After a year of living in Fiji without returning to Australia we were definitely excited to be finally heading ‘home’ for a quick holiday. We had so many things were excited to see and do again, catch up with family and friends obviously, but then there were the strange things you miss when you live overseas. Simple things, basic things we’d taken for granted when we lived in Australia. The amount of variety at the shops, the number of shops, self-serve checkouts, good roads, mostly good drivers and just efficient systems in general.
Needless to say I acted like a small child when we arrived and when we were going through customs, the fact that it was a purely automated system, for e-passports, that worked and saved us so much time, blew my tiny Fiji adapted mind. Suffice to say J has never been more embarrassed to be with me than at that moment!
Despite all of our positive rose-tinted glasses memories of Australia and everything we missed there were some things that we struggled to readjust to and had never noticed before. I was so excited to go shopping and buy things that you just can’t get in Fiji like Butter Menthols and practically 90% of items that you find at an Australian pharmacy. Pharmacies in Fiji are essentially a tiny shop to get your prescription filled with a small selection of over the counter drugs. I was so overwhelmed walking through an Australian pharmacy it was actually a smidge terrifying. The size, the lights (so bright!) and the number of products and brands was verging on ridiculous in my mind.
We found going 110km/h or 100km/h quite strange, if we didn’t set the car to cruise control we would usually find ourselves putting along quite comfortably at 90km/h. Which to be fair is faster than we’re legally allowed to drive in Fiji but must have driven those around us nuts. Not to mention it made us felt Fijian just bumbling along at less than the speed limit oblivious to any form of time demands.
That’s not to say that we didn’t have an amazing time being back and feeling like we were home again, but as I’m sure happens to everyone who lives in a different culture, you adapt to your surrounding without noticing sometimes. Now that we are back in Suva we have found it difficult at times to adjust to the Fijian way of living. We’re trying to remember that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and despite the frustrations of everyday living we need to enjoy the benefits that come with living on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.