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Painting in Paradise

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Painting in Paradise

Painting

Taveuni is full of inspiration. In our free time, Jack has been picking up the guitar and ukelele and I've been working on watercolors. Here are a couple Taveuni-inspired watercolors.IMG_1583 IMG_1588 IMG_1627 IMG_1211 Taveuni watercolor

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First Wedding Anniversary

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First Wedding Anniversary

Jack and Alise

Today marks our first wedding anniversary! We were engaged in December 2012 and by last January we’d figured out we wanted an outdoor picnic themed wedding. We spent 9 months planning what we hoped would be a creative and casual event. September in the Bay Area is beautiful, full of long sunny days with pleasant weather. We looked around East Bay Regional Parks and decided that Tilden Park would be best. We made bunting banners and pompoms, went thrifting for things like picnic baskets and rented tents, tables and chairs. Jack made weekly trips to our rental picnic site with machete and rakes to work on the grounds so they’d be perfect for the big day. He also built stilt frames for the redwood trees1 so that he could make an art gallery from our large wood pieces and canvases.

weddingdecor

My Mom made the (vegan!) cake and cupcakes and Jack’s sister made the bouquet and flower arrangements, incorporating our paintbrushes. Jack’s parents brought sulus, salusalus and favors from Fiji. Our auntie organized muruku for us so that there would be snacks to go with the kava. Jack’s good friend officiated and helped us organize the ceremony. My niece played the intro music.

We found an amazing caterer who created the best Indo-Fijian vegetarian menu. Jack’s former boss, Garvin Tso did the photography.

details

We had friends and family come in from Fiji, New Zealand (via Europe!), Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida and it was so exciting to see everyone. The days leading up to wedding were full of fun reunions and beautiful weather.

Outdoor f and fam

On the day of the wedding, something that we never expected happened- it started to rain. We were in the middle of setting up and figured it would stop, so we continued, and then it started to pour- a rare sight in the Bay this time of year, especially during the drought. At that point, the wedding was in a couple of hours so my friends and I left to regroup while Jack and the guys stayed to pack up. Somehow, over the next couple of hours, our friends and family pulled together a new venue and coordinated with every vendor and guest. We ended up getting married at the hall of Tribe Church by People’s Park in Berkeley, and nearly every detail was a surprise to us. My dress was crumpled and a little dirty so I wore a different one. My friends blow-dried our soaked décor and decorated the hall with our art and signage by my talented friend Evelina.

Jack and Alise

In the end, our wedding was more personal and perfect than anything we could have ever planned or even hoped for. It was a good lesson for us in going with the flow and not worrying about anything, as everything to date has worked out just fine. It’s great for us to remember now, since we aren’t sure what’s next after Fiji.

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Tagimoucia Festival

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Tagimoucia Festival

Yesterday we joined in the festivities of the 2nd annual Tagimoucia Festival in Wairiki. The festival is named for the Tagimoucia flower, which is only found on the island of Taveuni. The community came together to celebrate the culture and to support the conservation, protection and clean up of the Fiji islands. Keep Taveuni Clean banner

We joined for the full day yesterday, which catered to the local school children. There were free workshops for dance, music, and visual arts as well as information booths and rides. Last night, they had a mini fashion show and live music. There was an even bigger setup today with more performances going on tonight.

We spent the morning painting faces, and spent the afternoon learning about all of the exciting initiatives happening. It was inspiring to see the local arts, organic farming, recycling, renewable energy, and yoga here on Taveuni and the surrounding islands.

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Celebrations in Wairiki

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Celebrations in Wairiki

Fijian Dancers

Taveuni was buzzing last week as the Church of the Holy Cross is hosted the 150th anniversary celebration of Catholicism in Fiji. People from all over Fiji came to celebrate and worship together, sharing in prayer, music, dance and food. main stage

The beautiful church sat as a backdrop to the festivities and the Crucifix that is usually inside is on display outside of the church. The Crucifix was given to Ratu Goleanavanua, Tui Cakau and Patamount Chief of Cakaudrove, Bua, Macuata and the Yatu Lau by the Rev. Laurent Favre (Father Lorosio) in 1862.

Cathedral

The Crucifix inspired the Tui Cakau to defeat the Tongans under Ma’afu led by his warrior Wainiqolo. The people of Cakaudrove converted to Catholocism, crediting the Crucifix and the faith that it represented to have led to their victory.

Following the victory, Ratu Golea gave the crucifix to Tui Tunuloa for safekeeping.

In 1892, the Church of the Holy Cross was built, The beautiful structure is 60 metres high and overlooks a campus and the Pacific Ocean. On September 14, 2005, after 143 years, the Tui Tunuloa, Ratu Igenasio Loaloa returned the Crucifx to the Tui Cakau, Rat Naiqama Lalabalavu, in Wairiki.

The Tui Cakau then traditionally handed it over to His Grace Archbishop Petero Mataca D.D. for safekeeping. His Grace ordered that it be kept in the Church of the Holy Cross, Wairiki for veneration by the people of Cakaudrove.

group picture cross

We joined the celebration on Wednesday, which was a day especially for the children. There was music, dancing and trivia. We went back on Saturday, which was the biggest day, beginning with a church service led by the Archbishop and continuing with dances throughout the day.

Rabian Dancers Fijian Dancers

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Vegan + Paleo Coconut Cookies

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Vegan + Paleo Coconut Cookies

Cropped Cookies

Jack and I are in our third week of living and working in Fiji, and we’re getting into the swing of things. Teaching only two students presents so many opportunities and I love coming up with creative activities for them. This week, we made cookies as an end of the week treat. It’s a nice way to get the kids to voluntarily read, write, and measure while working as a team.

Kids and cookies

We managed to successfully make three types of cookies without using any eggs, butter, flour, processed sugar, or grains.  We have access to fresh coconut and coconut oil so this inspired our ingredient lists.

I didn’t make cookies often in the States, because I usually found eggless recipes failed to stick together, but all three of the recipes we made today stuck together nicely! And the steps were easy. Enjoy!

Kids and cookies

Vegan/Paleo Coco-nutty Cookies (10-12 cookies)

2 cups Almond Flour 1 cup Desiccated Coconut ¼ Cup Almonds ¼ Cup Macadamia Nuts ¼ Cup Coconut oil ¼ Cup Agave (or Maple Syrup) 1 Tbs water 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (optional) ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and preparing our baking sheet with coconut oil.

2. In a food processor or blender, process the almonds and macadamia nuts into small, coarse pieces.

3. Combine the processed nuts, Almond flour, desiccated coconut, baking soda and sea salt into a large bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, agave and vanilla extract.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing well.

6. Roll the mixture into golf-sized balls and space them evenly on a baking sheet.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

Kids and cookies

Vegan/Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup Almond Flour 1 Cup Coconut Flour ¼ Cup Coconut oil ¼ Cup dark chocolate chips 3 Tbs Agave (or Maple Syrup) 2 Tbs Cocoa Powder (or Cacao Powder) 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and preparing our baking sheet with coconut oil.

2. Combine the Almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt into a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, agave and vanilla extract.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing well.

5. Mix in the chocolate chips.

6. Roll the mixture into golf-sized balls and space them evenly on a baking sheet.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

Kids and cookies

Vegan Paleo Cocoa Cookies

1 Cup Almond Flour 1 Cup Coconut Flour ¼ Cup Coconut oil 3 Tbs Agave (or Maple Syrup) 2 Tbs Cocoa Powder (or Cacao Powder) 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and preparing our baking sheet with coconut oil.

2. Combine the Almond flour, coconut flour, cacao powder, baking soda and sea salt into a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, agave and vanilla extract.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing well.

5. Roll the mixture into golf-sized balls and space them evenly on a baking sheet.

6. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Bouma Falls Daytrip

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Bouma Falls Daytrip

Bouma Falls

We’ve just completed our first week of work at Paradise Taveuni! Check out the Paradise blogpost Jack posted here: fijiresort.blogspot.com Paradise Taveuni is located on the Southern Side of Taveuni. We made our first day trip north to Bouma Falls with five kids and a group of resort guests. It took a couple of hours by car, with stops along the way.

Taveuni views Our first stop was the beautiful cathedral, which is celebrating 150 years next week.

Cathedral

Our next stop was at the International Date Line. Here we were able to stand in today and yesterday.

180 Meridian Then we made it to Bouma Falls. There were three waterfall stops and we hiked to the first two.  The walks were beautiful and good exercise. The water was very cold, but it felt refreshing after the journey.

Jack jumping at the falls Jack and Alise at Bouma Falls

On the way back, we stopped at the natural waterslide. The water here was warmer…or maybe we were just acclimated by that point.

Natural water slide

It was a nice, full day and the kids were knocked out for the trip back. We’re looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful island!

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New adventures

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New adventures

Savu Mural

IMG_7950 Bula family and friends! We're excited to announce that we will temporarily be moving to the island of Taveuni in Fiji!

We will both be working and living at Paradise Taveuni, a resort on the Southern side of Taveuni. Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji, known as the Garden Island for its flora. Jack will be working as a web developer, and Alise will be teaching the resort owners' children. We could not have dreamed up a more fitting opportunity!

In our free time, we plan to explore vegan food options and growing and composting in Taveuni. We plan to create art, inspired by our experiences. We also plan to do a good bit of exploring, swimming and diving. And of course, we will take heaps of photos and journal along the way so that we can keep this updated.

IMG_7851

We'll be taking a break from our Etsy shop but our art and jewelry will still be available in a few locations. Contact us for more details!

With new opportunities come uncertainty, and we’ve been consistently working to embrace the changes and transform our fears into loving situations. We’re blessed to have such a strong support system of family and friends. Alise’s parents are caring for our pup Zoey in California and Jack’s parents are looking out for us in Fiji.

We fly out in July. Until then, we are living and working in the East Bay, getting Zoey settled in with Alise's parents. Stay tuned for updates!

Love, light, and lolomas!

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