Category Archives: Fiji

The Future Looks Good: The Quest Continues

I’ve been ready to leave Fiji days ago.

I chilled out way too much. I didn’t think that was even possible?

Most of my core group of volunteers were gone and my students wore me the hell out over the past couple weeks. I’m telling you, handling 47 individual eleven and twelve-year-old kids was not an easy task whatsoever.

Though curbing to them was a challenge that ultimately reaped benefits. I’ll be leaving Suva as a much more proficient teacher thanks to my students. They taught me just as much as I taught them. I bet they have no idea about that. I was ready to leave Fiji, but the only reason I would stay longer would be to teach them more.


On my final few days, class 601 threw me a special party, thanking me for taking the time to help them learn. I appreciated them and the main teacher, Mrs.Kurisaqila, for entrusting me on my own numerous times to handle the kids for sometimes close to seven hours straight in a single day.


On those long days, I taught English vocabulary, Mathematics, Geography (my best subject by leaps and bounds), and a mixture of Sciences, Art, and Logical Thinking (a subject I created for them). The general consensus was that they liked the logic puzzles I threw at them the most because it inspired them to “think outside the box”. They particularly loved the Price is Right style game I introduced which brilliantly blended mathematics and economics along with some neat prizes to win along the way.


Saying goodbye to the students is always a lot harder than saying goodbye to the volunteers. Odds are that I’ll never see them again.


The volunteers on the other hand, they were a really amusing bunch. It took a little longer than usual to warm up to them, except for one in particular; a legend by the name of Hamish. He hails from Sydney and is the quintessential Australian I’ve ever met in all my travels and has a great lease on life. He’s become a good friend of mine and someone you’ll be hearing from later on this blog in just a few months. After I told him about some of the cool places I plan on going to during my quest for the seven continents, there was no way he could resist to join in for at least a chunk of it.

The majority of the other volunteers were also a pleasure to be around. There are way too many to name but they made my trip to Fiji extra special. They know who they are! I plan on visiting a handful of them during my quest to the seven continents. Two of them even share my home state of Michigan.




I spent the last couple of days lounging around, saying my farewells and “see you laters” to the coordinators and my fellow housemates. I eventually hit the road, about a four-hour bus journey across the island from Suva to Nadi. I stayed in a 16-bed dorm in a cheap hostel near the airport. Normally I would NEVER stay in a dorm with that many beds, but since I was only there for the night, I thought I’d be able to manage.

While I was in the room, a nameless backpacker laid his bag on the bed next to mine. We didn’t introduce ourselves but made quick chit-chat about where we were from and where we were headed. He had just come from Australia and was about to begin a trip through the Fiji islands. I mentioned to him that I was on my way to Australia to backpack all around the country. He then pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and handed me three individual cards.

“You can use these on your travels in Australia,” he said. “I won’t need these anymore.”

I examined the cards and saw that they were city cards used for transportation via train or bus in Australia. One card was for Brisbane, one for Sydney, and the other for Melbourne; three of the largest cities in the country. All of the cards were loaded with a little leftover money the nameless backpacker didn’t use. I thanked him promptly.

The dorm full of 16 backpackers, including myself, fell asleep silent. Not a single person snored or made disruptive noise during the night; an absolute rarity in the world of backpacking, especially in a room as large and filled as this one.


My time in Fiji ended on a wonderful note. My teaching game has grown stronger, my network of international allies has strengthened, and this nameless backpacker already made my upcoming travels in Australia that much easier, even as simple as his gesture was, it will help in the most convenient ways.

Goodbye Fiji. The quest to the seven continents continues in Australia. 🙂


Things I Love (and Didn’t Quite Love) About Fiji

I’ve been in Fiji for a few weeks now and I can safely say that when you come to this tropical island paradise, expect to chill like you’ve never chilled out before. Fiji’s got the whole relaxin’ thing down!

The Things I Loved:

The People Are Refreshingly Friendly

Not a day went by where I didn’t receive a welcoming “Bula” greeting from a local as I strolled by them. Armed with cordial head nods, big islander style smiles, and cool Fijian handshakes, it’s easy to strike up a good conversation with anyone on the streets. I found that many wished to learn about me and were interested in my thoughts about their country. I also came here thinking I would get heckled and hassled to buy things on the streets like in many countries, but not here. They left me alone in that regard for the most part. Fiji, you are friendly.


World Renowned Shark Scuba Diving

I went shark diving in Fiji, not once but twice! Both times near Beqa Island, one of the most renowned and sharkiest places in the world to spot a whole range of beasts from the elusive tiger ones to the motley crew of bull sharks. Scuba diving has always been one of my favorite activities, but scuba diving with sharks upped the ante quite a bit. If you are an avid diver, I highly recommend you check it out.

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Those Rotis and the Samosas

The local delicacy in Fiji didn’t really jump out at me. As a matter of fact, there is a heavy Indian influence on the cuisine, specifically in the capital of Suva. However, I did come across two glutton heavy, savory morsels straight outta heaven–rotis and samosas. The version of a roti I had is a concoction of warm potato chunks and minced veggies wrapped in a thick floury dough, lightly fried. A samosa is similar but smaller, kind of like a pizza roll but in a triangular shape and baked. It’s the perfect snack, breakfast, brunch, dinner, and lunch. I’m not sure if these are strictly “Fijian” foods, but you can certainly find them almost anywhere on the main island.

Put the potato curry inside the roti bread and then you’ll find yourself in a tasty heaven.
Samosas. Photo courtesy of

The Beach-side (Budget) Resorts

Not the expensive ones, I’m sure they’re nice, but I’m talking about the budget ones like Fiji Beachouse and Uprising, both located along the coral coast far AWAY from the backpacker heavy party hostels in Nadi. I’ve been to a whole bunch of resorts during my time in Fiji and do you know what the main theme is at these resorts? Chill the heck out! Really, it was just pool, beach, billiards, hammocks, beanbags and booze. What more could you want?

fiji beachouse

It’s Relatively Cheap

I was a straight up baller in Fiji. The US dollar equaled about two Fijian dollars, but still most things were cheaply priced (aside from the excursions). Opt for the bus ride that costs less than $10 USD to get from one side of the island to the other. Accommodation was popularly priced and the food and beverages were easy on the wallet. Just stay away from the western restaurants, bars, and the chummy resorts and you’ll find the dollar stretches quite far. We found a bar where you could buy-one-get-one free of absolutely anything you ever wanted! Two pitchers of beer for $5 USD? Sold! By the way, the bar with the BOGO is called Traps. Go there for Ladies Night on Wednesdays.


Kava Ceremonies

I ranted on a previous post about how much I disliked the taste of kava. Despite the stolid taste, the kava gatherings were simply something I’ve never experienced before. It’s entirely social, where groups of people sit cross-legged on mats laid out on the floor with everyone drinking kava out of a single wooden bowl. Each person that takes a drink receives a quick burst of attention filled with double claps and “Bulas”! The locals pride themselves on sharing the experience with foreigners such as myself and will never hesitate an opportunity to gather around to drink kava with their family and friends. Literally you just sit there, converse a bit, and drink kava. It’s pretty neat!


The Buses With the Music

Whatever country I’m in, taking the local bus into town is typically flat and ho hum. Usually nothing special. However, every single freakin’ city bus that I rode in Fiji played funky tropical island beats that made me kinda sorta look forward to the ride. From reggae, to island remixes of modern songs, to zippy numbers I’ve never heard of in my life, the music was always bumpin’ and on point. So much that a good portion of those songs are now on a custom Fiji playlist on my iPhone, thanks to the Shazam app. These tunes will forever and always remind me of my chilled out time in Fiji and of all those awesome people I met.

fiji local buses

And then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum…

Things I Didn’t Quite Love

Lack of Diverse Activities

If you ask some of my Fiji housemates, they will tell you that I was consistently bored out of my mind. Besides beaching and diving, there is barely anything else to do! Yes there is white water rafting, zipling, sky diving, but it’s either complete crap, ridiculously expensive or both. There is surfing too I suppose but it’s not really my thing anymore. With Fiji, you’re trapped on a small island with no where else to go. Yes you could go island hopping to do more beaching and boozing but I already beached and boozed a hundred times over on the main island. Now I have to pay $150 for a boat to take me to another island to do the exact same thing? No thanks. Make sure you have your Kindle ready for Fiji.

Bored…Photo courtesy of Joshua Smith


Lack of Beer Choices

You have two choices of beer in Fiji: Fiji Gold or Fiji Bitter. There’s also usually some random third choice and then a handful of imported beer that I can get back in the States. Fiji is not the place to try local brews because they only got two…maybe three. By the way, don’t let the name fool you, Fiji Bitter is so much better than Gold.

Resorts Lost My Reservations ALL THE F*C%ING TIME

Here’s the best piece of advice I can give you if you ever decide to visit Fiji. If you book ANY accommodation here, even if you get your confirmation email, call them to make sure they have your reservation because not once, not twice, not even three, but four freakin’ times I showed up to a resort to find out they “never” received my reservation. Even when I proceeded to show them the confirmation email on my phone, there was still “nothing” they could do about it. Fortunately, most of the times they were able to re-book me except for one instance where we had to find another more expensive accommodation because everything else nearby was already booked. That was SO annoying.

This is us after battling two different hostels/hotels for our reservations and finally finding a place to crash.

“Fiji Time”

There’s this thing on the island called “Fiji Time”. Basically, if anyone (specifically Fijian locals) is late for anything, instead of blaming it on their lack of punctuality, they can usually get away with it by the excuse of simply saying “Fiji Time”. Fiji time is basically a way of saying that you were so entranced with the chilled out vibes of the island, that the importance of time became second fiddle to the sensation of island style relaxation and hanging loose. “Where’s the bus that was supposed to be here at four?” Oh sorry, Fiji time. “Where is the main teacher for this class because I can’t handle 47 kids by myself?” Oh sorry brutha, Fiji Time. “Where’s the meal I ordered like an hour ago?” Oh, Fiji time.  Most of the people I was with kinda enjoyed the concept of Fiji Time. As for me, I absolutely hate being late for stuff…so it was something I had to accept and get used to.


Besides all of that, I’ve built a couple solid friendships during my stay in Fiji and I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about them soon on here. I’d have more to report about Fiji but there is only so much I could write about when it comes to sittin’ on the beach and drinking a beer.

The island life. 🙂

My Invitations to Two Traditional Fijian Weddings


I’m done with drinking drugs in Fiji.

That was hard for me to admit for a while, as not to disrespect the locals who graciously offered me dozens and dozens and dozens of bowls filled with kava to drink throughout my time in here on the island. I chugged and chugged, my tongue and lips grew numb, and I eventually felt like I was high on something funky.

What is kava?

Kava is a popular non-alcoholic drink among Fijian locals. Technically a drug made from the kava ground root plant (Piper methysticum), it contains chemical ingredients that can produce the feeling of drunkenness, caused from the lactones in kava to be quickly absorbed into the blood flow and into the brain.


It’s ceremonious staple in villages where locals sit and gather around a giant wooden bowl as someone prepares the kava to be passed around for everyone to consume.

From my own experiences with kava, it’s completely social and the only time I’ve ever drank it is in the company of many other locals, while sitting cross-legged on the floor of someone’s home. It’s like how you’re at a party and certain friends run off and go to someone’s room or car to smoke weed with each other. It’s like that here except without the sneaking off part. It’s completely legal in Fiji and is a completely normal thing.


It’s all fine and dandy. I’ve had tons of kava during the past few weeks. Its something new and I wanted to fit into the community as much as possible. My only gripe with kava is that…

It Tastes. Like. Shit.

To describe the taste to you…just imagine a giant wooden bowl of water you’d get from a garden hose. Then toss in some dirt, mix it up, and add a dash of pepper and bam—you have something that looks and tastes like kava.

The person who makes it, sits in front of a bowl of water and adds the kava root (in powdered form) into what looks like an old knee sock. He proceeds to massage and crumple the sock in the water as if he were washing the socks and in turn washing his hands. Then once it’s been settled, he dips a bowl into the kava water and passes it around. Everyone shares the same bowl and the attention is focused on you while the others clap once or twice in unison. It’s a unique tradition that I appreciated but it didn’t change the fact that I disliked the taste. I’m also ignoring the fact that the person making the drink basically rinsed their hands in the bowl of kava—whatever I’ll live.

(Note: Many people I met loved the kava. Then there were also many who felt the way I did about it. If you are ever in Fiji, definitely give it a try and form your own opinion!)

It was during the second of two weddings that I decided I just about had enough and felt comfortable declining kava every time it was offered to me. And it was offered a lot! Probably because I was a foreign guest who resembled them.

The Weddings

I was invited to the first wedding after befriending locals I met at the Beachouse during my first week in the country. They invited me to my first kava gathering where I chugged about six bowls and during that time, one of them invited me to their son’s wedding which would take place the following week.

“If I can get the day off from teaching then I’m there!” I told him.

I had no problem getting the day off and was able to make the two-hour trip to the village along with two other volunteers I decided to bring with me. This is an experience I wanted to share.

I arrived in my sulu, a button up, and flip-flops, ready for…actually I didn’t know what I was ready for. The weddings I’m used to in the States involve a formal ceremony of the bride and groom and lots of drinking and dancing with family and friends the rest of the day. Here, I was game for whatever they threw at me.

Once we arrived to the village, I met up with a few of the locals and one directed us to sit in the meeting house for kava. Inside were about fifty villagers, all men, sitting on the floor surrounding a gigantic kava bowl. I sat down next to a guy in a red button-up who flagged me to come sit next to him and was immediately handed a bowl of kava to drink. Then another. And another.

What about the rest of these guys in the room? They would probably like some kava?

Although I blended in the crowd I also stuck out a bit. I had a bulky and expensive camera strung around my shoulder to document and I was sitting next to two foreign volunteer girls who obviously weren’t from here. So we were circled with attention.


“Where is the village chief?” I asked one of the guys across me.

“Right there,” he responded as he nodded his head to the man sitting next to me in the red button-up.

He didn’t look like any chief I had imagined. He blended in with everyone here and sat on the floor next to everyone else just like any ordinary villager.

What makes him the chief? It’s because he’s the eldest.

I started to feel heavy from the kava and my mouth was almost completely numb, but whenever the kava bowl was passed to me, I made sure to chug it as not to disrespect the chief. He was sitting right next to me observing my every move! But then again he probably wouldn’t care if I denied it since he seemed so laid back and at ease.

The wedding itself took place inside a small church inside the village.



The bride and groom wore traditional attire. One note about the bride, she looked unhappy as hell throughout most of the ceremony. I did manage to get a single shot of her cracking a smile.


I noticed that this wedding had everything they needed except for a photographer. I didn’t feel comfortable going around during the wedding snapping photos quite yet but I made sure to take some afterwards, with the intention of emailing them to the community.

I asked one of the men, how come they didn’t have a photographer.

“It’s very expensive,” he said with a humble smile. “We can’t afford one.”

Every wedding needs a photographer. The photos that come about become an everlasting symbol.

“If you have another wedding soon, I can photograph for you guys free of charge.” I offered to him.


We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking more kava, playing with the kids, and eating the meals served to everyone who attended. The food took forever to come out but I sat in patience, getting drunk off of kava. I didn’t want anymore and began to politely deny whenever the bowls came my way…unless someone absolutely insisted! When the women were finished preparing the food, I was served a plate full of local delicacies including beef, cassava, and lots of steamed veggies. We ate it all with our bare hands too which added to the flare.




The wedding was low-key and mellow. The second wedding was anything but low-key.

The second wedding was much bigger and attracted a larger crowd of locals from nearby villagers. I brought two different volunteers with me to experience it, expecting it to be much of the same as last time. This was totally different. I was told I’d be shooting one of New Zealand’s Rugby players. It wasn’t the All-Black squad, probably a player from a minor league.


Since I was the designated camera guy, I made sure to take photos of everything as much as I could. It was a convenient, yet true excuse to avoid anymore kava. Everyone was all over the place and just like before the bride looked pissed off the whole day, which didn’t help with inspiration. I think maybe she was just extremely nervous? She was followed by parades of people taking pictures on their  Samsung phones, sometimes completely in the way of the guy with the professional camera here. As a mater of fact, I don’t thing the wedding party looked at me even once taking photos all around them. They focused on their family members snapping more so, which is understandable. I was a stranger there.




The ceremony was held in a church just outside of the village in the vicinity of a neighboring school; much larger than the church at the previous wedding a couple weeks prior.


I went all around snapping photos, trying not to disrespect any culture specific rules that I wasn’t aware of. I was a silent ninja and made sure not to be totally intrusive. I think I did the trick just right.





As neat as it was to witness another spectacle of a wedding, this wedding dragged on forever. It was mostly just standing and sitting around waiting for food and for the bride and groom to receive their gifts. I couldn’t stay all day, I had to meet the other volunteers later in the afternoon back at the Beachouse for the weekend.



It was a long day, but I think my favorite part were the puppies I found near the quietest parts of the village.

How come no one was around playing with these guys? They had to be less than two weeks old.

Screw the kava! I could play with these pups instead.


I said my goodbyes to them and told them I would make an effort to visit the village one more time before I left Fiji for good. 🙂

Happiness Is Everywhere in Fiji…Except At The Bottom of Waterfalls


I just made my most costly travel error in my whole traveling career and I don’t feel good about it.

If I had known I was going to drop my relatively newly purchased 128GB iPhone 6s Plus in the bottom of a 15 meter deep pool of stupid dirty water, I would have declined my invitation to join a group of volunteers to Colo-I-Suva, a National Park nearby. Or at least I would have left my phone at home.

It’s a well-known fact that iPhones aren’t cheap. That’s why I also bought a waterproof protective pouch that I could hang around my neck with it.

This will take some awesome waterfall pics!

However, the day was crappy and the waterfall that fed into the pool was even crappier. The water was an ugly olive-brown and cold to the touch. There was dead foliage piled up in clumps near the dirt walls which added to the unpleasantness of it all. The only saving grace here was the big rope swing you could leap off from.

I’ll try it with my iPhone hanging around my neck!

My gut was telling me it was a dumb idea because I’ve snapped waterfalls a zillion times more impressive than this bull, but still I thought I should document it at least.

(The photos from Colo-I-Suva are from my fellow volunteers and not mine.)

On the way to lose my phone! Photo courtesy of Johannes.

I climbed up to the rope swing with the other volunteers and locals on looking. I grabbed a tight grip and swung out into the open. When I reached the end of the swing’s momentum and jumped into the water, I could feel my neck pouch slipping off my neck and over my head, throwing itself somewhere into the water nearby. It was like slow motion. I landed in the water and immediately surfaced. I saw the other volunteers vigorously pointing at my phone.

“Daniel your phone! Your phone!!” they shouted and pointed all in a huddle. They looked pretty scared for me.

I looked and looked. My phone wasn’t on the surface. It sank somewhere. I dove underwater but there was no point of trying to see. The water was so brown that I couldn’t see a thing, so I had to rely on my hands aimlessly feeling around. I even dove as deep as I could and every time I tried, I still couldn’t touch the floor. Other volunteers attempted to find it. I even offered locals money for whoever found it. They tried but with no success.

My phone was gone forever at the bottom of Colo-I-Suva.

I kept it cool on the outside, but man I was upset. The realization of “there is nothing I can do about this” kept me sane for the time being.

Thankfully, most of my pictures and notes were backed up on cloud storage. However, all of my music was gone. I just bought this thing a couple of months before this trip began. What a waste. I ended up biting the bullet and bought an identical phone in the city center. It was way more expensive than at home (more than $1000 USD) but I needed to have a phone for all intents and purposes. But now it’s done. I shouldn’t think about it anymore because it will just depress me. I’ll have to be more careful.

This was taken after I lost my phone. There was nothing else I could do but not freak out. Photo courtesy of Leah.

I’d have sweet pictures to pair with this tale but now you understand why.

Thankfully, Fiji had other offerings to keep my mind of my costly error. One of our coordinators was part of a local Rugby team and invited a few of us to come and watch him play.



We planned another trip for the weekend to one of Fiji’s budget resorts called the Uprising Beach Resort. It’s located about 45 minutes along the Coral Coast.

It was ten of us spaced out in a 20-bed dorm all to ourselves. The resort itself was very tropical, beachside, and similar to the Fiji Beachouse except without all the backpackers. It was a modest setting that had everything we needed to relax: the Pacific Ocean, a clean pool, island flavored food and drinks, and big blue beanbag chairs; my favorite luxury of them all!

It was happiness!

There was also a full-on beach volleyball court. While the girls relaxed, the rest of us played a few friendly games with some of the other beach bums at the resort.

I knew coming to Fiji would be chill out island time but not to this level. There isn’t much in the way of extreme activities, but the beaches are excellent temporary substitutes for now until I find something to do that’s on the wackier side.

My mind was mostly off my costly mistake. You know what I could have done with $1000? Thankfully I budgeted for something like this but I didn’t anticipate it would happen so early on my Quest to the Seven Continents! I purchased my new iPhone just a week or two shy before the 7th generation of phones were released. Whatever.

Lesson learned. This phone isn’t going anywhere near any body of water, no mater how impressive it is. Maybe…

An Introspection of an American Teaching in Fiji

Ivhq teaching english

What is it like teaching English in Fiji?

Like usual, kids all over the world generally have the same youthful mindset, so it felt familiar, but different. Challenging, yet gratifying. However, and this is a BIG however, teaching English in Fiji to a class of 47 students is a whole other world of challenging.

I repeat–47 individual eleven and twelve year olds all at the same time!

Among the forty-something volunteers currently at the Green Lion, only a handful of them volunteered to be teachers. Most of them were on the construction or kindergarten programs.

Why did I decide to teach? One, Fiji is a freakin’ HOT tropical island, so I couldn’t be bothered sweating my ass off doing construction work. Secondly, spending my afternoons with hordes of poopy baby kids every weekday sounded like the worst thing ever, so skip that.

Teaching it is!

It was an easy choice. I have loads of experience teaching around the world, so much in fact that recently I became certified to teach English internationally. It’s something I have if I ever wanted to pursue it further along. But I gotta admit, I came a loooooong way.

This was back in South Africa in 2012 when I was unexpectedly thrown into teaching for the first time and I had no idea what the heck I was doing…

I taught a few more times since in different parts of Africa, and then again in Vietnam in 2013 and later again in 2014 is when I started to get the hang of things…

I found my stride teaching in Nepal (2014) and Guatemala (2015)…

So naturally I had positive expectations for teaching English in Fiji!

Junior walked me and a couple others to Nasinu Sangham Primary School, just a few minutes walk from the volunteer house. On the way, he asked us what class of students we would like to teach.

Wow, I had a choice! 

It’s rare to have the option to choose which class of kids I wanted. Normally the volunteer organizations just plop me into some class.

“What classes does the school go up to?” I asked him.

“Class eight,” he responded.

“The older the better for me.”

“Okay, class six?”

“That’s perfect.”

Teaching class six was my preferred choice. They were at the age where they were old enough to comprehend grownup matters but still oblivious to the world at large. This was the age where the choices they made now would trickle into their higher education learning and beyond. I was here to help guide them on the correct course.

“Not many volunteers choose the older classes,” said Junior as we entered the school grounds. “Most choose class one or two.”

We first met the principal of the school. He was of Indian heritage and had that typical ‘principal look’. The look of dominance and if you misbehave, this is the guy you are gonna see and it won’t be pretty. He welcomed us to the school and soon after Junior escorted me to room 601, the class I would be a part of. We entered.

Holy crap there was a shit ton of kids in here!

Some of them out of their seats, all chatting, and seemed to be in the middle of a laid back assignment. Their teacher sat at the desk and welcomed me with a warm smile. Her name is Mrs. Kurisaqila, a Fijian woman in charge of the class. She directed the students to welcome me. They all stopped what they were doing and stood up.

“This is Mister Daniel,” she told them. “He will be helping to assist the class for the next six weeks.”

“Good morning Mister Daniel!” shouted the class in unison.

“Good morning!” I responded. “How are you?”

“We are fine, thank you! How are you today” they shouted again in perfect harmony.

“I am fine as well, thank you!”

They all sat down and curiously stared at me snickering, while making small talk with one another probably saying not-so-great things about me in their native tongue. Maybe. I know I did when I was in elementary.

“How many students are in the class?” I asked her.

“Forty-seven,” she replied. “But some of them are absent today.”

My eyes just about popped out of my head. Forty-seven!? I think the most I’ve ever had at once maxed out at about 25. This was almost double.

“Half of the students are Fijian, the other half are Hindi,” she continued to say. “So some days we split the class so half of them learn Fijian language and the other half learn Hindi language, but all predominately learn English.”

The idea for me being here was to assist Mrs. Kurisaqila with checking assignments and helping the students with their course work. Once I got the hang of things, she would let me teach whole subjects on my own as she did paperwork. By the looks of it, these students could use all the help they could get.

Floats like a mosquito and stings like a snail?? 

Damn, what kind of snails do they have here on this island? I giggled when I read that. But then again, I wouldn’t expect these students to understand the metaphor. I don’t think I knew what that meant at their age!

I also saw these posted on the bulletin boards which were a little alarming:

You must spend money to make money? I guess…when you’re investing as an adult but when I was their age, I was taught to save my money. Also, they only require 50% of the students to pass? Yikes!

I spent the first day getting to learn the students names (which will take me awhile). and observing the process. Every country I teach in has different rules and standards that I needed to familiarize myself with. Like with this one, I’m required to wear a decent button-up and a sulu.

What’s a sulu? It’s basically a skirt for men.

Fiji was getting sweaty hot so wearing a sulu felt cool for my under carriage, but I absolutely hate wearing flip-flops or sandals. Only when I’m in a beach environment. Wearing my sneakers would look silly with a sulu so I had to make do. (Eventually I began to wear pants and no one minded.) As a matter of fact, only the Fijian teachers wore the traditional Fijian outfit. The teachers of Indian background wore a button-up and slacks. I alternated between both, with favoritism towards the latter.

During the second day of assisting, Mrs. Kurisaqila asked if I wanted to take over a period. I happily accepted and went on the whim. I didn’t prepare any lessons yet because I still had to gauge the class. I had to find out their general academic skill level, sort out who were the smarties, who were behind, who were the troublemakers, and let the students grow comfortable with me. I implemented an “ice breaker “ in the form of an old fashioned, traditional Spelling Bee. They’ve never heard of a Spelling Bee but when I explained to them the rules, they were excited to strut their stuff. It was a way for me to meter them as well. After an intense few rounds, Adi came out on top to which the class applauded her. By the way, I got the list of appropriate age-level words just from googling a website on my phone.

I had ideas as to what lesson plans to conjure for the coming weeks. In the mean time, I still had all of Fiji to explore with my new housemates. We have our evenings and weekends free to do whatever we wanted!

So far, my class turned out to be pretty neat, my housemates were entertaining, and with the unbeatable setting–Fiji– I had a good feeling about the rest of my stay here.

However, I knew from prior experiences that each week could change for no reason other than for life to toy with me.