Fiji – Fundraising after Cyclone Winston

We are soon jetting off to Fiji. Some of you might have heard about the devastating Cyclone Winston which hit the islands in February.

Hearing about the damage and deaths that the cyclone caused the Fijians, we really felt like we wanted to do something to help.

We have managed the get in contact with a primary school on the remote island of Vanua Balavu that has been affected by the storm. We are going to volunteer there for 2 months to help the school recover.

The school lost many supplies in the cyclone and we have set-up a fundraising campaign in order to try to replace some of the items lost, things such as exercise books, rugby balls and art supplies.

Please donate to our campaign here if you can and/or share it with your friends to spread the word. We would be very grateful for your help.

At the moment, we are unsure if there will be much, if any, internet during our 3 months in Fiji. Therefore, I may not be able to keep the blog updated. However, I will definitely be documenting our experiences, ready to post when possible.

Thank you for your support.

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Sydney

Sydney is our last stop in Australia. It’s sunny, bustling and green. We met up with my brother Tom and his girlfriend Harriet. We spent time around the touristy harbour, seeing all the well-known sights and getting the ferry over to Manly Beach. We also watched a Rugby League game, Bulldogs vs. Rabbitohs!

My brother and I were re-visiting Sydney as we had come here as a family 20 years ago! I got my mum to dig out this old photo for us to re-create. Neither of us remember the holiday much so it was good to make new memories.

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Now my wrist is almost back to full strength I’ve had my camera back out to take some lovely holiday snaps. Celebrations were aplenty as we had a birthday brunch for Harriet on Easter weekend and Joseff and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary a few days after.

It’s been a relaxing, easy break in Australia and we’ve really enjoyed the chill vibe and discovering this country’s past.

Now we’re ready for the next adventure.

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Panoramas of Jervis Bay

The best place to recover is by the sea, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the few days we’ve been staying at Currarong. We’ve spent our time visiting the numerous white beaches of Jervis Bay. Dodging the autumnal showers, we drove around enjoying the views and picnic spots. The beaches were scattered with beautiful, big shells and the dry, white sand would squeak beneath your feet! The ginormous pelicans were definitely a highlight!

We enjoyed eating fresh fish and chips and also discovering kiwi berries in the supermarket!

Now typing with two hands, my wrist is progressing back to normal each day. However, I still haven’t been able to hold my big camera without pain. So, we’ve been making the most of the spectacular bays by taking these panoramas on my iPhone:

Arriving at Currarong after the drive down from the Blue Mountains, which included going along Megalong Road and down and up Kangaroo Valley!

A cloudy walk along Callala Beach on our first full day.

Golden Sunset at Currarong.

Good picnic spot.

Joseff out on the rocks.

Stream on Currarong.

Rainbow Sunset Panorama fun!

Our last day, spent on Hyams Beach.

Melbourne

I don’t think we could have arrived somewhere more different to Kerala than Melbourne. We stayed in the suburbs of Elwood where everything was pristinely clean, modern and not broken. The roads were flat and straight, with trees that have been cut to grow either side of the telegraph poles and cables. The modernist design of the houses continued into the sky-scraper city centre on the horizon, which we reached via tram. We found Melbourne to be multicultural, arty and chique with a pretty chill vibe.

Something that wasn’t so chill was that, on our first day, the pavement tripped me up. I managed to attain a badly sprained wrist and have ended up with my left arm in a sling. You’d be really surprised at how many things you need two hands for. This made me super sad because 1- it hurt and 2- (more importantly) I haven’t been able to use my camera. Also, I’m about 100 times slower at typing. Due to these factors, this post may be a little subpar, sorry.

Anyway, something that definitely wasn’t subpar was Melbourne. We enjoyed; a rugby match, late night possum sightings, beaches, eating meat, shopping, moomba festival, weird bird spotting, milkshakes and tap water. Here are some iPhone photos from the few days that we spent here.

Little Things – Goodbye Kerala

Small observations about Kerala. Some good, some bad, all of them make this region the wonderfully unique place that it is;

-The crescent moon, rather than standing up straight, lies on its back so that it looks like a smile in the night sky.

-Keralites love flags, especially communist ones.

-Rooms are fitted with large panels of around 10 electric switches. Some do things, some don’t, take your guess.

-Signs, notices and information on tuk-tuks and trucks are colourfully hand-painted. The calligraphy is either beautiful and swooping or neatly stencilled.

-The Malayalam word for ‘Yes’ is pronounced a’t’e. The sound ‘aa’ is often used as an abbreviation. This is a really convenient and easy replacement for ‘yeah’.

-It’s really common for all shops in one town to sell exactly the same things, over and over.

-The pineapples are so juicy and tasty. So much better than the fruit back home.

-A power cut can strike anytime, anywhere, usually about thrice a week.

-There is absolutely no system in place for getting rid of waste. Seeing as, until fairly recently, all of their waste was organic, there is no taboo surrounding littering. The only way people deal with rubbish is to burn it/hide it in a bush.

-Almost all of our tuk-tuk drivers were so helpful and would go out of their way to make sure we were dropped off in the right place and were completely safe. This ties in with the general helpfulness, kindness and humanity towards others.

And now, a slightly bigger observation;

-For the people of Kerala what’s most important is how you feel. To our highly-strung Western brains this can be alarming, it’s so inefficient! But, they don’t mind, it’s more important to focus on your feelings than the pressures of work or time. Stop and have a chat for an hour even if you’re running late. It takes you all day to send one email due to power cuts, oh well. The train is 5 hours late, no problem. The fact is that, in the majority of these cases, no real damage is done; it’s not the end of the world. And isn’t it nicer to be in a good mood? This has made us feel a little ashamed of ourselves at points, I could easily get irritated at a train being 10 minutes late. It’s all about balance at the end of the day, perhaps India is a little too far one way, but there’s no doubt in my mind that our society is very much too far in the other direction.

In short, it’s been A LOT. Cultural, historical and personal realisations and experiences have made for a heady mix of emotions and thoughts. It’s been a beautiful, eye-opening, delicious, sweaty, exciting, new, learning experience.

We’ve loved it, we’ve loved it, we’ve loved it.