For days, even after the jet lag wore away, I sat in front of my computer and stared at a blank slate for the story that I had been meaning to write about.. Writer’s Block had no mercy.. But was this writer’s block?
No. It was something else.
How could I write about something so meaningful to me, something that had its claws wrapped around the contours of my heart? How could I capture those perfect words that should be free sailing through the skies of my memory… Yet I tried and I tried and BY GOD I tried again. Finally I am forced to throw down these imperfections that won’t even come close to what my minds eye continues to stare at boldly, unwavering, and ADDICTED.
Visiting the land of my ancestors in French Polynesia; My Beloved Tahiti.
Be advised. Compared to the reality of each moment written down, I felt ten fold. Maybe a hundred fold. Even the unwanted parts make me throw my head back in laughter. And it goes a little something like this:
I stepped off of the plane and immediately a wave of warm morning air hit me. 5:45AM ISLAND TIME. I inhaled a scent that would never exist in America. Or if it did, someone tell me where so that I could go after it. It was like the freshness of sea mingled with sweet Tiare, a white 7 petal blossom that only grows in the islands. There was also a hint of city population, diesel, the makings of mankind, and even that was overpowered by natural vegetation that I could make out on the mountains which surrounded me. Again, I took a deep breath and held on as long as my lungs could go pretending it would stay with me forever; my first breaths of Tahiti. Yet it wasn’t my first. I had been to Tahiti probably 15 times. I remember my mother pulled out my very first passport and being amazed that at 6 months old I had traveled to the place that some people spend their entire savings to go visit. It also amazed me that my 6 month old picture was just as bad as my 29 year old picture. But this time was different..
It had been five years since I had returned to the islands because of time wasted in Japan. I remember when I was in the land of the Rising Sun dreaming day and night of the land of real Magnificent Sun in Polynesia. yet it had been so long that it felt like a fairy tale. Years passed and things were being forgotten, faces started to blur, and the longing only grew. It rested inside of me like an animal and every once in a while when I heard a Taiko drum or saw a woman with beautiful long black hair the dreams of Vahines and the pounding of Pahus and Toeres would strike me from the inside, resonating like echoes from the past. Eventually I started to believe that I would never make it back to the Islands that had once felt like my home. I thought that I would never see her again… When I accepted that, sadness crept into my life that felt close to mourning.
Stepping off that plane changed everything. I had made it and never in all my life had I felt more alive, more FREE. When we made our way through customs some of my favorite people in the world were there waiting for us despite the early hours and heat. They put flower leis around my neck that made me smell far lovelier than my Mademoiselle Chanel ever could.
I was in TAHITI!! I HAD MADE IT BACK. No one could tell how happy I was to be back, no one knew how every single moment was being measure and dissected in my mind because I never EVER wanted to leave these memories behind. No, my darlings, I love you too much. We went to my auntie house which was just up the hill and most of my family and friends made their way home to give us some rest from the red eye flight. If only they knew that I had planned to sleep a bare minimum on this trip and instead LIVE WIDE AWAKE! Sleep would not bother me. So I went on a walk. Outside my aunties gates past the houses of my cousins, uncles, and distant relatives to a road that had a view of the Faa’a Airport where we had just come from, and beyond was the ocean where Tahiti’s sister island Moorea stood like a gem peering out of the sea. As a child I would always disappear from my family and come here to this spot. I would be gone for hours sitting on the side of the road and stare at the planes take off or watch the ferries push forward to Moorea’s port. I’d stay so long that day would turn to dark; My favorite time of all. The sun would set with a golden orange arc and a blanket of stars would glisten from above. The constellations seemed to be right there with you, all you had to do was reach out and pluck one from the sky. My diamonds. The airport lights would come on in a bright turquoise blue and even in the darkness I was reminded of the crystal clear lagoons that awaited me in the outer islands of Rangiroa, Fakarava, or Apataki. I never wanted to leave. But I was young and the wild dogs scared me as did my mother when she worried about me, so I always made my way back. Here I was 29 years old sitting at the same spot that I had come back to all throughout my life. Had I changed? Where had I been? And where was I going? Who cares, now was not the time for those questions. The answers would come only when they were ready. The sun was baking me and the humidity licked away at my skin, my paleness that hadn’t felt so much sunlight in the past 5 years combined. I was no longer a child who could disappear for hours and hours. There was no empty road for me to travel down. Slowly, feeling like every single step led to the direction of goodness, I made my way back to my Auntie and Uncle’s Fare that stood high at the City in the Sky.
Everything that followed was like a brilliant rush through silk rainbows. They spoiled me. Breakfast, lunches, dinners, and never-ending snacks. People wanted to meet, some for business and some for personal reason but every reacquaintance was paired with food. Food that had my eyes widen with lust and my stomach shrink back with apprehension, and it was all in different shades of variety. Chocolate moose served in a wine glass, Raw fish bathed in coconut milk, freshly squeezed lime over poisson crue, Fried banana, Avocados the size of melons, Tuna the color of a Geisha’s lips, Coconuts cracked open and sipped through fluorescence colored straws, Mahi Mahi hamburgers, Luscious grilled steak topped with a bed of fries, and lets not forget the baguettes and chocolate croissants. I ate like I hadn’t had food for a thousand years. But the odd thing about it…I wasn’t getting bigger. If anything I was changing shape but not becoming bigger. I felt better because the food I was inhaling left and right was REAL. Chemicals and additives neglected and un-heard of. So I ate and I ate, and when I couldn’t eat anymore, I simple ate some more.
Seeing these golden skinned locals was wonderful for my soul because a Tahitian spirit and mentality are not quite like what I deal with in America and no where near to what I had been accustomed to in Japan. Some Tahitians are overly generous, fire hearted, and at their core they have a goodness that I can only call innocence. Of course not everyone can be classified as such. What land doesn’t have its fair share of good and bad apples? For the record, I aim on surrounded myself with good people and on this trip I succeeded in that. Thank you for the guidance God.
Some memories still burn inside my mind, a flame that will never go out. I went to a secluded beach with my best friend Bene and while we were in the water it started raining so hard. Each time a drop hit me it was like a tiny bomb of happiness penetrated through my skin. The water was warm, the rain was warmer and here I was away from my electronics and city life. Away from my French school and my Event life. I was incomplete and yet completely full. Damn, it felt good to get away from the world and float in the waters of Tahiti not caring about a thing except being silly with your Bestfriend like we use to do when we were 14.
And then there was the time I went to the waterfalls. I danced among the eels in the shallow waters and the tourist from America and France watched me, taking pictures. And what a picture I must have been! ohh but it felt good to let my soul dance. When I was finished I walked up to the water fall and leaned against the wall of the cliff while everything poured down on me. My Pareo was soaked, but my spirit was alive. Awakening doesn’t quite explain it. But underneath that waterfall I could feel the layers of my past pains peel away. Layer by layer, tears to hurt. I walked away with a smile on my face and a strength guiding my every step.
Where am I going? Finally it was time for me to say goodbye to my loved ones and the life that was so different from the life I would be thrown back into. I didn’t cry when I said goodbye because I finally found an answer to some of my questions. Where was I going in life? Getting on a jet plane back to the states. But after that? Oh, baby I’ll be back.
I will be back. Xoxox