Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Rainbow's End (Palau)


No internet or cell phones.  T.V. and radio, nope.  Shoot -- for several days we didn't even have a watch with us.  What time is it?  Well, the sun is up, guess it is day time...



That's how we spent the past ten days.  Well, that and swimming with stinger-less jellyfish.



Yeah, I'm kinda obsessed with the jellies.

I am also kinda obsessed with Palau in general.


This little island nation captured my heart for the first time in 2002 when I went on a mission trip during college.  We laid a waterline for an outer island village, population 300 or so.  It was hot and sticky and I thought surely Hell could not even compare with the heat, but that did not keep me from falling in love -- with the beauty and more so, with the people.


So a year and a half later I packed my suitcases and moved out there to teach 4th grade.  And it was the most amazing experience.


I have had the chance to go back to visit a couple of times since then, but this time was different.  This time I was taking my man with me.

Palau could no longer be "my" place, but it was time to become "our" place.


Days were filled with trekking to waterfalls in the jungle, surfing, snorkeling...



... and eating fish.

Lots and lots of fish.



And then we kept eating fish.  For breakfast, for lunch, for dinner.  Cooked fish, raw fish, fish eyeballs.

Yes, you read that correctly.

What can I say?  When in Rome...


The scenery was beautiful.  There is a reason Palau is called 'The Rainbow's End', right?






But you know what is better than these serene blue waters and vibrant rock islands?  The people.


They may live a simple life by our standards, but their lives are FULL.  Full of love, full of joy, full of compassion.  They share like no other people group I have encountered, even though they do not have much.  It is a rare to find a place where there are no orphanages, nobody living on the streets, no old-age homes.  Like I said, rare.  But it exists.  I have seen the proof.



Really, I have nothing more that I can say about Palau.  Not because there is nothing more to share, but because there is nothing more that mere words typed on a screen can do justice.

All I can say is this: my heart is full.





23 comments:

  1. This post took my breath away...beautiful pictures, beautiful words!! Thank you for reminding me what it means to have a 'full' life.

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    1. Thank you! I strive to have this full life, not just one full of stuff.

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  2. Magnificent photographs! Those jellies look amazing! After reading about you not having a watch, I wondered what that would be like. I imagine at first it would be uncomfortable for a lot of people in our time-crunch society, but after a while would be so nice! What a beautiful place to call your own (well you and his now!).

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    1. It was weird at first, and in a way kind of stressful. But then we relaxed, because really, where did we need to be??? :) And then it was as un-stressful as you can get.

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  3. Oh, such beautiful pictures!!! I woul die for that fish!!! I couldn't find yor email Tiffany!!! I would be happy to place your button up on my blog if you have one:) you can email me if you want "www.bouffeebambini@hotmail.com"

    Xoxoxo Hanna

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    1. You know, I have never even put my contact info up here. I really need to do that! Thanks for that, Hanna! I will send it to you later. I have one, but I think I need to make a newer/BETTER one :) Hope you are going strong!

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  4. Your blog popped up in my "Google Alerts". I have one set for "Palau". I loved looking at your pictures and reading about your experience there. My mom is Palauan and I have been there a handful of times. I'll be going back next summer. I took my fiance there twice and it was an awesome experience for both of us. My family lives in Koror and I have aunts, uncles, and a grandfather that are teachers.

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    1. Yay! I bet I have "family" related to you because I was given a Palauan family to be "mine" when I was a teacher and we have remained close over the past 9 years. Who is your mom/aunts/etc? Most of our people we love are in Koror and then Peleliu, where my heart resides.

      How wonderful to be able to go with your fiance a few times!!!

      So nice that we share this place in common -- you by blood, me by love.

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    2. Hey Tiffany,

      I love how you have a Palauan family. My dad was in the Peace Corps and had a Palauan Family that he still speaks to whenever we are in Palau.

      My grandfather taught Palauan culture in Ibobong at BMS. I think he recently retired. My uncle teaches at Palau High School. His name is Lee Ngirakesau. My families last name is Ngirakesau (they live in Koror) and Soalablai (they are from Peleliu).

      My google profile pic is from Palau and I have a bunch of pictures posted from when we were there in 2011.

      Any plans on going back anytime soon?

      Whenever i have to leave Palau, I start counting down the days until I can go back!

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    3. Our countdown has begun, as well :) However, it will be years. My husband's family is in Brazil so that is our priority for trips. But give us a few years and there will be more pics...

      I tried to see your pictures but they were blocked to me. However, I did recognize Palau from your profile pic. When Palau gets into you it doesn't let you go, huh?

      See that older lady up there? That is my Palauan mom, Mikiko Roberts. She is from Peleliu, but her husband is from Koror. I don't know any of your relatives, but I bet I know somebody (MANY somebodies) who does/do ;) Our Peleliu people are Sbal and Tolngii.

      Hope your countdown and ours goes QUICKLY! I need some Jellyfish Lake in my life ;)

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    4. *the older lady in the blue. And she lives in Koror now.

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  5. Oh my goodness this place looks so so incredible!! :) Thanks for adding a little dose of wanderlust to my Thursday morning

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  6. Oh my GOODNESS! These photos are AMAZING, especially the ones of you swimming with the jellies. Beautiful colors and looks like such a wonderful experience!

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    1. It was easy to take good photos in such a beautiful place :) Thank you!

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  7. Looks like a gorgeous place!!!

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  8. This play looks beautiful. I`m so glad to read how full your heart was after the trip. It's inspiring. ♥

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  9. Oh my gosh - what amazing photos Tiffany!! I love posts like this where we get a little glimpse into the behind-the-scenes life of our fav blogger friends. This trip looks and sounds like perfection...thanks so much for sharing a few images :)
    xo - Marion
    ps - that one jellyfish pic needs to be framed on a wall somewhere :)

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to look! You know, we all love to share our vacation stories, but not everyone loves to hear them ;) hahaha!

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  10. I love me a good travel blog! So neat that you got to do this. I read Travel+Leisure last year and they talked about Palau and the jellyfish lake. Since then, it's been on my bucket list and I'm so glad I ran across your blog! Newest follower :) XOXO www.theweirhouse.com

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    1. Aw, thanks! However, you will find that I am only a travel blog when my schedule allows it... but I do it as much as possible :) I hope you like food, too! ;)

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