Cheers, Hongi 2018! We did it!
Somehow, December 6th came and went. It feels like just a few days ago that we were all circling up (in the first of many circles) at the SFO airport – but, according to the length of the girls’ hair and the boys’ beards, more than just a few days have passed since then.
And what a journey we shared – 12 weeks filled with ups and downs as we traveled through three countries in the South Pacific. Bouts of scabies, bottles of coconut oil, a dog named Poopy, colorful Fijian van drivers, sleeping under the stars in swags (“swaygs”), a guest appearance by The Rubberbandits, protests, newspaper fame, so many allergies, unbearably squeaky hostel beds, cement-covered work gloves, and infinite laughter. To make a list of all of our memories would take a lifetime, and would still be incomplete.
Of course, our semester was more than just fleeting jokes and moments of goofiness. The past twelve weeks were also dotted with tremendous personal growth, reflection, challenge, and success. We went from 12 strangers making it work to one complete family, filled with unique personalities, baggage, and unconditional love. Even with the best itinerary and most amazing contacts, an experience is only as good as the people you share it with. And oh, how lucky we all were.
Thank you for making Hongi 2018 such a powerful experience. Hongi crew, it was YOUR dedication, engagement, enthusiasm, leadership, cohesion, and compassion that made our three months together so special, and us to feel so fortunate time and time again. What a pleasure it will be to follow along in all your many future adventures. Until next time, friends, wherever that reunion may be.
With love and gratitude and many blue skies,
Paff and Spice