June 27, 2019
Hi friends and family!
The last few days have flown by and have been jam packed with excitement. On Monday we enjoyed a slow morning by the pool before diving. The afternoon dive was one of the craziest things many of us have experienced. We dove down to spooky shipwreck where we even saw some sharks. Instead of being scared, everyone had a rush of energy from encountering one of the ocean’s coolest creatures. After our shark sighting, I determined we have one of the most hardcore groups of all time. As soon as we got off the boat, everyone in the group was grinning ear to ear with how excited they were to see the sharks. That night, we went to the arts village to pick out some food from the market to cook. We made fresh guacamole, salsa, and good ole Mac and cheese with chicken.
For Moonup that night, Grant and Hollis lead a Moonup about the group’s biggest achievements in life or during the trip. Kendal’s achievement was going to a place with people she had never met before and getting her scuba certification. William also talked about how proud he was of getting scuba certified. That night, William, Scarr, Will, Campbell, Maggie and JC pranked Grant by putting a live toad in his room while he was sleeping. I would like to now formally apologize to Grant for the prank, we love you. After well-deserved rest, we used the next morning to play a leadership game to learn what leadership styles we all possess. Unsurprisingly, Kendal, Hollis, and Emmaline found out they were relationship masters which means they are great at building community and checking in on the wellbeing of the group. The afternoon dive was full of beautiful coral, fish, sea snakes, puffer fish, and other beautiful marine life.
That night, we headed over to a beach front dinner to have our last meal together before departure day. We spent the night reflecting on all of the fun adventures we experienced together. We each went around and shared our favorite memory from the trip. JC said his favorite memory was his first breath taken underwater and Addie said it was the time we spent in the village. The next morning, our LOD, William got the group fired up for our last day spent together. We headed to Nandi and spent our last afternoon on a catamaran which was the perfect way to end an amazing trip.
Our time spent together was nothing short of a trip of a lifetime. We experienced a new culture, were humbled by Fijian village life, rafted, swam, hiked, surfed and went scuba diving. These adventures were fun and challenging, but the things we will remember are the friendships made and the laughter we shared. Thank you, parents, for sharing your incredible kids with us. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know such genuine people and create a family of our own. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of dynamic kids.
One last time as always, BULA,
Will and Scarr
June 23, 2019
Hello to all!
A quick update to share some exciting news with everyone- today EVERYONE in our hardcore Fiji 1B family got scuba certified!!!! The boat was full of accomplished faces after everyone completed their fourth dive to become lifetime divers. The group demonstrated the skills they have learned such as clearing a mask, taking scuba gear off underwater and putting it back on. They also learned underwater navigation, safety procedures, and how to perfect their buoyancy. They even got to explore a colorful underwater coral cave! Among the tons of neat sea creatures the group saw, puffer fish and sea snakes were the favorite. Kendal was hesitant about diving at first but persisted through it and ended up crushing the dives today. JC said diving was one of the coolest things he’s ever done.The last couple days have been an absolute blast. During our first dive Campbell, Will, William, JC, Emmaline, and Maggie played one of our group’s favorite group games, hey barn- but this time 60 ft underwater! It was hilarious to watch the group doing crazy hand motions underwater without being able to say the words to the game. Later that afternoon we went to the beach and swam, soaked up the sun, and threw frisbee. We then took a trip to the local arts village to pick up items from the market for a home cooked family style meal. Addie cut up and cooked veggies while Grant (now formally known as nugget) cheffed up some delicious chicken nuggets. With music blaring and uncontrollable laughter about the lack of cooking skills our group has, we made delicious pasta stir fry. Emmaline and Addie led our group in a meaningful Moonup about what we cherish most in life and what we are most grateful for. This intentional discussion gave us a chance to reflect on our time spent on this trip and about the joy that simple living brings to our lives. Hollis reflected on how grateful she was to participate in a trip like this and allow herself time to grow and build powerful relationships around her.As for today, we celebrated our accomplishments by a sunset game of rugby on the beach. We wanted to share a quick update to let everyone know how proud we are of our group and how excited we are for the next two full of diving adventures.
Scarr & Will
June 21, 2019
Wow, what a quick couple of days it’s been. Time here has been flying by and has been jam packed with adventure. We departed our rafting section by hopping in a camo open-air bus, which made us feel like we were on a jungle safari. We laughed, drank juice, and felt sunshine on our faces throughout the drive. After the group’s hard work during community service and rafting, we treated ourselves to well deserved ice cream on the way to Fiji beach house.
The group was giddy with excitement when we got to our beach front accommodation. Our first night at the beach house we had Moonup on the beach beneath the stars with a full moon that lit up the whole sky. Kendall and Grant were leaders of the day (LODs) and lead us in a conversation discussing why we take risks in life and how we benefit from them. Grant thoughtfully shared with the group that he believes growth and self-discovery all come from taking risks.
The next morning was a bright and early morning for the group. It was still dark as the group enjoyed a dawn patrol surf lesson. While we were surfing we felt so at peace on our boards watching the beautiful sun rise. Maggie and Hollis were naturals and Grant, JC, and William challenged themselves to some bigger waves with help from Will. In the afternoon our group went on an island boat tour of a nearby island off the coast of the main Fijian island. We snorkeled down the reef of the island and were pleasantly surprised about all of the royal blue starfish we saw. On the island Kendal’s competitive side came out when she dominated the sand volleyball court. Campbell aka “chowda,” and Maggie aka “toast” decided to join in on an afternoon beach yoga session during our stay at the beach house. Emmaline and Addie convinced all the girls to get their hair braided by a local Fijian vendor.
Our stay at Fiji beach house was both fun and relaxing which was just what we needed to prepare for the intense scuba days to come. We are so thankful for how well our group has bonded and quickly become a family. Next stop: scuba certification!
As always, Bula!
Scarr and Will
June 19, 2019
After four nights in the Fijian villages, we are so sad to leave all of our new friends but excited to start the next part of our journey together. On Friday we made our way up a gravel road through the Fijian jungle into the mountains of Nabukelevu village. After settling into our house in the middle of the village, the gracious locals welcomed us to join them for a traditional kava ceremony. As part of Fijian custom, we gathered with the sacred chief of the village to drink the staple Fijian root, kava. This symbolized our group being welcomed and accepted into the village.
Throughout our time in Nabukelevu we were surrounded by smiling faces and were in constant awe of how kind and welcoming everyone was to our group. Whether it was cooking meals for us or inviting us into their homes, we immediately felt like family. Some of our favorite moments spent in the village consisted of swimming in the river and playing rugby and volleyball with the school’s children. We also enjoyed teaching our new friends how to play our favorite game: big booty. One day on the playground, Maggie taught a bunch of children how to play a fun hand clapping game. Over the next several days we noticed practically all of the village children playing Maggie’s game. William showed his dance moves to many of the kids and kept us hysterically laughing through it all. Nights in the village were full of delicious family style meals on the porch of our home-stay, endless games of big booty, and hanging out in John Curtis, Grant, and Addie’s Eno hammocks.
During the days we helped paint boards for the community hall, clean up around the village, and swim in the river. On Sunday, we were lucky enough to have the chance to attend a morning worship service in the village. The choir sounded beautiful and we enjoyed seeing how similar our cultures are, despite being across the world. Later on Sunday, we were invited into a Fijian home for a special meal of chicken, cassava, and vegetables cooked in an underground oven pit. It was so special watching the meal come together, not to mention Campbell and Grant said it was the best chicken they have ever had.
The last morning in Nabukelevu we slept in and had an easy morning which is what the Fijians call “Fiji time.” We then went for a muddy jungle hike in order to reach the spot in the Navau river where we would begin rafting. We truly felt like we were in the movie Tarzan while hiking through creeks, waterfalls, and bamboo forests. John Curtis and Hollis made a bet to see who would slip in the mud first, but Campbell ended up taking the cake with a whopping 5+ slips in the mud. We then initiated everyone in the group by painting mud tribal marks on their face. Once we reached the river, we hopped in our rafts and began the day. Sarah Carr, Kendall, Campbell, and Emmaline all hopped in a raft together which was guided by our beloved river guide, Pedro. Pedro made many jokes throughout the raft trip, keeping us on our toes the entire time. He even convinced us at one point that he broke his arm and that we would be in charge of steering. On the other raft, Hollis took charge and earned the nickname “captain” for how well she paddled through the rapids. The days on the rafts was full of laughter and beautiful views of tall canyons, waterfalls, and palm trees on both sides of the river. On our final section of the river, we hopped into individual duckies and traveled further down. During our lunch break on the river, we hiked through the jungle to an astonishing waterfall. Everyone enjoyed exploring and playing in the waterfall, and it was the biggest waterfall many of us had ever seen. After rafting our way out of the village, we sadly said bye to village life and reflected on the amazing times we had and humbling lessons we learned.
Although we were sad to leave our new friends, we are so excited for surfing and scuba adventures to come.
“Moce” for now,
Sarah Carr & Will
June 13, 2019
After a long day of traveling and time traveling (we still aren’t quite sure how the international date line works), we finally arrived in beautiful Fiji! Having just traveled from London, Emmaline may have been jet lagged but hardly skipped a beat and continued to keep the group spirits high. Maggie and Addie were excited to get another stamp on their passports and experience a new culture. Within minutes of exiting the airport the kids were astonished with the diversity of the landscape all around. We were surrounded by amazing views of rugged mountains, jungles and shimmering water. After a quick breakfast and water slide break, our group headed south to Pacific Harbor to begin the next leg of our trip.
Upon arrival, we settled into our cozy sleeping quarters and treated ourselves to a pizza lunch! Tired eyes were no more when we headed to the beach for our first swim together in the Pacific Ocean. William, Grant, and John Curtis learned to play beach rugby while the rest played categories. Making our way back to the hotel, the boys became curious as how to get a coconut off a tree. After a few failed attempts, a friendly local came to help us out. Everyone’s jaws dropped as he scaled the entire tree to get the coconuts for all of us to enjoy (and save for later!).
Following dinner, the group shared with each other what our individual goals, and our goals as a family throughout our trip. Hollis and Campbell are most excited to put their phones away and “unplug” and Kendal is most excited to focus on personally connecting with everyone around her. Our guide stopped by to brief us about the community service and rafting portion of the trip which got us extremely excited to head into the village and interact with the locals. Tomorrow we will start our adventure in Nambukelevu. We can’t wait to share more from our adventures soon!
A quick shoutouts before we head out…
Everyone in the group wants to give a huge shoutout to all the fathers out there, happy Father’s Day!!!
June 12, 2019
Bula Fiji Families!
We heard from our Leaders that all students have arrived safely in Fiji. The group has headed out for their first activity, and the trip is off to a great start. We cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure soon. Stay tuned!