Trip Updates

Fiji 3A • July 13-July 29, 2019

Fond Farewell!

July 29, 2019

What a time to be at the beach!! We have had the most wonderful times and made lifelong friends on this short trip! We wish it was longer but know keeping up will be a blast because of just how close the group has gotten. To say we will miss each student is an understatement and are sincerely thankful for the relationships formed. This has been a trip of a lifetime and we are happy to have spent it in such great company!

Our Beachouse time full of surfing, friendships bracelets, chilling on the beach, and pool swimming. On the first full day had sandwiches, salads, burgers and fish and chips for lunch! Shortly after, we took a quick boat trip out to the good surf and watched each kid catch more than one stellar wave! They looked like pros! Peter and August took the most chances and got several long waves. After around two hours we all caught the boat into shore and swam in the pool all fairly worn out from the fun times we had in the water! Later that afternoon, we gathered on the beach and took turns pushing each other on the giant swing overlooking a killer view of the ocean. Olivia enjoyed this the most and got really great pictures with everyone on the swing! After, Alex chilled close by on the beach really embracing the relaxed Fiji mentality. We had a great night belly laughing during dinner, playing intense card games, and dancing outside together. Tyler said some of her favorite parts of the trip were when everyone was goofing off and dancing together- we totally agree with her! Moonup was held on the beach under the stars and we went to bed tired and grateful to be in such a beautiful place with great friends.

We woke up to a wonderful platter of fresh fruit, a variety of toast, and Fijian cereals! For our second day of surfing, we sang as loud as we could on our quick boat trip out to the waves- getting so stoked to get back in the water! The waves always are a blast and Walton caught so many as we all got a little more comfortable on our boards. After surfing more, we were even more pumped to have the opportunity to watch a surf competition held by our hostel! Our surf instructors were even in the competition and took our whole group out on a boat to get a better look at the competitors! Taylor was in her happy place watching all the heats and the amazing tricks the pros could do. After the competition was over, we all enjoyed some fabulous ice cream and some of us played a game of volleyball. Scott got out there and helped his team out with some amazing saves! While the game continued, the other half of the group went out to look in the shallow water for starfish that seemed to be everywhere. Mercer and Caroline had the biggest grins of everyone over these cute little creatures and found a dozen each! That evening, we saw the most beautiful sunset of the trip- the water reflected red and purple from the sun and it took or breath away! Emma said that this sunset was one of her favorite moments of the trip yet!

That night full of activities because we set up a scavenger hunt for all thirteen of the kids! We separated them into teams and gave them tasks to complete while filming on their cameras. Luke enjoyed this the most and was super efficient directing his team! Phillip also was a great competitor and volunteered to help out his team in anyway that he could, including hunting down starfish and keeping everyone hydrated! Our last Moonup was centered around how thankful we are to have spent time in Fiji and was one of our favorites. As we say our goodbyes, we are looking forward to keeping up with this group for a very long time and can’t imagine ending the summer any other way! Thank you for tuning in and so long for now!

Best,

Jack and Molly


Service and Rafting and Fun, Oh My!

July 26, 2019

GREETINGS FROM FIJI BEACHOUSE! We had the most wonderful time during service and rafting and these kiddos consistently impressed us with how caring, hardworking, and friendly each person in the group is. They were always looking for more ways to serve the community and were invested in each custom that we were fortunate enough to be a part in. We all agree that we are leaving service feeling grateful for all the hospitality we were shown, and the relationships formed within the village. The bond this group has formed is closer than ever as we reflect on our “once in a lifetime” moments in the village.

The drive through the jungle and up into the village, we jammed to some classic 2000’s tunes, shouted Bula to every person we passed, and laughed the entire drive. The village greeted us immediately by saying, “Bula Venaka” as we settled into our new home for the next few days. That afternoon, we ran down to the river to cool off and jump of the rocks into the crystal clear, freshwater river that’s surrounded by palm trees. Taylor took every opportunity to jump off the rock and swim around in this beautiful place! For dinner, we had huge plates of spaghetti and played cards on the front porch to end a spectacular day. Service began that next morning after a breakfast of scrambled eggs, cereal, toast, and bananas! Our job was to paint the community center where all the village meetings and ceremonies take place. Alex and Mercer painted diligently with green paint for the outside and brown for the stain on the top and bottom. The village was so grateful and impressed by how fast we were able to complete this job!

After lunch, we ran up to the school to play multiple games of volleyball and rugby. Emma totally held the team together with her stellar serve and Caroline also helped us win with her volleyball moves! We were even able to win a couple of games with the help of the local villagers! When we weren’t crushing volleyball, we were playing with the extremely friendly and hilarious children in the community. Many of the kids’ favorite part of the trip so far was when we hiked up a hill in the village and got to watch the sunset and dance with the Fijian kids. Scott made quick friends and taught all the children new dance moves and Tyler was swing dancing with all of the children as well. The second day of service we all carried rocks to lay concrete around the water fountain in the center of the village. Philip laid concrete and he made friends with the elders of the village while working! Luke finished up painting that morning as well and we were excited to learn that he is a great artist!

That afternoon we played more volleyball and rugby and also swam with the local children. It was one of the best days. Because it was Moondance’s last night in the village for the year, the group was fortunate enough to take part in the Fijian ceremony! That night, we got to try multiple types of desserts and teas while the village elders blessed our travels and work. The food was absolutely incredible and Peter ate every bit of his Fijian desserts! Olivia also enjoyed getting to know more about the culture, the ceremony, and the dancing! As we headed into the rafting section of our trip, goodbyes were difficult, but we waved “Moce” to the village with smiles! Rafting in the jungle was beautiful and we paddled through sweet rapids and admired the canyons walls on either side. Walton splashed each raft during calmer sections of the river and kept us laughing throughout the day. We pulled up to our home for the night to eat a massive meal of potatoes, chicken, fruit, rolls, and salad and all slept extremely well that night. The next day we took duckies – inflatable kayaks- down the same river and stopped at a gigantic waterfall that August really loved. The whole group stood under it and we got loads of cool pictures! After the waterfall and a hefty lunch, we took motorboats through the jungle and spotted around 20 more waterfalls that took our breath away.

As we spend the next few days enjoying the beach and time with one another, we know that this group will continue to have some of the best laughs and make the greatest of memories. We are looking forward to sending one more update after the beachouse section, but until then- here is another round of shoutouts from the kiddos!

Best,

Jack and Molly

 

OLIVIA – BULA! Vinaka vaka le vu for providing this amazing opportunity and letting me go on this trip, I’ve met so many people and made so many good friendships. I can’t wait to see you all. We are now at Fiji Beach house and it is so pretty. Today we are going surfing later today which will be really fun. What have you and T done while we all have been traveling the world? I can’t wait to show you photos and tell you all about it. I LOVE and MISS you both!!

PHILIP – Hey Mom and Dad I am sitting on the beach in Fiji. We are at Fiji beach house about to go surfing. We have two days left in Fiji before we come back to the United States. Service was great! I helped paint their community center. Then we went rafting on a river. Then we arrived at beach house. I miss you both!!! Also one last thing… HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!

Peter- Hey parents! I’m having so much fun here and I can’t believe it’s almost over. Service in the village was so much fun and such a cool experience. There’s only three days left until I come home and I’m not coming back to Chicago… This has been one of the best two weeks of my life and I’m never gonna forget the time I spent here.  I guess I’ll see you guys soon. Vinaka!!

AUGUST WILLIAM SHARP——— hi parents it’s me again, August!!! I finished service with the people of the village we went to and now we are at the last location Fiji beach house I have like 3 more days, but this is so fun! I can’t wait to see you I hope ellet is having fun at camp and I miss and love u both muchooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Luke – hi mom and dad. I’m having a great time in Fiji. We just finished the service. It was really fun being with the kids. We then rafted from the village down the river. We are now on the beach about to start surfing. Hope all is well at home. I’m having lots of fun! Love y’all

Taylor- hey I don’t want to come home.., it’s so pretty here ,.,.,we are in the prettiest place and we are going surfing today and I’m so excited. See y’all soon love y’all

Walton- hey mom and dad, we just finished service and now we’re at the prettiest place. Can’t wait to see y’all but I’m also having a great time here. Love and miss y’all

Mercer-hey mom and dad, I’m having the best time of my life! Love y’all.

Tyler- bula fam! Still LOVING it here we’re about to surf and the waves are sweet! Love and miss you guys! See you soon

Alex- Hey mom and dad! Service was incredible. I don’t wanna come home at all. I love this place and these people. Mocceeee

Emma- Hey mom and dad and Sophie !!!!!!!:) service was the coolest thing I have ever done and by far my favorite part of the trip. We are about to start our surfing for a couple days and then off to LA. I really do not want to come home but love and miss u

CAROLINE- Bula shanni and Dad I miss you guys and Casey and Camden so much! We just got done with service which was so freakin fun! I got to meet so many kids it was so cool today we are going surfing so that will be so much fun I can’t wait to show you pictures and tell you all about it tell sandy Norah and Tyler I miss them so freakin much I LOVE AND MISS YOU GUYS SOOO MUCH CANT WAIT TO SEE YOU

SCOTT- hey mom and dad, I’m having a ton of fun. We just finished service and I made a lot of friends with all the people in the village. We also just finished rafting which was a blast. Now I’m at Fiji Beachouse which is super cool and I’m having a great time. I’ll see you soon!


Scuba Certified!

July 21, 2019

BULA VENAKA, friends and family! We are so pumped to announce that the entire group has completed their certification and are now all open water or advanced certified! We have had the most fantastic time enjoying each other’s company above and below water and know that the group has been soaking up every minute of our time here. We can’t tell you how fun this group is and time is flying so very fast!

During our first days of diving we have had the perfect balance of diving, beach time, and cruising around the local village just a short walk from our home base. During our first dives, the open water divers totally crushed it, and they completed all their skills in no time. We even got to do some exploring, where August and Mercer found sea slugs and remained curious during every single dive. Tyler was the best underwater photographer and we cannot wait to see her pictures she snagged! We all came back and learned really fun card games and then made an amazing stir fry dinner made by Luke and Caroline! After another hilarious dinner with lots of storytelling, we all got some well deserved rest to suit up for the next day of dives and – of course – the beach!

When we aren’t underwater, this group loves nothing more than chilling on the beach, relaxing, and throwing the frisbee! We spent three of our four mornings relaxing on the beach where Emma enjoyed the view and had the most fun playing frisbee. The group ran into the ocean to play a giant game of Star (the pool game where you guess a movie based on the initials)! After, Walton and Alex loved the incredible view of a small island a couple miles off the coast from our beach spot hangout. Morning like these with new best friends are hard to beat!

Throughout the next couple of days, we continued to master diving skills and explore new diving locations. Olivia absolutely loved the crazy colored coral reefs and looked like a natural! Peter and Scott were as curious as ever and found a friendly eel in one of the reefs that the group all got to see! We got to see so many types of coral it’s hard to keep count and even more wildlife. Clown fish, tuna, stingrays, lionfish, and puffer fish are just a few! Over in the advanced certification group, Philip -who’s favorite activity was totally SCUBA- enjoyed all the wildlife and we even got some great footage of him next to some super friendly nurse shark! On one of our last dives we got everyone (advanced and open water groups) at the same dive site and had ourselves a little Moondance reunion underwater that Taylor was so stoked about! Last night we all enjoyed pizza at a local restaurant and exchanged our favorite times during the dives to give our temporary home a proper goodbye!

Time is absolutely flying here with this group but we are so happy to have had the greatest of times diving in the soft coral capital of world! We know the kids are going to work so hard during the service section and cannot wait to jump into the next activity. Their positive attitude and hilarious personalities make this group so special and we are so thankful to have them here in Fiji! Looking forward to sending y’all another update after the service portion, and thanks for tuning in! Below are some shout outs from the kiddos 🙂

Best,Jack and Molly

LUKE- hey mom and dad, I’m having lots of fun we just finished scuba diving I’m now advanced;) can’t wait to see you love and miss y’all

CAROLINE- HEY Shanni and dad I am having so much fun! We are about to do service and play with the kids!!!! YAY tell all my friends that I miss them! Hope y’all are having fun at home love and miss you guys so much

TYLER- hi DapDad#1 and momma! best trip. best leaders. best people. best place. Having so much fun I can’t wait to see you guys! Vinaka vinaka for sending me! Praying the littles haven’t killed each other… see you soon!

WALTON- Bula fam! I am having so much fun in Fiji! Thank you so much for letting me come here! Love and miss y’all and happy birthday Dad!

EMMA- Hi Mom and Dad!!!!!!! I am having a ton of fun and Fiji is the coolest place ever. I have the best leaders and friends and I really do not want to come home (lol sorry) Miss and Love you, BULAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

MERCER- Hey family! Fiji is a blast and I’m having the time of my life. It is so beautiful here and I wish y’all could be able to experience it with me….I hope y’all are having a nice time in Cali while me Haines and Hatcher are out of the house! I love and miss yall️

AUGUST WILLIAM SHARP: Hey mother and my father, I’m having just about the greatest time. Currently I am in route to a village. I can’t wait to see you when I get to our home. Love you as well as miss you muchooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

PETER- Bula family, I’m having so much fun here. Everyone in my group is awesome and the trip has been going by so fast. Scuba diving was so much fun and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip. Hope you guys are having fun on your trip and that Jack isn’t too lonely alone in the house. See you in a week!

TAYLOR- hey mom and dad this trip is so fun miss y’all can y’all! SCUBA was so much fun we saw sharks and it was sooo cool! Can’t wait to tell y’all all about it! Love y’all

ALEX- BULLLAAAA hey mom and dad! I miss you guys but I don’t wanna leave. This place is amazing. I have the best leaders and best people. Fiji is beautiful. We are now going to service. Tell all my friends I miss them so much love you!! MOCCEEEEEE

SCOTT – Greetings mother and father, I sincerely appreciate you sending me on this spectacular trip. I am having a wonderful time. I shall see you in approximately 9 days. I hope all is well back home. Bye

OLIVIA – Bula! I miss you all, Fiji has been so much fun and like no other. We are on the way to a village to begin our service! We went scuba diving for a few days and saw SHARKS! It was AMAZING. Hope you and T got to vacation at least a little while all of the littles are gone. LOVE YOU BOTH!!

PHILIP- Hey mom and dad I am on my way to service right now. I got my advanced scuba diver, with no sinus infection. Fiji is so beautiful. There were so many bull sharks. I am taking good pictures on my GoPro. I miss you and can’t wait to see you in one week. 🙂


Bula!

July 16, 2019

Bula Bula everyone!! We are so pumped to finally be able to meet this awesome group and start our adventure here on the beautiful island of Fiji! From the moment everyone arrived at the airport, we could tell how close knit everyone already was and are excited to get to know the group even more by the time we are finished here. Thanks to y’all for sending your loved ones on this trip of a lifetime!

After lots of hugs and introductions in the airport, we exchanged our money and loaded onto the hotel shuttle for the short drive to where we would be staying that night. We had an incredible breakfast there and changed into our bathing suits to sit by the pool while we waited for our transportation to the marina to pick us all up. The group quickly put on sunscreen and grabbed a pool chair to lay on. Walton and Taylor immediately starting working on their island tan while Tyler, Caroline, and Phillip all attempted to break the Fijian record for most consecutive rides down the hotel water slide. Soon, we drove to the local port, where are catamaran was waiting for us at the end of the dock. We jumped on and made our way out of the harbor and towards one of the many smaller islands located off the coast of the main island. Within a few minutes, the crew passed out a wonderfully arranged plate of fresh fruits and enjoyed Fijian coconut slices, pineapple, and watermelon! We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day and all piled on the front of the catamaran getting to know each other through effortless conversations and tons of laughs.

As we made our way to the island, everyone enthusiastically jumped into the pacific waters to see some spectacular snorkeling sights. Luke was one of the first ones in the ocean and one of the last ones out! Emma was quite the GoPro specialist and we cannot wait to see some of the sweet footage she got! Scott was also a pro and even got to see a puffer fish! There were so many sights to see, we have trouble keeping count. Olivia and Mercer found clown fish and even a couple of lionfish! After this, we swam to a pier to enjoy the view and even got to jump off into the crystal clear, turquoise water. August totally enjoyed this the most before we all boarded the catamaran once again to have a great lunch of chicken or ham sandwiches, sliced fruit, and delicious chocolate chip cookies. After eating a filling lunch, everyone hopped right back to the front of the boat to once again relax and enjoy the tropical Fijian scenery. Peter and Alex quickly grabbed spots at the front of the catamaran and admired the insanely blue color of the ocean.

We took our transportation back to the hotel after the sailboat docked and checked into our hotel rooms after swimming and laying by the pool for another hour or so.(we can’t get enough of it)! We dropped our bags and took some much-needed showers and naps, using our free time to relax and reenergize. We regrouped for a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant, with meals ranging from spaghetti to veggie stir fry to burgers and everything in between. After catching the sunset, we had our first Moonup under the stars by the pool and we all caught some well earned Zzz’s bed. This morning, we woke up to breakfast at the hotel and currently are on a bus en route to our SCUBA section of the trip!! We can’t wait to check back in and let y’all know about how fun diving at the Soft Coral capital of the world was! To say we are stoked is an understatement and we know the kids are equally as pumped!

Talk to y’all soon,

Jack and Molly


Safe Arrival in Fiji!

July 14, 2019

All students have safely arrived in Fiji.

More to come soon!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Alex
  • August
  • Caroline
  • Luke
  • Emma
  • Mercer
  • Olivia
  • Peter
  • Philip
  • Scott
  • Taylor
  • Walton
  • Tyler

Staff