.)