(photos from top and left to right: Tonga, Bora Bora, Aitutaki, Western Samoa, and Tahiti)
I've been thinking lately about the people and places that I encountered on a South Pacific journey back in 1999. The places were so exotic but the people were so real. I met them so briefly but I wonder about them and hope that they have been happy. In life our similarities are so much greater than our differences. Everyone appreciates kindness, compassion, and an interested glance. I took a Polaroid camera with me to most locations and gave away as many photos as I could. I didn't want to just take a picture. That seemed selfish to me. I felt it was much more appropriate to exchange photos so we each could have something to remember the moment by. Even if they forgot me the next day perhaps the photos I left became special to them.
A random neighbor gave me a Polaroid of myself when I came trick or treating to his house when I was 10. I remember being shocked that instead of just giving me candy, he also gave me a small piece of my life to remember. I still have the photo even though sweet Mr. Oliver is long gone. If it wasn't for him I would never have remembered the Halloween when it poured all evening and my candy bag got soggy and started falling apart leaving a tasty trail behind me as I walked. Nor would I have remembered how goofy I looked in my sombrero and poncho!