Let's talk about the differences!

15Aug2015


 Well, I think it's time to talk about the aspects that are making my Fiji experience so unique and fascinating, the reasons why I had travelled to the opposite side of the world. The things you only get to understand when you leave the hotel areas: the cultural differences.
 
 Of course, I don't claim to understand this amazing culture after such a short time, but people here are excited about explaining their customs if you're just a little curious and interested.
 
 • First and most importantly: Family. Okay. You may have to read this two times, it's really complicated ?. Families are huge, everybody has a ton of aunties, uncles and even more cousins. There are two kinds of cousins: If your cousin's mother and your mother are sisters, in Fiji then you are regarded as and raised like siblings. Same when your fathers are brothers. When your cousin's father and your mother are siblings, you are just "normal" cousins (tavarlays). To make it easier to understand for foreigners, they call the first kind of cousins "cousin-brothers and cousin-sisters".
 



 Tavarlays constantly make fun of each other, and because everybody has round about 100 tavarlays , life in the village seems to be one big joke. People are constantly laughing and screaming.
 Families care for each other. For every marriage, birthday or any big event you are expected to contribute in some way, as well as children (especially the boys) usually finance their families. That maybe doesn't sound like a big deal for us, but as families are so big, there is some event almost every week, which can turn out to be quite... let's say demanding. But in return, when you are the one to marry or whatever, you can be sure to get help from everybody.
 
 
 






 • Second: Fiji time.
 Yep. Fiji has its own time. And I am not talking about time zones. In one month here, I have hardly ever seen a Fijian walking in a hurry or running (except of when they play sports, of course ?). Fijians take their time, whatever they are doing. The buses, ships and vans do,too. If you miss the bus, well there will certainly be another one. If the bus is 45 minutes late, well, why bother about it? As long as you arrive... The relaxed and completely unstressed attitude is hard to understand for some of us western people who are used to get everywhere and do everything as fast as possible. But once you adapt to Fiji time, take a deep breath and leave the stress behind, you will understand why they say "no hurry, no worry" here. It's way easier to be happy like this. Still, I understand why this mentality is not really helpful for establishing a competitive and well working economy. There are also disadvantages in procrastination, which is definitely an important word in Fiji. Even in Fiji's most important sport, rugby, this gets obvious. There is always a notable change in the intensity of the game towards the end ?.
 



 
 
 To be continued... ?