The Calm Before the Storm

My cute Mama once sent me a beautiful little box engraved with the saying, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I certainly don’t feel like I’m about to run into a storm, but with all the craziness leading up to November 6th, I’m going to be prepared for anything.

In order to mentally prepare for the exciting days ahead, I’m turning to my go-to method of “going to my zen place.” Usually this consists of an early morning run and a drive to a beautiful spot, with a big body of water, where I can collect my thoughts. However, today I’m going to have to rely on my camera. Here are a few of my favorite “zen” places.

View of San Francisco Bay from Coit Tower.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marina District in San Francisco.

View of Port Denarau, Fiji.

And last, but certainly not least, the view looking south toward the city from Muir Beach Outlook.

Off to my zen place… have a great weekend everyone!

The Beautiful Sights of Fiji

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

One of the first things you see when you land in Nadi airport is the Mountain of the Sleeping Giant. You can see the outline of the Giant’s face, the mouth, the nose. It is quite an amazing sight.

After a few days of enjoying the Fijian culture and hiking through the jungle to see the caves previously used by local tribes in the 1800s, Jake and I decided to do a little driving tour of some of the local sights. We visited the town of Lautoka, went to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant to see all the beautiful orchids, and covered ourselves with mud at the mud pools and hot springs.

Our first stop was the town of Lautoka, where we visited the market. There were not many tourists here, so it gave us the opportunity to see what a normal day in the market in Fiji looks like. We saw the fruit and vegetable stands, the spice stands, and even the “fish room.” It was quite fascinating to see the giant room dedicated to the market. I don’t know if it operates every day at the same level, but there certainly were a lot of merchants there on a Friday morning!

Next, we drove to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, which sits at the base of the Mountain of the Sleeping Giant. In this garden, there are over 200 species of orchids. They are stunning. At every turn you see some new flower you never new existed, all with a backdrop that is positively breathtaking. We saw ponds, walking paths into the hills, and huge clusters of bamboo trees. There was also a little hut at the top of a rock staircase, which looked perfect for ceremonies and special gatherings. Below, a lawn surrounded by lush green and tropical beauties.

Upon finishing our enamoring stroll through the Garden, we continued on to the mud pools. To the people of Fiji, these pools are believed to have healing powers. The guide at the pools told us a story of a man in a wheelchair who was told he had no chance of walking again. He came to the pools in hopes of being healed. Sure enough, after sitting in the believed healing waters of the pools, he stood up, climbed out of the pools, and never used his wheelchair again. I do not know if it was the power of the water or the power of faith, but it was an inspiring story nonetheless. For us, it was a way to recharge after a few very busy days. I probably wouldn’t cover myself in mud again, but the hot springs were quite nice.

After returning from our day of exploring, we decided to take a walk on the beach. We found a little place by the water and had dinner on the sand. We watched the sunset, reflected on our day, and we continue to be in awe of the beauty and culture of this country. Fiji is such a magnificent place, you never know what natural beauty you may stumble upon next.

The Islands of Fiji: “Bula!”

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

My husband and I went to Fiji for our honeymoon in May 2010. It was an amazing experience. Not only is it a beautiful place to spend a relaxing holiday, but it is also a country filled with generosity, hospitality, and a commitment to family, friends, community, and mother nature. We stayed on Denarau Island, which is a resort-style community outside of Nadi town, on the west side of the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu. Denarau is more Westernized than I’d like to admit, but it is also a perfect jumping-off point for touring the main island and nearby island chains.

For our second trip, we knew we wanted to experience more of Fiji’s culture. See the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Visit one of the many traditional villages. Hike through the jungle. We were able to do all of those things, and still come up with a long list of things to do for our next trip. Visit the “big city” of Suva. Hike the Mt. of the Sleeping Giant. Visit the island where Castaway was filmed. Lots of things.

Every morning when you wake up in Fiji, you can’t help but walk out your door and smile at the world. The people take such pride in the land, they take care of each other, and every single person you see will greet with a cheerful, “Bula!” and a smile. “Bula” is a lot like “Aloha.” It means, “Hello,” “How are you,” and “Great to see you,” all in one simple word. I will miss hearing that word until the next time I am able to visit that magical place.