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  • Porita Fruean

THE REAL ISLAND WAY!

Words by Porita Fruean (she/her)


What comes to mind when I ask you, “What do you think of when you think of the Pacific Islands?”

Let me help you. I am sure you think of white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. But what you might not know is that behind these serene shores lies a treasure trove of humour, quirks, and downright hilarious traditions that make up the ‘Real Island Way’. So, let's dive in. I’ll introduce you to the humorous side of these paradisiacal lands. Let’s discover what sets the Pacific Islands apart from the rest of the world! 

We islanders have our own way of uncanny knack for turning every situation into laugh-out-loud moments. So prepare to chuckle your way through the hilarious world of the Pacific Islanders.

ISLAND TIME


Ah, Island Time, the mystical realm where clocks are just fancy decorations and schedules are as flexible as a yoga instructor. In this enchanted land, minutes turn into hours, hours into days. The phrase ‘I'll be there in five minutes’ translates to ’I’ll see you sometime this week, maybe’.


Let’s imagine what it’s like to make plans on Island Time for a moment... You set a meeting for 2 p.m, but when you arrive, the whole island is on siesta and your watch is broken. Islanders have mastered the art of  being fashionably late where being on time means showing up before sunset. We islanders laugh in the face of deadlines and give procrastination a new tropical twist.


On Island Time, you'll often hear phrases like ‘soon come’ or ‘Fiji time’ (which is essentially a polite way of saying ‘whenever’). Island Time lives within its own world where ‘rush hour’ is replaced by ‘leisurely saunter hour’—trust me, you're more likely to see a sloth racing a turtle than anyone in a hurry.


In the Outside World, we have to bend ourselves into becoming slaves to the clock, trying to cram as much as possible into every second. But on Island Time, each moment is savoured like a ripe mango, and there's always extra room for one more joke, one more song, and one more sunset. So, the next time you find yourself on Island Time, remember to take a deep breath, relax, and embrace the laughter that comes with living life in the slow lane.


THE ‘NO WORRIES’ PHILOSOPHY


In the Pacific, ‘No Worries’ has been transformed from a phrase and become a philosophy that Pacific Islanders live by. The ‘No Worries’ philosophy is a delightful glimpse into a world where stress takes a back seat, and life is lived with a perpetual grin. It's a way of life, an unwritten code that keeps all islanders consistently chilled out.


In a world where people's brows furrow over every little inconvenience, Pacific Islanders have a knack for finding humour and happiness in the most unexpected places. Whether it's a boat mishap, a sudden downpour on the beach, or a coconut falling from the sky (yes, it happens!), our response is almost always met with a carefree shrug and a chuckle, “It’s no worries, we’ll be all good.”


It's as if Islanders have unlocked the secret to eternal happiness—refusing to let life's curveballs disrupt their need for tranquillity. In the face of adversity, we exude a sense of calm and optimism, it's downright contagious. Islanders understand that life is a series of ebbs and flows, and fretting over every wave only leads to more unnecessary stress.


The ‘No Worries’ philosophy isn't an excuse for laziness; it's a reminder to be present and live in the moment, not to let life's hiccups dictate your mood or take away your happiness. So, the next time you're bogged down by the daily grind, take a page from the Pacific Islanders' book and remember: life is better when you don't sweat the small stuff, and sometimes, the best way to navigate the rough seas of life is with a sunny smile and a genuine ‘No worries, mate!’


FLIP-FLOPPING LIFE AWAY


On the sun-soaked Pacific islands, there's a fashion trend that's turning heads and tickling toes: it’s flip-flops every day! Yes, you read that right—Pacific Islanders have taken footwear to a whole new level of casual, and it's causing quite a splash.


While the rest of the world debates the merits of sneakers, sandals, and stilettos, our island-dwelling friends have declared, “Why bother?” We've embraced flip-flops with such fervour that even the fanciest of occasions call for these rubbery wonders.


Imagine attending a wedding ceremony with the groom in a crisp tuxedo and the bride in a stunning white gown, both sporting matching flip-flops bedazzled with seashells and palm fronds. It's a sight to behold! And let's not forget the hilarious pitter-patter of flip-flops echoing through the church as the bride walks down the aisle.


But it doesn't stop at weddings. Pacific Islanders wear flip-flops to job interviews, business meetings, and even diplomatic summits. It's become a symbol of their laid-back lifestyle, and they're proving that you can negotiate peace in a pair of thong sandals just as effectively as in a stuffy suit.


So, next time you're agonising over your shoe selection, take a leaf out of the Pacific Islanders' book and embrace the flip-flop revolution. Who needs high heels when you can have high laughs and high tides?


SUNDAY IS FOR CHURCH AND NAPS


Church in the islands carries a unique and deeply rooted significance, blending faith, culture, and profound connection to the natural world. The islands, with their breathtaking landscapes and close-knit communities, have nurtured a distinct religious experience that enriches the lives of all the island’s inhabitants.


On Sunday mornings, the resonant tolling of church bells beckons islanders from their homes, a harmonious call to gather in places of worship often adorned with vibrant tropical flowers and vibrant colours. These church buildings stand as architectural gems, reflecting a fusion of colonial, indigenous, and contemporary designs, each telling a story of our rich cultural heritage.


Islanders, dressed in their Sunday best, arrive at these places of worship not only to fulfil their religious duties, but also to foster a sense of unity within their communities. The church serves as a sanctuary for spiritual reflection, providing solace and guidance in the face of life's challenges. Hymns sung with passion and the soothing cadence of scripture readings create a unique melodic tapestry that resonated throughout the islands.


In island communities, the church is more than a religious institution; it's a cornerstone of social life. After the service, gatherings spill onto lush church grounds, where families and friends share meals, laughter, and stories. These communal moments reinforce the bonds that hold islanders together, celebrating the diversity of their traditions.


Yet, the islands offer more than spiritual sanctuary within their churches. Nature, with its awe-inspiring beauty, plays a profound role in religious life. Many churches are strategically situated to frame stunning vistas of the sea, mountains, or lush forests. Congregants often find spiritual connection in the serene landscapes that surround them, strengthening their faith as they contemplate the divine within the breathtaking natural world.


In the islands, church is more than a Sunday obligation; it's a vibrant mosaic of faith, culture, community, and appreciating nature. It stands as a testament to the enduring importance of spirituality in the lives of islanders, woven seamlessly into the beautiful and intricate tapestry of their daily existence.


In the hilarious world of the ‘Real Island Way’, our journey through the quirks and oddities of life on a deserted island has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. From coconut-powered Wi-Fi to hermit crab fashion shows, we've explored it all.


~


As we wrap up our adventure exploring the Real Island Way, it's clear that the Pasifika way is all about embracing the cheerful absurdity of it all. 


It's about finding joy in the simple pleasures, like sunbathing next to a palm tree with a quirky sense of humour. It's about discovering that your only companions are a bunch of chatty parrots who insist on critiquing your cooking skills.


In the end, the Real Island Way teaches us that laughter is the ultimate survival tool. It's the secret ingredient that turns a mundane coconut into a hilarious comedy prop and transforms a lonely night into a stand-up comedy show for the ages.


So, as we bid adieu to our imaginary island paradise, let's remember to take a piece of that Real Island Way with us wherever we go. Because when life gets tough, a good laugh and a dash of absurdity can make even the most challenging situations feel like a tropical getaway.

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