Moving to a new country & setting up shop. Simple, right?
We suspect there’s a lot involved but that’s ok. We are talking FIJI afterall!
Welcome guest blogger Nadine Gray. We are so excited to have the opportunity to meet so many amazing travelers, many of which, we connect with online. Nadine is a 20-something traveler, feeling her way around the globe. But don’t let her age fool you, she’s done a lot of living and traveling in her years on this planet. When she decided to stay put for a bit in Fiji, we wondered about her experience setting up home there. As we’ve noticed, every country has it’s idiosyncrasies and sometimes it’s a little difficult to get used to.
Please enjoy this article as this spunky 20 year old shares her experiences of becoming a ‘Fiji housewife’.
By Guest blogger Nadine Gray of Travel with Papino
Well if theres one way to really experience a country, it’s to rent a home, live with the locals and immerse yourself in the local way of life. I can now say I have truly done that once again, in the beautiful paradise island of Fiji!
But there was a learning curve.
Just after arriving I rented a house in a local area in Nadi, a place I fell in love with. Renting here is not like in Austraila, where we hire a real estate agent or search the daily classifieds. Instead, I found a house that appears to be empty and asked the local taxi driver who owns it. Nine times out of ten, he usually knows. Then you then ask the neighbours how to find the owners and generally they will happily give you a phone number. In my case, I was invited into their home, given a cup of tea, as they made a call to the owners directly for us.
And that’s all it took!
Unlike Australia, there is no contract. There is no inspection… You hand over the first months rent, move in and a few days later and we were in our new home. Ah, but there were preparations. It took days of scrubbing the house clean before I could begin my new life as “the Fijian housewife.”
Washing, washing, washing, washing…
In Fiji, I find my domestic tendencies kicking in. My day starts early with hand scrubbing my clothes in the back sink to that get them on the line before the expected afternoon shower. I spend a good part of the day actually praying that it won’t rain so for once, my clothes will actually dry . Generally no such luck. My clothes have been so abused by the Fiji downpour that they don’t even resemble dry for days at a time and end up smelling moldy. And guess what’s on tomorrow’s schedule? Re-washing yesterdays clothes in hopes they’ll dry today !
Such is the life of a Fijian Housewife.
Can we talk sweeping????
Dirt. I don’t know what it is about Fiji, but the houses end up with so much grit on the floor I end up sweeping it ten times a day…. with a straw broom! I feel like I am actually just moving the dirt around from one place to another. Probably because I am.
We’ve gotta eat! But first, I catch a ride into town on the worlds oldest bus. Not kidding. This bus no glass on its windows and has the longest gear stick I’ve ever seen. This is local transportation, and it’s the cheapest bus fare I’ve ever experienced.
Did I mention, I do this daily.
Everyone does this daily.
This is one of the daily chores in Nadi. Why? Well the bread only stays fresh for a day because of the moisture, the vegetables not much longer and I always realize I’m missing an ingredient essential to a meal, which happens often!
Adjusting to living in a different country has it’s challenges, especially when I wander the aisles of the supermarket drooling over the Australian imported items that are 3 times the price I would normally pay at home. Still, they are my comfort foods and they have a hold on me. Most of the time, I refuse to fork out that kind of money for an imported jar of vegemite. But sometimes I do.
A small jar of vegemite set me back around $10…
Last time I did, rushed home from the market with my guarded treasure, dreaming of my well deserved vegemite sandwich. Wouldn’t you know it? My lovely boyfriend dropped the jar and smashed it to pieces! (But I forgave him.)
We haven’t bought all of the essensials yet and the house certainly didn’t come well stocked.
Come dinner time, we lay out our red tablecloth… no, not on the table, but on the mat on the floor, where we all sit around and eat… usually with the wrong utensils! Eating spaghetti with a teaspoon is not so easy when you’re hunched over your bowl on the floor!
But, don’t get me wrong… I’m not complaining. I love every aspect of my new life! I love the feeling of accomplishment when I have scrubbed out stains on my denim shorts, the feeling of riding the bus with the locals instead of taking a taxi & the “togetherness” of a family meal on the floor in our living room.
I love being a Fiji House wife and this life suits me just fine, right now.
Advice to anyone, especially in your 20s? Go out, explore the world, try new lifestyles on for size and enjoy the ride. Personally, I wouldn’t trade my life right now for the world!
Nadine Gray (aka Papino) left school at age 15 to follow her heart and explore the world! Since then she has travelled continuously to almost 30 countries across the globe, even working & living abroad and creating overseas businesses while still experiencing her only passion; to explore, experience & travel!