Now that I’m back in Sydney it’s probably time for me to provide some closing thoughts on one of the most unique years of my life. Probably the most underrated change in me this year was that for some unknown reason I started introducing myself as Andrew rather than Hunt. I don’t even know why this happened, but now its got out of hand and I have two sets of people that call me different things. It’s very confusing. It seems trivial, yet names are so important I wanted to give it prime position in the first paragraph, right above all my trivial personal achievements which are as follows:
I played in the 2nd best basketbal team in Fiji
… and people paid to watch me play
I made a coffee for someone and they liked it so much they hugged me
I didn’t dance on the poles at O’Reilly’s
I started a book club
I played my first music gig… for a bunch of deaf kids… in a mumu
I learned enough Fijian to understand when people are making jokes about me
I accumulated more “one that got away” fishing stories in one year here, than in a lifetime of fishing in Australia.
I killed approximately 2500 mosquitoes, an average of nearly 7 per day
I wrote a Fijian children’s book
I got stranded on a breakwall at high tide in the dark and rowed a canoe to safety with a plank of wood
I won my first international soccer cap when my team took on the Tuvalu national side coached by one Foppe De Haan of EUFA champions league fame (seriously, check out his wikipedia page)
I maintained a regular blog posting on average better than once every two weeks
I am now an expert in picking out which drinking coconut to buy
I purchased my first tailor made shirt for the princely sum of $20AUD
OK you can stop skimming now. That was mainly for my own benefit when I read back over these blogs in a few years to feel good about myself.
My most significant work achievement was either helping my friend Shelly raise enough money for a man to buy building materials and make himself a house, or winning a grant for my organisation to buy two trucks so they can reach remote places reliably for income generation projects. Both of those I am still quite proud of. My biggest regret was that at times I think I acted like more of a jerk than I really am. I think I came across quite self-centered, and unfortunately this blog is doing little to change that impression, but since being back a couple of days I am confident it’s a temporary affliction.
Before coming to Fiji, I set myself a few simple goals that I wanted to achieve while I was here:
1. Learn Fijian
2. Get fit
3. Get decent at guitar
4. Make someone cry when I left
The first three goals were self-improvement related and the final goal was to make sure I’d made a difference in someone’s life. I couldn’t think of a better litmus test for that, if anyone has some ideas I’d love to hear them. I purposely tried not to publish the goals to make sure if I failed miserably I wouldn’t have smart ass emails and comments, but I think overall I did ok. Here is my self assessed Fijian goals report card:
Subject: Learn Fijian
Comments: Andrew got to the stage where he could have a decent chat if the person was willing to repeat themselves a few times. With a little more study Andrew probably could have been comfortable in general conversation. There are always words popping up that he don’t know, but what can I say about Andrew other than “iko sa susu madrai”?
Subject: Get Fit
Comments: This is Andrew’s most successful goal. He managed to start going to the gym before work 3 times a week and played 2 games of full field soccer too. He also did some 5km runs. It’s all very uncharacteristic. I blame fitocracy personally, because Andrew had little chance of pumping any irons at all if it didn’t get him points.
Subject: Get decent at guitar
Comments: Andrew did well at the start but got lazy. A lot of times he lacked effort and neglected private practice in favour of television. His guitar improved a lot due to his regular weekly sessions with Steve and the rest of SGH, but he lacked purpose and determination. Also his handwriting is atrocious.
Subject: Make someone cry
Comments: Andrew made a few people at work cried, but he cried more than them.
*** End of report ***
So I guess this is moce mada for now. I have no intentions to keep the blog going at home, but I will try and update it when I make subsequent trips to Fiji. If you are reading this for the first time, the rest of the blog actually has some pretty good information on Fiji and Suva life, culutre and people. It also has a killer roti recipe just down below this.