The Warwick Resort, Viti Levu, Fiji.

There are many resorts that dot the coast of Viti Levu. We stayed at the fabulous Warwick Resort at Korolevu, on the Coral Coast, where a family wedding was being held.

The amenities are beautiful and nothing is ever too much effort for the staff who work there, comprised mostly of Fijians from local villages. This is a valuable source of employment for them, but their willingness to welcome and host their visitors goes way beyond that. As ambassadors for their country and local communities, these people are among the best.

 

The central building of the resort is the epitome of island luxury. Dark timber contrasts with creamy white walls, accented by comfortable couches and armchairs. The building opens out onto the beach, capturing the refreshing breeze and providing a backdrop that is to die for.

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The beach is dotted with shaded lounges, and the coral reef that runs along the coast ensures that this beach is safe for swimming.

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Further along the beach, just beyond the boundary of the resort, are “shops” run by friendly villagers who sell sarongs and tee shirts, braid hair, do henna tattoos and paint nails, or give massages to folks staying at the resort.

The sunsets are glorious.

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Detroit.

This is my second visit to Detroit. 

On both occasions, I have had a wonderful visit and met some delightful people.  Everyone is so nice and welcoming here and, apparently, Australian accents are sexy. I’m good with that.

I honestly don’t know why TV shows and movies are so committed to portraying Detroit as such a bad place. Like any city, it has its poorer areas, and you can see a number of abandoned buildings and places that have slid gradually into dereliction. That’s not really a fair reflection of what Detroit is, though.

Detroit is a lively city. Downtown has some great restaurants and bars, a beautiful river walk by the Grand River, and streets lined by trees and gardens alongside the city buildings and construction sites. It’s a city which has obviously had its struggles, but it has fought its way back and is doing a fabulous job of reinventing itself as a 21st century city. 

Please don’t believe everything Hollywood or the television industry tells you, about Detroit or anywhere else. There are good people and bad people anywhere you go. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how nice this city and its people are. 

The answer to the question “How are you?”

People think I am so strong.
I’m not.

I’m trying to be patient and encouraging, but I am failing dismally.

I’m flawed and broken and frustrated, and I keep on going because I don’t know what else to do.
I’m so tired. I’m tired of pretending everything is ok when it’s clearly not. I’m tired of trying to stay positive when everything feels like it’s turning into seventeen kinds of crap on a daily basis.
It terrifies me that the doctors still don’t know what they are dealing with.
It scares me that my usually active husband is pale, sleeps all the time, and has fevers on a regular basis. He’s losing weight and not eating. He’s been poked and prodded, he’s had surgeries, he’s been on the receiving end of all sorts of tests, scans and needles.
I’m angry and resentful and impatient and scared and as miserable as hell, and there isn’t even anyone to blame.
It is what it is and there’s not a damned thing I can do about it.

And that’s all before I even start to deal with any physical pain I experience on any given day.

People tell me to let them know if there is anything I need, and I say I will, but I don’t. I’ve been conditioned from an early age to not ask for help, to not talk about money, to not express emotions that might make other people uncomfortable, to not show others our weaknesses, to soldier on and go extra mile after extra mile. As a rule, Christians are expected to help those in need rather than admitting to being needy in some way. Even the word needy makes me cringe. Nobody wants to be needy. Ugh.

People tell me to make sure I take time out for myself. Treat myself. Get pampered.
Sure.
That’s going to happen.
I’m totally going to go out and indulge myself while he’s lying in hospital, a shadow of his former self.
As if.

Others have expressed surprise that I am still staying here with him.
Really?
What else did they think I was going to do? What part of who I am have they so obliviously overlooked? Or do I actually give people the impression that I that much of a selfish cow?

And if I did go home, even for one night, they’d be the first to tell everyone how heartless and selfish I was to do that.

Oh, home.
I miss home.
I miss my housemate/bestie and I miss LMC, even if she does test my patience with incessant chatter sometimes.
I miss my dog and my cat.
I miss my own bed. I miss my comfy chair.
I miss my bathroom, and I really miss having my own laundry that doesn’t cost me $20 every time we need clean clothes.
I miss having my own space that I don’t have to pay for at a set rate per night.
I miss falling asleep without crying for an hour or two first.

I just want him to be healthy again so we can go home.

And to the person who suggested that I’m kind of lucky because I’m “getting an extra holiday”… Why don’t you try it?

Please, don’t ask me how I am. You probably won’t like the answer any more than I do.

New Mexico

New Mexico is beautiful.
It’s different to every other part of the USA that we have visited. There is a very strong Mexican and Native American influence on the culture and way of life.

The scenery is breathtaking. The colours of the desert soil and rocks change through the day.
The Sandia Mountains rise behind Albuquerque, creating a dramatic backdrop to the life of the people who love there. At sunset they turn a dramatic pinkish-red colour, for which they are named: “sandia” translates to “watermelon”.
We went up into the Sandias in the late afternoon and looked out over Albuquerque, the desert around it, and the volcanoes in the distance. We would have loved a chance to visit those lava fields, but our time was too limited.
As the city lights began to flick on and the dusk deepened, I could clearly see Route 66 passing right through town.

The people of New Mexico are very friendly and engaging. They love to stop and talk. They smile a lot. They love to be helpful and are very welcoming to visitors.

My first visit here has been very special. This place has touched me in quite a powerful and almost spiritual way, which I had not expected.
I am not sure whether I have fallen a little bit in love, or whether I’ve enjoyed a beautiful flirtation.
Either way, I am leaving with some delightful memories which I am sure will make me smile for many years to come.

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