Introduction

Lost in Paradise

Life is way better after quarantine and I’m in paradise, but things aren’t perfect. As always you adjust to your circumstances and life gets real.

Michel has taught me so much.

• Some fabulous recipes: One is a passion fruit punch, with passion fruit we find next to the workshop. We save them, because they have to be very ripe. Just slice in half and scoop out the fruit, then add a little brown sugar, some water and mix. It’s wonderful. I think he adds a bit too much sugar to everything, especially his coffee, but maybe that’s what makes him seem so sweet 😉 Sometimes anyway

• To dance with a partner: We began dancing every Tuesday for 2 1/2 hours. Michel just glides around the room picking different partners and teaching. I, on the other hand, sit and wait to be asked and am terrible. Partner dancing is just so foreign to me. It’s an easy step count, but I really struggle. Every partner says just relax. I don’t know why I find it so hard to relax. Perhaps, because deep inside I’ve been a fighter my whole life. I think the only reason I do get asked is because I’m a cute girl. I think they soon regret it when I get on the floor and screw everything up. But, after I practice, practice, practice my dancing. 1,2,3,A – 1,2,3A. Over and over and over. By week two of daily practice on the boat, I’m getting it and get asked a lot. I found some great teachers in the class. And I am getting fairly good at the bachata.

• We did another activity. I loved it. It was so me. His “Gym”. It’s in the park by the ocean and a blast. The area is called front sea and is everything I think of when I think beach town. Everyone is out running, walking, biking, working out, etc. It is a very fit society. A little warm, but so peaceful. We only went for a couple of weeks tho.

Saturday Oct. 16 we went to see our first live music of the new normal in FP, after Covid. And, it was awesome. It is against the law to dance, tho, because of close contact. They were a jazz band and at the end of their set they played a lot of the Rat Pack songs from the 50s. I love it.

I found an MMA Gym across from the Carrefour (grocery store) I shop at and I decided to stop in one day. She, yes a she was in charge, said they do Muay Thai on Mondays at 5. So, of course, I went the next Monday. The training was diffèrent than I’m used to. They stretch forever then drills, drills, drills. No sparring, just drills over and over and over, which is good. The technique was good, but again different. I wasn’t a huge fan and didn’t go back.

I’m practicing my French. Getting it, little by little. Atleast some words. It’s hard though, because I want to say things and I’m not quite sure so I don’t. And most people speak a bit of English so I cheat. My most common phrase is “Parle vue Anglaise.”

We had a few French guests, a young man, who was in the process of purchasing a sailboat of his own and a few young women. Michel loves his women.

During that time, I felt ignored, as the two French men got along fabulously and worked like crazy. Plus, there was a language gap. So, I was on my own. After this man left. Michel was upset with me, so he stayed at the workshop for about a week and I on the boat, alone. It was actually quite spectacular. I got a ton done, went out a lot. I’ve fallen in love with the Royal Tahitian for any meal. Seats right at the waters edge, affordable prices, and best of all free WiFi.

Then my “everything happens for a reason” moment, when I lost my fabulous earring on top of the Belvedere. Michel took me for some fondue and amazing views at one of Tahiti’s highest peaks, the Belvedere. Perhaps he was trying to make up for his behavior. The drive was narrow, curvy, and straight up. Scary 😟 But, the views were remarkable. I wanted him to stop for pictures several times, but he said he couldn’t. He needed the momentum to keep the car going. We got to the top, enjoyed dinner, and ran into my new amazing American friend with some other spectacular Americans. One woman in the group circumnavigated the globe alone for six years at age 65.

“I think I still have time. That is a new Niki goal.”

We talked and talked. I just picked, picked, picked her brain. I was fascinated. It was getting late and dark so we started our descent back down. We got back to the boat and we’re getting ready for bed, when I noticed an earring was missing. I freaked out. They were my grandma’s, who recently passed. I was upset and couldn’t sleep all night. I got up early and checked Michel’s car and my bag really good. My new American friend then called and asked if I found it. I said no and she offered to drive me to the bottom of the Belvedere so I could check the restaurant, but I had to hike the rest of the way up. I quickly agreed, as I’d been wanting to take that hike anyway. So, she dropped me off where most begin the hike. It was challenging. Non-stop elevation all the way up with twists and turns. Constantly leaning forward to keep my balance. 6.3 mile straight up. I was a sweaty mess when I arrived, looked and looked, but nothing. I left my info with the host, if they happened to find it, and started back down. Well I kinda ran down and went a bit further to the boat (about an extra 3 miles). Even tho I didn’t find it the hike felt good. My whole body was alive with endorphins.

Then, Mo’orea, my last week. And it was gorgeous. It’s pure, natural beauty. I didn’t mind just staying on the boat and basking in the beauty. Swimming a bit in the aquamarine water. I was constantly in awe. I thought maybe this was Michel’s way of seeing me off and salvaging our relationship. He continued to tell me he’s not in love with me and I continue to tell him I couldn’t possibly be in love with him in a few months. But, he doesn’t believe me, so apparently I put on a pretty good show. I’m just amnaturally a caring person. I don’t expect anything, I just am. There are moments, just a few, when Michel is that amazing guy I thought I knew that makes me second guess my irritation and frustration. I think he honestly thinks he’s Gods gift to woman, every woman desires him, and is lucky to have him. He can be quite charming when he wants to be. Typical male behavior and I thought he was different. At one point he wanted me to leave for a bit, but where do I go. That’s why I did workaway after all, to cut costs. But, I wasn’t a Workawayer, I was his girlfriend. I tried to contact other Workaways but no luck 🙁

And, the drama continued in Mo’orea on the relationship front. Last few days and lying, really?

We both pretty much hung out on the boat and went on his catamaran, he worked on his foils, and continued perfecting them. Then, one day he said he was going to go to the channel and I said, « oh fun, can I go »

Hé said « no, I think it’ll be a challenge », even tho he removed his foils 🙄 Before he left he shaved and dressed (he normally wears his speedo). So, I thought it was a little strange, but nothing much. And he said he’d be gone a couple hours. Hmm. Ok.

Two hours passed, then three and he came back in a great mood.

I said, « Where’d you end up going? »

He said, « oh I stopped at a catamaran for a bit and had a drink. « 

I thought ok, but it was still bugging me and I asked again later.

He said, « oh I met —- (the woman that came on the boat we thought needed a place) For lunch at Cook Bay. «

« Why couldn’t I go. »

« You we’re jealous and I hate that« 

« No, I wasn’t. I just mentioned how pretty she was. And how cozy you were. When you were never like that with me. That doesn’t necessarily make me jealous. Just wondered where you were. « 

Here’s the story: We picked up a woman on land, who Michel said may stay in the boat for a few days. A friend had said she needed a place to stay. He actually complained about it a bit. She was gorgeous and was a great person to talk too. Her and Michel were very cozy and he really catered to her every need. Very attentive. It actually seemed like a date. After she left I mentioned, « I’m kind of envious of how you were with her. I wish you’d be like that with me. »

He says, « I’m like that with every new person I meet. I was like that with Vincent and I was like that with you. « 

I’m thinking, thinking, thinking about our first few weeks or relationship in general and how it played out.

And I remembered and texted, « And not that it matters now, but since I constantly argue, I might as well go out with a bang. You never treated me like that. You had Covid for the first 2 weeks and did nothing. Now, I’m done. « 

And that was it, I was done. Although, I think he had been done long before. I don’t do well with lying. Claim your actions and have a damn good reason.

Then, he got slightly nicer and atleast would have a conversation with me.

I said, « we have a couple days left, let’s just get through it.”

Perhaps it was a fantasy. Michel did warn me against blowing it up too much in my head and making it too perfect. Maybe he knew he couldn’t live up to what he portrayed himself to be. Covid and quarantine definitely didn’t help. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Then, a friend tells me, “oh, sounds like a typical French boater.”

And I said “what’s that supposed to mean?” and she continued, “a new woman in every port.” And from what he described his life to be like, that is very true. But, I do think he truly loved his wife and has never really recovered from her leaving him.

Then, in the midst of all this chaos, the worst thing happens. I get a text from my mother to call her immediately. I do and “your father passed.”

“What, what.” I lost it

Tears, tears. I lost it. Tears. Total disbelief. We butted heads, yes (because we’re a lot alike, like him and his mother, but I loved him) and we had different points of view on life. But gone, forever. He and my mother are my best friends. I told them everything and they were always there for me and now he’s gone.

I was headed to Rome for my next stop, but now I’m headed to chilly Ohio to once again pick up the pieces. I’m actually writing this over San Francisco on United flight UA114. And the closer I get, the more the nightmare becomes reality.

And, as far as the Michel thing. He says once lovers, no friends and I’m not terribly disappointed. He caused way to much stress and uncertainty for me. So, so long Michel. I may come back to French Polynesia, but definitely not on his boat.

I’ve built up a whole routine here and it felt like home. Only to be shattered by lying and deceit in the end. I’m writing this on my way home to face the reality of my fathers death and help my mother in her grief, then off to Italia where I’ll freeze, but be surrounded by furry friends on my next workaway. One chapter over, let’s start a new one.

(I do want to thank Michel for helping me to overcome myself. He pushed me and expected me to do things, so I was forced to learn, to grow, to change in a positive way. Things i may have done before without thinking, but since my accident I’ve built up a lot of uncertainty and fear in myself and Michel is partially responsible for my growth, but it is forcing myself to overcome my fear that is the ultimate player. I just do it a few times, perfect it, and then I’m ok. I’ve learned to be more confident, assertive, and learned to say no (well I’m still working on that.)

I have a thirst for adventure. Always Have, Alway Will. My tag line is YOLO (You Only Live Once) or in my case ++++ times, yet I continue to live my life to the fullest. Since, we're here for only a short time, I take advantage of everything that comes my way. I want to seize every moment, see and experience all can. I have been very blessed. So far I've had the opportunity to travel to over 30 countries, fought (in a cage) yes fought, lived through a tragic head-on collision with a semi, strut my stuff on a stage in 4" heels as a bodybuilding bikini girl. (I'll get more into those later) Yes, most would say I'm crazy, but I continue to push the button. My new, crazy obsession is to travel the globe taking on and conquering new challenges. I want to surf in Sayulita, Mexico, run a marathon in Greece, bungee jump in Macau, etc. (My bucket list is long). As I embark on my challenges, I plan to share with you my trials and tribulations leading up to these challenges, budget travel tips & tricks (I'm a very thrifty traveler), fun exercises to prepare me for the task ahead, new exciting things to see and do in the locale I'm in, restaurants to try, the people I meet, etc. Join me in my adventures :)