I'm still unpacking and swapping out my old catalog stuff and putting in my new goodies, so I'll be back soon with some card ideas!
Let's start with my favorite part of the trip. Every night you come back to your room there is a pillow gift on your bed. This was the second night's surprise...
In the first box was this LOVELY tote bag ... I love it ... and little did I realize it would become a necessity to get all the goodies back home.
The second night I came back excited to see my pillow gift after an exhausting bout with the poor internet connections I was facing at the computer area. After trying unsuccessfully to get one important email sent for 30 minutes and $5, I couldn't get it sent. I was frustrated. Then I came back to the room and saw this army-style back pack and hat. Well, that did not settle well with me. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not dress "army" style. I said to Rick, "what the heck?". He could see my frustration and quietly said, "Honey, I think this is for me tonight." Well, he was right and I went from frustration to exhilaration!!! They had the cutest note for our "heros" who support our business. I was thrilled, and Rick loved his new backpack. (AND, we needed that, too, to get home all the goodies!)
The next night in yet another box on the bed was a sample of the new products.
Wahooooooo!!!! by far my favorite pillow gift.
I forgot to say that when we arrived there was this fabulous green "Fiji" rug on the bed with a Fijian folder. The last night we received a bag with some Pure Fiji products!
In addition to pillow gifts, we could go to the Hospitality Suite daily and play a bean bag game to win new products. Oh, oh, oh, did I mention the gobs and gobs of free candy and water available to us all week in the Hospitality Suite. Wahooooo!
At the opening session, we received a paper stack with the new in-colors. I have to say they are by far my favorite new in-colors!!! Wait until you see them!
They also had something that night for our guys ... a partner Survival kit and the Hey Dude stamp set. Rick wasn't as thrilled as I was on that gift but I still made him take a photo and look happy!:-)
Stampin' Up! for the most part took up most of the beautiful Sofitel Resort and Spa facility with over 450 demonstrators, guests and staff. Here was the pool area with the Stampin' Up! banners.
As we sat around the pool, prize patrol circled the pool handing out more new products!!!
One day many of us volunteered several hours to go to the Nadi hospital and do service work. We did everything from clean to sand to paint. That was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. If you have ever complained about a hospital visit here in the US, you may want to reconsider. While it wasn't terrible, it just lacked a whole lot.
We were all assigned various jobs. And we all received smurf blue t-shirts. We quickly named ourselves the Smurf Crew!
It was amazing to see about three big buses full of "smurfs" working around this small hospital. The patients and staff just stared at us. We were told it was the largest group of volunteers who had ever participated in a volunteer group! And you should have seen the supplies Stampin' Up! bought to get the work done! From paint brushes, ladders, paint, gloves, sanding stuff, cleaning stuff, etc. Tons of it! I don't have an exact count of volunteers, but I would guess over 200!!!
The next day we did a river cruise up to a small village where we got to see a true Fijian village and meet the chief and have lunch prepared by the village women.
I fell in love with the kids. When we arrived, these kids were playing in the river, jumping off rocks, etc. They have nothing! ... but, they are so happy! I just loved them and got to dance with some of them after the lunch and ceremony!
This is the church ... notice no furniture. The houses don't have furniture, either.
This was a shot from the chief's house looking down on his village. The houses are so rough.
And for those women out there who think their kitchen needs updating, think again. Here's a kitchen I went into. Seriously, this is it! I will NEVER complain about my kitchen or house ever again!!!
Okay, enough sad. I have to leave you with some very positive notes. This was one of my favorite vacation photos. We were at the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Maui.
Here were just a few of the many wonderful new friends we got to meet and spend time with this week!
I got to sit next to Shelli's table at the last night's dinner and show. (Shelli is second in on left with her daughter, Sara, beside her). She also stopped by our breakfast table one morning, sat down and just talked like we were old, old friend. This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip!
We had a great last-night dinner where we took over one complete yard area beside the pool for a fabulous buffet dinner and entertainment. This was just part of our entertainment. Did you know that Fijians were once cannibals? This was one of their hunters! Quite scary!
This was at the last night dinner...
And, here's the "stuff" I had to figure out how to pack to bring home from Fiji! Oh, did I mention my favorite gift ... we got the new catalog ... great reading material on the 30 hour excursion to get back to Charlotte!
I took 399 photos in all. Obviously I can't post every one, but I wanted to somehow sum up one of the most fabulous trips I've ever been on. Thank you Stampin' Up!