french polynesia.

bonjour and je t'aime, tahiti!

we spent our time in tahiti divided between the islands of tahiti and mo'orea. they were both incredible, although our experiences on each were very different.

similar to japan, we were able to truly get a "local" experience with my sister in law there. she served her lds mission in tahiti, and a big purpose of our trip out there was to meet people she had served with and taught. and since none of us speak french, it was handy to have her around. (although i did love trying to pick up a little french. it is so beautiful!!)

jordan and i traveled from tokyo - bangkok - taipei - los angeles - salt lake - boise, and then turned around LESS THAN 12 hours later to go from boise - los angeles - tahiti. we adjusted surprisingly well, considering how many time zones we had been in over the course of three days, but that first night we were pretty dead.

we were greeted at the airport by at least....20 tahitians i think?  they brought us leis and shell necklaces and EVERYONE had to kiss each one of us on each cheek. it was quite the process, but what a sweet experience it was to feel so loved and welcomed immediately. we stayed with the carlson's our first few nights on the island - a family that ciara knew well on her mission. 

they were such good hosts and i seriously fell in deep, deep love with their little 18 month old!! (teriihaunui is his name, that is six syllables and really hard to say.) but like look at this face.

although the kids spoke minimal english, the parents, daina and tahi, were fluent. it was fun to compare lives - although both parents were educated elsewhere, (him BYU hawaii and her the university of paris) they are born and raised tahitians. they're lives are fairly westernized because they are very affluent, but island life is just so different from our pace of life in the states. they introduced me to fresh, raw tuna - which i looooved, surprisingly.  

the two other carlson kids (nope, don't remember their names, too hard) pretty much fell in love with payton and wouldn't leave his side

i kept joking about kidnapping this babe and as we were leaving i think the mom was getting a tiny bit nervous that i was actually going to try and steal him. haha oops!

please check out the view of that mountain from the carlson's deck!!
we spent the rest of our time on tahiti visiting members, a LOT of time having ciara translate for us, hiking through the mountains and swimming in waterfalls, visiting botanical gardens, meeting ciara's mission president (who, funny enough, has lived most of his life in san francisco) and lounging in our pool with a beach-view. the island is everything you'd expect - everywhere you go pretty much looks like a scene out of jurassic park. i feel like i can't even digest that kind of beauty but hopefully the pictures give you an idea!

our crew! plus an extra person who i do not remember haha 
papeete temple!

this is a real photo from my snapchat. like what is life

probably my favorite experience on tahiti was fhe with one of ciara's wards. they put on a show for us that included several tahitian dances (and they made payton learn the tahitian haka which was HIL-ARIOUS) and then served us a dinner. they were so kind and made us feel like royalty, making sure our plate never got too empty and we liked everything they served. 

their culture is so open and so generous - they are not weighed down by any sort of competition or "rat race" in island life, and so they are able to love and give and serve without constraints. it was a refreshing reminder of what is important.

the little girls in the ward had been staring at me all night, (they'd never seen bleach blonde hair quite like mine) so when we were done eating i started waving at them and they would shyly approach me and ask, in french, to play with my hair. 

in a matter of minutes i was MOBBED by every little girl under 8. they brushed my hair with forks, braided it, petted me like a dog, and fought over who got to sit on my lap. obviously i totally ate this up and was in heaven!! when we left, they literally were clinging to my dress and holding on to my legs so i couldn't walk, all while crying "ne vont pas! ne vont pas!" (don't go.) it melted my heart!!

we took a ferry from tahiti over to mo'orea - and the view of the island from the water was UNREAL.

our time on mo'orea was much more of a "tropical vacation" than tahiti because ciara never served there. meeting people she served with was unforgettable, but it was nice to escape as a family and relax on the beach without any expectations for social events. girlfriend is POPULAR!

while on mo'orea, we took an excursion during which we swam with black tip sharks and sting rays (big pat on my back for that one, i am not a fan of sea creatures) we saw a couple of lookout points, found several beaches with the clearest blue water, and i think i devoured an entire book just by our pool out front. it was tropical relaxation at its finest. 


we flew home out of tahiti, and at the airport we had another crowd there to bid us farewell - complete with ukulele performances, more necklaces, and even MORE cheek kisses! i was so touched by how much these people extended their hearts to us in such a short amount of time.

huge shout out to my in laws for this trip, we are so lucky to have made these memories together as jordan and i move away, i will cherish this time together forever! tahiti, we will no doubt be back!


  1. Wow looks like absolute paradise! And that waterfall picture is amazing. Haha and I love how they greeted you guys with cheek kisses and leis, and then bid you farewell in such a manner as well. I feel cheated, when I went to Hawaii no one did that for us. I guess Tahiti is where it's at.


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