All Islands Are NOT Created Equally

My first visit to Reunion was a vacation my husband and I took quite a few years before deciding to move here. After the two-week visit, my husband and I definitely felt like it was a place we would want to settle down. And before the move, we were also able to spend some time in Guam and Hawaii.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Guam, it is a quaint island south of Japan in the North Pacific that few French know about. To be fair, it is much smaller than Reunion with a population of about 160,000 people. Guam has some beautiful beaches and aquatic flora and fauna, as well as friendly locals. It is a popular vacation hotspot for the Japanese who flock there for shotgun weddings and luxury shopping and also has a large American military presence. However, Hawaii still remains a top island vacation spot for Americans, much like Reunion is to the French.

It is safe to say that Hawaii is very similar to Reunion. Administratively speaking, it is one of the 50 states; it is extremely culturally rich and has very similar topographical features to Reunion. Hawaii is great for snorkeling, beautiful beaches, tide pool exploring, hiking, and getting a bird’s eye view of it all in a helicopter. Hawaiians are very warm, welcoming and proud of their heritage. This is all part of the “Aloha” spirit along with the “shaka” hand sign which can mean anything from “hello” to “life is good”.

By the end of all of these trips, we were, of course, experts on island living. However, nothing could’ve really prepared me for life here. I have had more “there’s a first time for everything” moments than ever in my 30+ years of existence.

I will never forget one of the first times I walked my kids to school, there was a chicken foot on the sidewalk and an enormous centipede about 10 feet farther. When we bit in to the candy canes we had used to decorate our Christmas tree, they had turned into chewing gum because of the heat. I have never been at a check out stand where the person in front of me was buying chicken livers, the fry of fish, and wasp larvae all at once. I have never been able to run up in the mountains and go to the beach in the same day. Something quirky happens every day and there is so much more to experience. As they say variety is the spice of life, and here it just happens to be very spicy.

Vocabulary

to settle down = s’installer
quaint = pittoresque
fair = juste
hotspot = endroit populaire
to flock = affluer

shotgun = de façon rapide
features = caractéristiques
snorkelling = palmes, masque, tuba
tide pool = flaque de marée
Aloha: “Bonjour” en Hawaiien

could’ve = aurait pu
centipede = scolopendre
farther = plus loin
to bite = mordre
candy canes = sucre d’orges

heat = chaleur
check out stand = la caisse
wasp = guêpe
quirky =  original
variety is the spice of life = La diversité, c’est ce qui met du piment dans la vie 

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