Friday, August 27, 2010

Visitors and visiting!

I'm a bit out of order with my posts, but I just wanted to say that our friends E&R came to Wallis to visit for the week before our wedding. Luckily the power and water stayed on so their stay wasn't too tough!
We took them out fishing/snorkeling one day, and another day, Sefos uncle took us in his boat to an island in the north. The little island was small, and others had the same idea so it was a bit crowded, so we went back to the mainland, but along the way we stopped at the Hole of Hell, which is a really deep blue hole surrounded by a shelf of coral - its the most beautiful snorkeling I have done here! R was very impressed, E did a great job having a look but her fear of fish meant she spent most of her time watching us have fun from the safety of the boat! It was amazing though - with photos to prove it!!
We were lucky to have the Wallis national day while they were here, which was celebrated with lots of traditional dancing.
We went out for dinner one night, and spent lots of time relaxing - afternoon naps every day! They said they enjoyed themselves which was the main thing!!

After the wedding, Sefos friend from Melbourne came and stayed for a few days. She is originally from Futuna so understands the local language. It was great having her here to translate! We went to Fioa - the beautiful island in the south for a day - the weather in the morning wasn't great, but then in the afternoon it improved a lot! On the way home we did some snorkeling and fishing and I had my first close encounter in the water with a shark! I was terrified and had a small panic attack! Sefo was great and protected us! Although the shark didn't even show any interest in us at all and was there and gone in seconds! I'm hoping next time I am braver and can stop and look at it in all its beauty (as I'm sure there will be a next time!).

On the Sunday, after saying goodbye to Sefos friend and his parents (who went to Noumea for a week) we went on an organised Island trip. This is the biggest tourism thing that Wallis does, and us (with some of Sefos relatives) and a lot of French people, took some traditional boats out to an island in the north. They provided breakfast and an amazing lunch - Umu (underground cooking) pork, chicken and fish, along with Bami, coleslaw and lots of other yummy things! They took a little boat ride for those who were interested to a small island next door which we could explore (and it was really beautiful!) and then after some beers, food and a nap we can back to the mainland. A really great day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We got married! In a beautiful ceremony in a little chapel in the grounds of the Sofitel, Fiji. The service was simple and I am so happy that I didn't cry in it! I was so worried i would - but i think being made to wait about 30 minutes (because guests were late) made me annoyed and forced me to think about something else! - so thanks for being late!) But despite that, it was lovely (what I can remember of it!)Followed by drinks and canapes on the lawn outside the chapel and then the most romantic dinner on the beach! I love that our guests (and us!) all took off their socks and shoes and sat an the long table chatting, drinking and eating - until it was time to dance! And then we danced barefoot and drank the night away! It really was perfect and everything I hoped for! Sefo and I had the most amazing time!

The hotel upgraded us into the presidential suite - the best room in the house! I was lucky that they checked us in early so I could get ready with my beautiful sister (bridesmaid) and my niece (flowergirl) and with my mum! It was so relaxing getting ready, sipping Moet! The room was AMAZING! With a spa inside, and a big bath outside on the balcony, a massive lounge which was separate to the massive bedroom! 2 toilets! Our beautiful friends H&J who couldn't make it to Fiji had arranged to leave a bottle of Moet for us to find when we came back to the room.

We had a great week at the Sofitel with our friends and family who could make it, and then Sefo and I went to Pacific Harbour for a little honeymoon - it took a bit of getting used to going from the Presidential Suite to a normal hotel room! But the hotel we stayed at -The Pearl, was nice. There wasn't a lot to do there, and the weather was pretty windy (compared to Nadi), but we went to Suva and checked that out, and did some relaxing! It was great!

Now back in Wallis, I continue to try and keep busy - tutoring 2 kids a couple of days a week and enjoy spending time with my husband! I'm certainly not looking forward to going back to Melbourne next month, but it has to be done, and then that's the last time Sefo and I will be apart - I hope!!

Monday, July 26, 2010


The water and power were put back on on Friday - thank goodness!! There is still talk about some of the people blockading and others striking, but hopefully it stays on for now - or at least until we go to Fiji and then they can do what they want!!
And having written that, Sefo has come home from work and told me there will be no water or electricity for the next few days...I hope its not true!

Our friends E and R arrive tomorrow and are staying for a week, then we will all go to Fiji together and begin the Festival of our Wedding! I cant wait! Relaxing, hot water, swimming pool, fresh food, cooked breakfast -and of course getting married!!

We have thought of a few things for E and R to do while they are here - but I'm sure a lot of relaxing is on the cards anyway! Hoepfully K and H will put on a Kareoke night on Sat night!!

I have been doing a little bit of tutoring work here - with a 12 year old boy which has been good. His family are keen for me to see him as much as possible before I leave, as am I as they are paying me quite a bit of money! Who wouldve thought tutoring would be so lucrative! Apprarently the boy is enjoying it so hopefully he will tell his friends and I can drum up some more business!

Other than that things are still are same here...countdown is on for our wedding!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Joys of Island Life!

There is no power and no water in the whole of Wallis Island - except at Sefos neighbour/bosses house who has a generator, and a direct link to the satellite for Internet!! Which is why I can blog and tell you about it!

Yesterday, the King took over the power company, and he, and his cabinet, decided they didn't want to let the company from Noumea run it. There was a guy from Africa who used to work there, did some dodgy things and got fired, and now the King has elected him to run the company! Dodgy?! I think so! And so does the rest of Wallis!! The King apparently hasn't thought about the practicalities of it all as they don't have enough money to pay for the gasoline to run the power...hence, no power!! We don't know how long it will last - maybe it will be fixed tomorrow, or maybe a month! We are certainly going to be smelly! And glad that we have a trip to Fiji coming up in 2 weeks!!
But at least we have Internet access!! Hopefully they fix the problems soon as everyone is really angry!!

Other than that, everything has been pretty much the same! I have got a little bit of work tutoring English - I'm currently working with a 12 year old boy a few hours a week - good to get a bit of pocket money! I have made a new friend, P, who is an English teacher at the Junior School - she is lovely and I have been helping her with her lesson plans and also playing with her 1 year old daughter, in Enlish, as she wants her exposed to as much as possible. It's fun, and its great to have something productive to do!!

I'm looking forward to my mates E and R coming to visit Wallis in a week (for a week, then we head to Fiji together!)...I hope the power is back on for them!! it certainly will be an experience for them either way!!

I made Beef Bourgingon (or however it is spelt!) the other day - and man, it was awesome! I think its a contender for my signature dish!!

Tonight, we get to eat all the food that is defrosting in the freezer!!
Bon Apetite!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Week 3 and 4

Wow- time is flying! I cant believe I have been away from Australia for over a month now. And I thought I would be writing in this blog everyday but now I'm trying to catch up for a few weeks!!

Things are good - it's now the windy season though which means (well, it means its windy of course!) but also that the water is choppy which reduces the opportunity we have to go out in the boat! We have been snorkeling twice (fishing for Sefo, snorkeling for me!) but hopefully there will be more opportunities on the weekends! It's so beautiful underwater! We went last week and I saw the biggest Angel fish I have ever seen - the size of large dinner plates!! That's how I measure all fish - how they will look on my dinner plate!!

We have done a bit of Karaoke lately! On Saturday night in Wallis there was a big concert with famous singers from Tahiti and Futuna and Wallis - all raising money to rebuild Futuna (after the cyclone earlier this year - it was pretty much flattened). We didn't go to the concert, but we went to K's house and he cooked a big BBQ and had some friends over and the karaoke set up. His brother in law, C, sets it all up, but on Sat night he didn't do it properly so had to come back. He is a music guy that works for the TV station, and his wife works on the tv - a news presenter and she was presenting at the concert (it was televised). So C, his wife and all the famous singers rock up at K's house to set up the karaoke! And then they all started singing! It's very hard to go up and sing when there are famous singers there!! They didn't stay for very long though - and then we had the microphones to ourselves! The songs are all so old - although the most recent was Whats Up by 4 non blondes -which, I must say I rocked! I even put on their weird voices!! There were a few french people there (including the director of aircalin, and her very drunk husband!!) so at least I got to practice french as well!!

Monday night was the start of summer in France, and they have a Festival of Music to celebrate. So here, they also have festivals of music! We went to Sefos ex-colleagues place, G, to have a BBQ and to do some more karaoke! We had to go to another place down the hill for the karaoke -which we did at about 10pm. It wasn't at good as Ks, mainly because they couldn't get it working for a while, and G, who was in charge of choosing the songs chose hard ones to sing, which were also slow and boring! We had Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, slow ABBA ones - but then some Lady Gaga thrown in! Weird! Everyone just sat around though not really talking. Although I did meet F, who was in Townsville for a while and spoke good English. It was nice talking with her and she gave me some good ideas for things i can do next year if we stay in Wallis for another year. Definitely worth thinking about!

Other than that I am still helping S with cooking. Last Wednesday night we got to cook for 8 priests and bishops who were in Wallis for a special celebration! S cooked a big Paella and we had Berries and Cream for dessert. Lots of wine, rum punch and whiskey! The priests all pretty much study in Fiji so most of them spoke English - and the bishop is one of the nicest, friendliest men I have met! There was a priest from Tonga who I spoke to a bit - he had spent some time in melb when he was younger with the RAAF. He was a massive man though - we had to give him a special chair to sit in as he didn't fit in the ordinary garden ones - I think he gets lots of gifts of food in Tonga!! It was a lovely dinner and a big success at cooking and serving such important people in this community.

S and I keep cooking lunches - although she doesn't want to sell as much. People were given credit for the lunches and no one really pays up! She is waiting to people to pay what they owe before she starts selling again - this week is pay week for the government staff so hopefully they do pay coz i enjoy it! And I think she makes pretty good money out of it. So lately we have just been cooking for 2 or 3 people who she knows will pay and then eating the rest for lunch! We have had some pretty fancy lunches - very different to the food we eat at Sefos place!! Here its plain rice, fried or boiled fish/chicken/steak, and the native veges like tapioca, yam, taro. When I get to cook it becomes more interesting - and we mainly have marinated chicken/steak on the BBQ. It was fathers day on Sunday here and Sefo and I cooked a lovely BBQ for his dad - couscous salad (with goats cheese - yum!) green salad and steak, pork chops and sausages on the BBQ. I hope his dad liked it!!

Anyway, that's about all I can think of to update at the moment - I really should do it more often because often, Sefo will say or do something and I think I must remember to put it in this blog - but then by the time I get around to writing here I've forgotten!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wallis - Week 1

During the week, I was home alone while Sefo went to work - he gets a lunch break between 12-2 so we can have lunch together and see each other so it doesnt feel like such a long day alone! During the day I've been spending my time on the internet, watching some TV shows I have on my laptop, cleaning, doing washing, napping, reading...pretty much relaxing!! Although I did start planting a bit of the vegie garden - I dug a little patch up near the pigs - I planted rockmelon, watermelon and pumpkin alnd already there are a few seedlings coming up! We have plans to dig a bigger patch in an area that is a bit more protected so we can plant some of the seeds that I brought over - tomatoes, capsicum, corn, zucchini, snow peas, basil, dill...yum! hopefully they grow!! It's something to keep me busy!!

When Sefo and I are together we keep busy - One night we went over to his cousins house, L is house sitting a few doors down from where we are living so we went over for dinner. L didnt cook as he had been too busy so we got pizza!! We sat around watching video music clips he had downloaded and eating pizza and drinking beer - who would have thought I wasn't at home anymore!!

On Friday night we went and bought a couple of beers and went for a little drive around the island! Everyone drinks and drives here- but there aren't many people on the roads and there aren't many accidents (and there aren't many policemen!)...and I guess that was what gives Sefo the skill of being able to open a bottle of beer with the clip of the seatbelt!! Its the perfect shape to use as a bottle opener!! After one beer I also got up the courage to try driving!! On the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road! But so long as I remember I have to be in the middle of the road it's not too bad!! I did ok! I just have to learn how to get around here so that I might be able to go places on my own! There is only really one main street, but there are no street signs to help me navigate - I just have to try and remember landmarks and houses that are on the corners!! But its not that big, so if I do try and go somewhere on my own, I'm sure ill find my way back!! Hopefully, coz I cant really ask anyone for directions!!

On Saturday Sefo works in the mornings. This week, after the rain had stopped, we decided to go fishing. Well, Sefo fished (spearfishing) and I snorkelled! The coral is amazing - purples, greens, blues, reds - like the barrier reef before it was damaged! The fish are also amazing - I love to see the angel fish swimming around in their pairs, the tiny electric blue fish that stick close to the coral, the shimmering trevally which Sefo speared!! The fish amongst the coral really are spectacular! So colourful. And friendly! I stood on some coral and had a little rest and they kept coming and nibbling my feet! Perhaps not so friendly!! Sefo caought 9 fish altogether -yum yum!!

On Sunday it was mothers day. Sefos mother wasnt here (his parents were in Noumea) so we went to his relatives house and had lunch there. We ate a little pig, which Sefo was given for fixing someones internet, sushimi, yam, rice, octopus salad and a yummy chocolate cake with icecream for dessert! Sefos Aunt, S, speaks a little bit of English, his Uncle speaks really good english (which we didnt know until lunch!) and his cousin, who we had pizza with, lived in Brisbane for a few years so speaks fluent English. Not that I expect everyone to speak English with me, but it certianly does make it easier and makes me feel more relaxed and part of it all! His aunt is a great cook and makes lunches for people who work for the government - and after I told her I was looking for something to do during the day, she said that maybe I could come and help her! She is in Noumea for a week, but I think it would be lots of fun to go and learn some cooking skills from her, something to keep me busy and maybe she can also help me with my French, and i can help her with her English! Hopefully it happens!

Monday we collected Sefos parents from the airport. Now we have to get the little house fixed up so that we can have some space for ourselves. Sefo has a friend who is supposed to be fixing the tiles, but he hasnt been for a week to do anything -and keeps saying he will come but never quite makes it! Hopefully he comes soon, otherwise we will just move in there anyway and then he will have to work around us!!

The weather is lovely at the moment - warm but then surprising tropical storms arrive - I can see them coming over the ocean - so it pours for a few minutes which cools everything down and then it gets warm again! It hasnt been too humid - more like a good ole fashioned Aussie summer (but with rain!)

So thats been one week down - no home sickness yet!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Return to Wallis Island!

The massage was definately worth it! Very professional and relaxing! And the good news is that the diva who seems to run the place (he called herself a diva - a man who puts the most beautiful makeup on!) - he said that they are opening a nail salon and a hairdresser in the same little strip which will be great to go to - as an option rather than the expensive resort places!!
It was a good note to leave on...

We arrived in Wallis to pouring rain! So heavy that they made us sit on the plane and wait until it got lighter!! We checked through quickly and waited outside for our ride. Sefos cousins came and picked us up and took us back to their place where his aunt had cooked us a delicious lunch of prawns (using the cognac we bought her duty free!) and some steak and kebabs - and vegies!! - oh, and of course rice! We sat at ate while it poured rain outside! Very tropical! Sefos cousin, L, lived in Sydeny for 3 years so he speaks English so it was nice to be able to chat normally and feel left out too early in my arrival!!

Sefo's house didnt look too different to the way it was when i was here is January - the cyclone (Thomas) destoyed all of the vegetation, but it is growing back, and they have nearly finished all the clean up. It was nice to be back at his place. And to be honest, its nice that his parents are still away on holidasy for another week so that we can have a little place for the 2 of us where its like we are still in Melbourne (in the middle of summer!!)

Sefo has gone back to work. Ive done a little bit of gardening and my next job is to prepare a patch to make my vegetable garden! Ive spent a lot of time on the internet and watching some TV shows ive downloaded! Its so hot in the middle of the day - too hot to do anything outside! Sefo comes home for lunch between 12-2 so its great that i see him during the day!

So far...its good to be back!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Denarau - hotel, food, port and massages!

We are staying at the Radisson which is a lovely resort. The pool probably isn’t as good as some of the other resorts, and the bars are a bit more of a weirder style – but we have some drinks in our room so we don’t really need to go hang out in the bars!! Other than the pool bar in the afternoons as they have 2 for 1 priced drinks between 5-6pm which is great! The room is nice and I love that someone comes to make our bed every day!!

We have eaten at the buffet (it’s called ‘Easy on the Wallet’!!) which has an assortment of average food. We also ate at the Asian restaurant which was really lovely –and if you come here I recommend the lemon chicken. It’s not like we know it in Australia! It’s beautiful delicately tempura fried pieces of chicken with a side sauce of lemon and side of almond flakes for dipping! Really delicious. And the sushi is lovely too!!

We had a fancy dinner to celebrate our 2 year anniversary (which was actually in March, but we missed it due to the distance!!). We ate at the Cross, which is a place which MasterChef wouldn’t be able to fault!! Designer food if ever I’ve seen it, but really was delicious. There were pyramids made out of bread sticks, parmesan cheese rolls (like a big bracelet!) and sorbet to cleanse the palette and cold towels to freshen up between courses!! 3 course meal for about $60AUD isn’t bad at all!

We have walked down to the port a couple of times - there are heaps of restaurants and cafe style places down there –all cheaper than at the hotels! When the ships come in (the big cruise liners) there are people everywhere!! But if you can go on a day when there are no ships in sights it’s actually quite a pretty little port for meandering around!! We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe – where the staff every so often stop work and stand up to do a little dance routine! Hilarious!

We have booked a massage for tomorrow –in a little massage place which has reasonably priced massages!! The hotels all charge a huge amount for a massage – about $140-$180FJD each! We actually found a place in Nadi Town when we were there – it charged $30FJD an hour! What an experience – although I’m not sure in a hugely positive way! It was in a rundown little house which had rooms with curtains, but limited fans! We were put in a double room so we could be together. The beds they used had the cut-out for the heads but no padding – with all the pushing and pulling with the massage I ended up with the sorest spot on my head –feeling like it’s all bruised!! I asked for a medium massage and Sefo asked for a hard one – it didn’t take long for him to downgrade to medium and I kept having to say it was too hard to me! The lady had elbows in various places, fingers pressed right into muscles and found every sore spot I had and really worked them out (although I’m not sure she realised they were sore spots – unless she heard me crying!)! It was so painful! Not the nice relaxing massage I envisaged! But at least I thought that I would feel better afterwards! I felt like I had been hit by a bus! So sore!! So the point of this story is to link it back to the port and to explain why we wanted a bit more of a fancy massage and not so much of a cheap one! We found a happy medium (I hope!) with the massage place at the port – reasonable prices in a nice smelling, air conditioned room! I’ll let you know how it goes!!

Wedding Update

We had made an appointment to meet up with our wedding planner, S. When we were here in Fiji scouting for wedding venues S was sick and so we met a guy who took us around and showed us the sights of the Sofitel. The guy was helpful and friends, and it was a bit odd that he actually said that if he was getting married he would choose the Outrigger!! I’m not sure he had actually been there though, as the chapel on top of the cliff sounds amazing, but when you are actually there it is incredibly windy and the views over the coral coast aren’t as spectacular as you might imagine since its all coral and not the lovely crashing waves or calm tranquil water that you would hope to find in Fiji – it’s just brown, muddy coral water!!

This time the plan was to meet S and to go over the wedding plans we had to date. She met us in the lobby and we sat down and had a drink and went over some of the details of what we had planned (some were probably new for Sefo since I have done most of the planning while he has been in Wallis!) We went for a walk around the Sofitel and revisited the important places – which were all different to what we had originally been shown!! Apart from the chapel of course! But it’s better than before – the dinner venue is more secluded and has a paved dance floor! The wet weather backup room is small but fingers crossed in August we won’t need that!! It was great to be able to go back and see it all and get a clear picture in our head of what will be happening! It amazes me how many people arrange a wedding in Fiji without seeing any of the venues – pictures always look good, but reality can be very different!

We did have a little scare with regard to the wedding plans when we arrived in Fiji –I brought Sefo’s wedding ring from Australia – we bought them together but it was being made in his size so I had to pick it up and bring it over – he tried it on here and it’s pretty tight!! Oh no!! Although I remember thinking the same thing when I got my engagement ring, and my finger seems to have shrunk to fit it – or something has happened to make it fit better!! But anyway, we decided to go into Nadi Town to see if we could find a jeweller to re-size it as it was really our only chance to as I doubt it can be done in Wallis!! We tried all 3 jewellers but apparently in Fiji they don’t resize white gold (its 2 colours) so it looks like the ring we have will have to do! Although hopefully it will be ok as when we got back to the hotel and he tried it on a bit more and thinks ‘it’ll be right’!! I guess it has to be!! At least til we come back to Oz!! At least his suit fits!!

Now just a few last things to finalise! And only 2 and a half month to go!!

Lotouka Town

We went to visit Sefo’s relative in the town of Lotouka. We were quoted $50FJD for the trip to Lotouka from our hotel – so we thought we would save some money and take the bus. It cost us $2FJD to go to Nadi and then we had to get another bus from there. The trip to Nadi was really interesting, we thought it would take 10 minutes (a little more than the taxi, which cost $8FJD the previous day!) - how wrong we were! Half an hour later we arrived in Nadi, after taking a detour which took us past some local houses – it was like being in the 3 little pigs, as some were made of wood, some were made of concrete, some were made of corrugated iron- although they all had lovely gardens! I was the only white person on the bus so it really felt like we were having a true local experience. It was really interesting to see some of the local families and where they live – a very different Fiji to Denarau!

We arrived at the bus stop and found the bus to Lotouka. It cost $2.85FJD each – what a bargain! 2 hours after we left our hotel we arrived- we took many detours down many dirt roads but got to see much more of the countryside than we had planned! We went past schools and homes and work places stopping frequently (it’s amazing that when you ring the bell the bus stops, and some people would ring it 10metres past where it last stopped so it was forever stop/start...not so good for motion sickness!! I think we decided we would pay $60FJD to get a taxi back!!!

We finally arrived in Lotouka and we met Sefo’s relative, S, out the front of the post office. S took us to the ‘club’ which is apparently where lots of Aussies and New Zealanders hang out. He used to work next door and is a member, although doesn’t go there very often since he retired a few years ago. There was only a few other people there but we sat and had a drink and a chat. S has a mother from Wallis and he grew up there and speaks the local language– his father was English. S married a Fijian woman and has lived in Fiji for a long time.

After our drink we went for a walk through the town – it’s a reasonable sized town with lots of shops and even more cars. What was surprising was how dirty and smoggy it was. It was much worse than Nadi, which is apparently a bigger city! Sefo and I both felt like we had smoked a pack of ciggies each after walking around for about half an hour and we were dying (!!) for some fresh air! We went to find something to eat, but it was about 4pm, and most places close between 4 and 6.30!! S dragged us from street to street insistent that he find somewhere where we could have something to eat – in the end we found somewhere open in what resembled a food court! It was terrible but S being the lovely host that he was kept getting us more and more food and encouraging us to eat!!

Eventually we finished and we took a taxi ride to his place. He negotiated for the taxi to come back at 6pm and collect us – for $28FJD (‘don’t pay him $30’ he said- we would have paid more if it meant not getting the bus back!!) S has a lovely home which is elevated over the town, and therefore has some clean air!! His garden is beautiful with many different fruit tree – mandarin, banana, coconut, papaya and more! We had a nice rest and more of a chat before the taxi came to pick us up.

When we got into the car, the taxi driver mumbled something about his mobile phone – I thought he said would we mind if he talked on it- we said go ahead! He actually asked us if we would mind if we went and got his mobile phone from his house!! So there we were, him asking if we wanted anything while he went inside, and we sat - parked in a taxi- while he ran inside to get his phone!! It was a nice little detour, although a little too dark to make the most of taking the scenic route!! It took 30 minutes to get back to the hotel in Denarau and we were much more comfortable than we were in the bus!! I paid the taxi driver $28FJD as I felt I would be cheating S if I didn’t!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I made it to Fiji!!

My flight was eventful! B and M dropped me at the airport (at 5am so good effort from her!!) and it was a Qantas flight to Sydney. When I was checking in she said my baggage was over weight and i said i know-thatd why i paid for the extra! She said i paid jetstar (who I got the whole flight through) and not Qantas (who are carrying the Jetstar passengers!)! But luckily she checked me in and i wasnt charged any extra for the luggage - there would have been trouble if i was - considering the dramas i'd had getting it down to 26kg in the first place!! but it was all ok! phew!!
I arrived in Sydney and raced to the bus which would take me to the international airport and as i was getting my new boarding pass from the Jetstar terminal (my luggage was checked all the way through but had to get a new boarding pass because it was a jetstar flight) she asked where my ticket back to aust was. I explained that I was going from Fiji to Wallis (and my ticket was in my checked luggage!!). She said that she needed proof of this before she could give me a boarding pass. I had to race to the free internet in order to show her the email for the aircalin flight to wallis. She came and saw this, but because it was only a return flight to Fiji it didnt matter - I needed to prove that I had a ticket to return to Australia! I had no idea! I thought so long as the country that you were entering, knew you were going on to somewhere else, it would be fine. Apparently not. The Jetstar lady was very nice, and she said she couldn't give me a boarding pass unless i bought a ticket from Fiji back to Sydney. So, as it appeared to be the only way I was gonig to get onto the flight to see Sefo, I had to pay $500 to buy a one way ticket!! I wasnt silly, although I spent much more than the ticket is actually worth, I did purchase a jetstar fully flexible ticket that i can get my money back on which is good-considering i dont know the exact date that I am going to be returning to Australia! But so much hassle-and so much stress as all this had to be sorted in about 10 minutes to ensure that I made my flight! She then had to give me an express card so i could get to the gate in time to board! I raced through. I had seconds to choose a few mags-which i did without even looking at them, bought the first few bottles of sparkling i came across! and arrived as everyone was boarding. I was very sweaty and smelly...but i got there!

Then on the plane, it was delayed -the air hostess came and talked to me on the plane - she wanted to see my baggage sticker, which was all ok - luckily i hadnt lost it! Then came the announcement saying the plane was delayed sorting out baggage! I can only assume - considering my day so far - that the 'misplaced' baggage was mine!
There was a positive - the delay mean that I only had to wait about 10 minutes for Sefo at Fiji! I stood waiting directly out of the gate - I could see on the arrivals screen that his plane had landed. Every pair of shoes i could see come towards me (the glass was frosted to the feet!) i examined to see if they were his - any that were similar my heart rose to my chest and a tear sprung to my eye!! And then it was him!! I ran over to him and through myself into his arms for a hug! And there was nothing i could do to stop the tears!

The Radisson Hotel is nice -and its hot, although Sefo doesnt think that it is, which is a bit of a worry!! Its so great to be with him again. And being in Fiji means that i can pretend its just a holiday for a little bit longer!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The First Visit

When Sefo and I went to Wallis in January, I stayed for 2 weeks. I then left to return to Australia for a while, and Sefo stayed to find a job.
These 2 weeks were full of ups and downs! Let me share a few to hopefully paint a bit of a picture of this relatively unknown place...

In Wallis they have beautiful fresh flowers and the ladies make up wreaths which they wear around their necks to give them a nice perfume. Men and women both enjoy wearing them. They are given as gifts and if you arrive at the airport you are sure to be given a few! When we arrived at the airport Sefo's mother picked us up and gave us a few of these wreaths to wear around our necks. They smell lovely,but their smell is also very strong. Sefos mother is excellent at making them (and uses the most beautiful flowers from her own garden).

The country is Catholic. All of the locals are Catholic and worship to the Virgin Mary. There are beautiful statues all around and church is a big part of their culture. Before leaving Australia I asked Sefo if there were any particular clothes that I needed to wear to church, as I knew it was tropical I was taking all of my summer clothes. I had been to church with Sefo in Australia and knew that everyone here wears anything that they feel comfortable in. Sefo said no. I should know by now that boys dont really think a lot about clothing!! Unfortunately for me when it was time to go to church I put on a pretty singlet top. His mother saw it and asked (via Sefo as we dont speak the same language) if i had anything more suitable. Sefo asked me to show her all of my tops that might be suitable. In a procession that followed I held up each of my tops and his mother shook her head at each one!! In the end we settled on the original one I was wearing, despite it exposing my shoulders. As we were leaving the house, Sefo's dad looked at me and said something which I couldnt understand but which sounded quite brash. I asked Sefo to translate and he said that his dad was just wondering if I had anything more suitable to wear. After the whole debarcle of trying settle on a top which got his mothers approval, I really couldnt take, what I perceived to be, critisism.

Im a fairly sensitive person and his fathers comments, combined with me feeling like I was letting Sefo and his the family down (despite not really knowing any better!) bought me to tears. I was so embarrassed, but I really dont know how to stop crying once I had started. Sefo didnt seem to think my top was a very big deal and tried to reassure me that it was fine, but it was just a little bit too much for me! I had a short drive to the church to compose myself before I knew I was going to be introduced to a lot of locals (and extended family), and now knowing that I was not suitably dressed. What a disaster. We got to church, and I was the only white person there which made people look at me even more (and probably notice my clothing, although in retrospect maybe looking different meant I might get away with wearing different clothes!) Im not sure where the French people go, or if they dont attend church.

Every week at Church Sefo's father helps the priest with the service so his mother, Sefo and I sat up the front, with our handheld fans while I watched all the other locals arrive. They were all wearing big tops (mostly white) which looked lovely on them, and they wore anything on the bottom, many bare feet or in thongs. It was so hot inside. I fanned and fanned. We stood, sat, knelt. There were prayers and there was singing and guitar playing and it really was lovely. Until everything started going fuzzy. It was so hot and the smell of the flowers around my neck were making me feel hot and itchy. I knew I was going to faint if I didnt sit down. I whispered to Sefo, asking if I could sit. He said no. I said I was going to faint. He took one look at me and said I should sit down. Apparently his mother later said she thought I was being lazy! When Sefo explained to her that I was going to faint she was very understanding. My gorgeous fiance said that part of him wished I did faint because then he could have played the hero and carried me outside! I thought I'd had enough attention paid to me already!!

Kareoke is a popular Saturday night pastime!
Sefos friends, a married couple with 2 lovely boys, have a friend who comes to their house with his amazing Kareoke set up! It is set up outside and they put a big projector screen against the house, with fancy computers and massive speakers! They have 3 microphones and some really daggy 70s and 80s music!! The music is a mix of English and French songs, and although they dont speak English they certainly know all of the words! It was funny as they would give me the microphone every time an English song came on, but because the music was so old I really didnt know many of the words! They would all be singing along while I would be reading but have no idea of the tune! The only one I really knew was Kylies 'Locomotion'! They set up a table outside and cooked up a nice BBQ -the boys all sat at one end and the girls at the other. I went to chat and sit with Sefo for a while - until he pointed out that I should rejoin the girls and they dont tend to mix it up there!! I think it might be a chance for them to have a girls night and a boys night - but all together!!

They have supermarkets in Wallis with lots of different food, just not many different brands of hte same foods. The cost of living is quite expensive though so most families have access to a plantation where they grow their own food. Sefo's family have a plantation where they grow taro, yam, breadfruit, pineapples, bananas. There are coconut palms everywhere and mangoes also in his backyard! Often the bird get the fruit, especially the pineapples but the fresh fruit is amazing! The starchy vegetables are something that taste really different for me, and I'm hoping that I will get used to it.

Due to the French influence they have lots of bread - baguettes, pane chocolate, croissants! Yum! They also eat lots of pork, chicken and rice.
On Sundays (church is Saturdays afternoon usually), Sefo's family normally makes an Umu, which is where they cook food underground, wrapped in banana leaves. They cooked food in coconut milk, which they make themselves and often cook a whole piglet. Cooking the food this way adds a strange smokey taste - something else to get used to!

The island is tropical - a bit like Queensland hinterland. WIth palms, green long grasses and blue skies- until they turn grey with an afternoon storm! Its much hotter than Fiji/Cairns, and probably more like Darwin (although I've never been there). There is one set of lights and one roundabout. There are no road signs, but most of the roads are paved. But beware when driving (on the right hand side of the road!) of pigs! There are not many police but there are also not many cars. People drive all the time, there arent many walking or riding bikes, probably due to the weather. The main island has beaches, but not particularly beautiful ones. Sefo said that the people have used a lot of the sand for making concrete -to the detriment of the beaches. But its only a 10 minutes boat ride away to some smaller islands. And these really are a tropical paradise. White sand, blue/green clear water. The best snorkelling I have ever seen.

Sefo and I went and camped on one of these islands for 2 nights. His grandmother had built a hut there, so they keep chairs, have a table and have rigged up some deep freezers to catch rain water so after a day in the water you can have a wash to get rid of the salty water. We made fire to cook a BBQ (the fish Sefo had caught spearfishing). We lugged a tent from Australia and plan to do quite a bit of camping when I move there - waking up to the water lapping at the sand a few metres away is just beautiful. We spent the days snorkelling - cliffs of coral and the most amazing tropical fish. Sefo has a spear and he sinks to the bottom, holding his breathe and waits for the fish to come. Then...POW,,,we have lunch/dinner! Its amazing to watch him underneath me holding his breathe, silent and waiting. A real hunter! I cant wait to get back to the little island and do some more camping with Sefo.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Wallis Island. Yep - I'd never heard of it either. That was until I met the man of my dreams. Sefo came from Wallis Island to Australia to study and because of this good sense to explore the land down under, it was possible for us to meet.

Now I'm going to live there. For 4 and a half months. Wonderful...Fanstic...How exciting....yep -everyone who I've told have said those words. And it is exciting. It is going to be an adventure. But its going to be a tough one.

I went to Wallis Island in January with Sefo - we stopped via Fiji for a week and lazed about on an island resort having a wonderful time. We found a place for our wedding in August (the Sofitel) and then headed to Wallis Island. Sefo was returning home to live for approximately 2 years. The visa he had while is Australia stipulated that he must leave Australia for 2 years. So he was returning home to find work. I was coming for a 2 weeks holiday to see the place and then I would return to Australia to work for a few months before I came back to Wallis to live with Sefo. Someone had to be employed -we have no money and a wedding to pay for!!

Sefo had told be bits and pieces about Wallis, although I hadn't seen many photos - but what I saw when I got there was bits of what I expected and pieces that I had no idea about!

For some reason Sefo found that it wasn't necessary to tell me that there was no hot water! Im no princess by any stretch but I do enjoy some water water in my shower - no matter how hot the destination is!!

Wallis is a tropical island - its French goverened (a bit like new caledonia -which most people have heard of!). They have lots of French come over and get paid a lot of money to work in the government jobs. Because of the French heritage they dont speak English there (and most dont really care to). Which is fine. Im a well travelled person and I dont expect to go to a foreign country and have the locals speak my language - I want to experience the culture as it is. But its still a shock when noone speaks any English!! Sefo had warned me about that and for the last year I had been attending French classes - first with a company and then with a small group. it was coming along ok and I had learnt the basics. So long as people spoke really slowly to me!! The only downfall of this committement to French is that the people of Wallis Island speak their own language - Wallisian. They all speak French, so would speak French to me (apart from Sefo's father who only wants to speak Wallisian) and then turn to each other and speak their native tongue. So my French wasnt going to improve as I wasnt being immersed in it as i had originally thought I would. So my plan when i return is to learn the local language (a bit like maori/tongan/samoan -with lots of F's, K's and vowels). Sefo's parents are retired so hopefully while Sefo is at work they can help me learn. fingers crossed anyway!