Part Two: No

Before you read this post, check out Part One: Yes.

The next day, there was an unexpected trip to a private island. It was rather humid that morning and afternoon, and we had pretty limited access to fresh water. Everyone was anticipating this brief respite from the village to enjoy a few cold drinks and snacks, and a new setting. We gathered our bags, towels, and money and headed to the truck for a short
drive through the lush green mountains down to the other side of the island. We boarded two small boats and I spotted the new territory from the distance.

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It was picturesque, everything that comes to your mind when you think about Fiji.

I walked off the boat into the shallow water and rocks, and I spotted a canopy with a table, hammock, and a few rocking chairs at the top of the hill. My friend Navmit climbed the steps with me, and we sat and talked about the village and ate Goldfish and Cheez-Its. Our friend Toushu joined us. We walked away for a bit to find the rest of the group, but as we were walking down a steep side of the mountain, I tripped. No injuries. Awesome.

I returned to the table and chairs at the top of the hill as everyone else scattered. By this time, the pizza was ready.

One more day in Naboutini. 

I was thinking about the end of the trip, when our plane would touch ground in Los Angeles. I grew increasingly sad as I watched people around me indulge themselves, not understanding why they were so happy.

I walked down to a bench overlooking the Pacific as soon as people cleared the way; I just wanted solitude, not solace. Salty tears rolled down my cheeks, and I implored God for answers.

What was the purpose of this trip?!

Why didn’t we stay in the village?  I want to go home to the village.

This is too nice, and I am uncomfortable with this privilege. I do not need a getaway right now. I can wait for pizza and Fiji Gold once we return to the big island.

God, am I just being a brat? But I feel like I don’t even deserve to be in Fiji right now!

I am not ready to go back to Fresno.

I am falling apart on this bench while everyone else is exploring the cliffs overseeing the Pacific Ocean, laughing and sitting by the pizza oven.

What is wrong with me? 

God, why am I here?

I was homesick. This place felt like an entirely different world even though we were just a few hours away.

I was familiar and comfortable with a certain kind of Fiji, but not with this paradise.

 I did not enjoy myself. I tried to go along with it, but I really had no desire to be with my friends down in the water, sitting on the hammock next to the professors, or listening to the owner of the island share his story.

I gave up on my say yes attitude and I said no to the present moment.

There were no immediate answers to my questions. I cannot blame my feelings or my experience on anyone or any one thing, but I have never felt such deep dissonance before.

As a perfectionist, I have a hard time letting myself off the hook when I don’t do something correctly or the way I had hoped to. Instead, I allow myself to be overcome by fear and frustration.

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My friend Celeste sent this picture to me when we arrived back home to the states. She said I looked peaceful, but she could not see the internal conflict until she came and sat beside me.

Continue to read Part Three: Peace.


3 thoughts on “Part Two: No

  1. Pingback: Part One: Yes | Erika Denise Castañon

  2. Pingback: Part Three: Peace | Erika Denise Castañon

  3. Touch

    Thank you Erika! Your words could not have hit the mark anymore accurately when we were on that remote island. I felt like we were cheating the system, that place wasn’t what we had gone to Fiji to achieve.


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