Neverland

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 1.25.17 PMWhen I was a younger kid, I had this dream that I flew off to Neverland on the Jolly Roger. I was a lost girl and with my friends, I was captured by Captain Hook and whisked away to a magical land. There were dark wet caves and hideaway hollows and cool rushing waterfalls and flowers of every size and color and shape. There were bright little crabs that crawled atop boulders and birds with vibrantly colored songs in their hearts. The jungles were dense and green and humid and we all wore bandanas on our brows.

When I dreamed all of this, I thought well of my imagination for dreaming up something so out of this world, so far from reality, so very magical. But I never imagined that reality could one day be the equal to my childlike hopes. 

December 27, 2015

I had been excited to see the Bouma waterfalls since I arrived in Taveuni and finally, the time had come. We travelled by ship, or rather, by Toyota Hilux, crammed in like sardines and we made our trip to the other side of the island. The air started smelling more sweet than hot and everything became slightly damp. We landed by a small house where we paid our fee to walk to the waterfalls and found 10 or so quarter sized black frogs on our way across the street to the entrance. Our initial walk was a fine grassy path lined with beautiful trees. Bamboo, ginger, ferns, coconut. There were beautiful flowers along the way too like the hanging red ginger flower, and a white flower that caught my eye that was a sort of cross between a rose and a gardenia.

We heard the sounds of rushing water and saw a wet bridge up ahead surrounded by dense green and brown forest. It was when I heard the birds start to sing as they swooped in and out of the high trees that I realized upon which dream I had stumbled. The waterfall was powerful. We climbed over rocks and boulders to get to a hollow behind the fall. It was majestic, just watching the water pound into the pool and cool us with wet whispers. I had to close my eyes for a moment just to attempt to know and understand the moment.

Then as any good lost boy or girl does, I jumped into the pool beside the waterfall. It was thrilling enough, but I immediately had to struggle against the strength of the water as it pushed me away from the fall and toward the rocks. Then again as any good lost boy or girl does after finally getting out of the water once again, I jumped into the pool a second time, because sometimes it’s fun to just play for a while in Neverland, when you’re not being chased by pirates.

After our fun, we began our muddy hike up to see the second of the waterfalls. But instead of a hike, it was really a treasure hunt. About every 10 steps or so, a frog would jump out of our way on the path and the occasional purple crab guarded her home. We were surrounded by trees I’ve never seen before, nutmeg, passionfruit, wild sandalwood, bamboo, banana more ferns (some whose leaves grew right side up and some whose leaves grew upside down). I found a large two-toned leaf, vibrant red on one side and dark maroon on the other, perfectly divided along the stem vein.

We finally came through to the second waterfall, that fed into the first one. It was lined with mossy boulders and hanging above where the water fell down over the cliff, was a sturdy looking branch that waved to me to come and sit down. I started climbing over the mossy boulders around the cool pool until I came over the largest one to find at least 20 purple crabs, standing ready to karate chop me if I came any farther. It halted my excited tracks. I just shook my head and laughed with such joy over this crazy and unexpected life.

It was an adventurous and overwhelming day. I couldn’t get home fast enough to write it all down, every detail of what I saw and experienced and I couldn’t wait to share it with you my dear adventurous Reader.

Until the next adventure,

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Neverland

Magic

Sometimes, life is filled with magic.

November 30, 2015 My first Day in Taveuni

I arrived at Taveuni airport a little before 9 in the morning. I came with 7 other passengers on a small jet plane that shook a bit as we flew across the islands. It was so loud, that talking to any of the other passengers would have been futile. There were three couples, from the first row to the third and then me and an Australian surf bum, wearing an iconic Indiana Jones hat and covered in a thin layer of dirt from traveling. The scenery below us was simply ridiculous, with the South Pacific and all her coral and scattered islands.

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After an hour, we landed pretty smoothly at the airport, which was really more of a grouping of benches beneath a brightly painted overhang. One of the Fijians asked if I was Emilie and he told me that JK would arrive soon. I only waited about 10 minutes before the rugged Toyota Hilux pulled up. The kids jumped out to greet me with hugs and we drove back around the island to the house.

As we pulled into the driveway, I heard singing and it didn’t register that the song was for me until I stepped out of the truck and suddenly had a Leia around my neck. The Fijian staff sang for me and then the kids sang for me. When I walked inside, I was handed a coconut with a straw sticking out of the top. It was overwhelming. People who didn’t even know me were so happy that I was finally here.

Later, we swung on the rope swing and walked down to see the goats hanging out by the coconut trees. We picked mangoes on our way down to the main road and ate them.

I slept really well in my new bed that faces the ocean to the west.

December 4, 2015

We went paddle boarding today at my family’s rocky beach. I carried the board down to the beach on my head and we had to slip it through some small spaces between trees at certain points. We made it to the shore and I found a new love on that board. You wouldn’t believe the view that I saw as I paddled through the deep clear blue waters and watched the scenery of islands pass by. Natalie rode on the front for a little bit and then Daniel too until he wanted to tip over. We fell off and he immediately started freaking out afraid of sea snakes or stingrays. haha. When we finished, we brought the paddle board in and spent the afternoon sun on building sand volcanoes and castles.

We started getting tired right as we heard a familiar buzzing sound, only to look up and see JK’s drone buzzing around the beach. We practically ran up the hill to the truck and picked some ripe pineapples on our way. The kids showed me the Qui Qui plant that fakes its death if you step on it or touch it. It literally withers right in front of your eyes until it feels safe again. If you touch it with your bare feet though, you get a thorn in your foot. We rode back up the hill to the house in the bed of the truck with the boards and fruit and mosquitoes.

We ate Mahi Mahi for dinner with fresh greens from the garden and taro chips that make your throat close if you eat too many. So naturally, I ate a few too many.

Since it was Friday, we practically fell asleep to Sherman and Mr. Peabody and Daniel kicked me in the face a few times as he fell asleep on the couch. When we woke up the next morning, Kennon asked me during our breakfast of crepes and lychee juice, “What did we watch last night?”

And sometimes life isn’t filled with magic. I have roughly 20 mosquito bites all over my body…21. And a terrible ant bite.

(I tried uploading photos but the Internet won’t allow it, so check out my instagram @emmbot)

Magic