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September 5th 2012
Published: September 6th 2012
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Fiji. My home away from home. Ok so my first trip there last year i was there a whole of 6 nights. But that is all it took for me to fall in love. I fell in love with the culture, the beautiful blue waters and greenery, and most of all, the people. I have been to Samoa once before and as much as i loved it, it didn't leave such an impact. I remember boarding the flight back to Australia with my two friends. As much as they loved their holiday, all they could talk about was how excited they were to get back home. Me on the other hand, i couldn't help but feel as though i shouldn't be leaving. I felt something, i don't know what, in the pit of my stomach as we were flying over Sydney. The closest feeling i could pin it to was almost a sense of disappointment. I dídn't want to be home. I felt like i had left home.

So the first few days were terrible. My body clock was still out, and everything i was doing was on Fiji time, much to the frustration of those around me. I couldn't get that damn paradise out of my mind. I thought that it would fade away and i would get back to normal as time went on. But weeks passed, and i was still thinking about how disappointed i was to be back home.

I was so obsessed, for lack of a better word, that i made a date with my good ol' mate Google. Unbeknownst to my boss of course. And i was googling everything, from the prices of housing, to expat jobs to their universities. All that i could think about was going back. Then i had a thought. Whilst there, we visited a small village, Moala Village i think. I loved how warm and welcoming the village people were. They didn't have fifty plasma screen TV's in each house. They didn't have video games and smartphones. But they were happy. They had what they needed and they were happy with that. Then we visited the local kindergarten. Those kids. They were happy and full of enthusiasm, and somewhat, ok, very cheeky. And they touched my heart. I didn't realise then, i didn't realise how much of an impact they made on me until i got home.

My next google mission. 'Volunteering in Fiji'. How i would love to help those children, maybe brighten their world or change it for a short while. I wanted to give back what they had given me. I found a few websites, and some were just rubbish and completely irrelevant. I was googling for a long time, trying to decide on the right one. I decided on one and sent away an email. They seemed legit. But then again, i had no idea what i was looking for. And it was the cheapest. I got a response in a couple of days and i was over the moon. I gathered all the documentation they needed, a photo of myself and my resume, off memory that was all, although there could have been a few other bits and pieces i sent. After sending away all the information, i waited. And waited. Aaand waited some more. After about two weeks, i sent an email asking how my application was going, whether i had been accepted. I kept getting replies as to why they had no response. It is still holidays (this is just after Christmas and New Years). Then the supervisor was away. Then the January floods hit. After that, as much as i followed it up - it was to no avail. And to this day, i NEVER heard back from them. So i came to the conclusion that somewhere, somehow there is another Alicia Clark out there. I decided that the only possible conclusion was that they had stolen my identity.

I was feeling pretty upset by that stage. If my will to return wasn't so strong, i would have given up. It was too hard. But i gave it one last shot. I emailed a company called Projects Abroad. I got an almost instantaneous response. They were alot dearer than the other place. The fact that a volunteer has to pay thousands of dollars and that doesn't even include flights is beyone me. But i started saving anyway. I decided to go for 6 weeks, not too short, but anything more than that price wise was just impossible for me. The ball got rolling, and within a few weeks i was accepted, it was mostly paid for. All i had to do was wait.

And that, my friends is how this all came about.


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