I’ve been brought up differently and given everything I wanted. I was spoilt more than my four sisters and that wasn’t fair.
Up until age seven, I was the youngest in my family before my late father had an affair and produced two children.
But even still he spoiled me, I was the first one to receive a mobile phone, a laptop and numerous other gifts. My father tended to give me things rather than show me, love.
Growing up I assumed love was giving gifts to people or showering them with money.
It’s taken 31 years for me to work out that this wasn’t he didn’t love me he just didn’t know how to show it.
When I got into trouble the first time my father whisked me to Fiji and forced me to stay there for six months.
The day we arrived in Nadi we stayed at a fancy five-star hotel on Denarau Island and it was amazing. He gave me a credit card from Citibank and said that this was all the money I was getting. Pay the bills, go to the shops and get water and a few beers every day.
I was so surprised because he had brought me here from Adelaide because I had just cost him $150,000.
He turned to me and said this is your country, this is where you are from and soon you will understand why I want to die here. For a kid who was only 19, it was some emotional baggage dropped on me.
Later that evening after coming out of my own room dad was sitting by the pool talking to a well fair big Fijian man surrounded by a few even larger men. I walked up to my dad and the man extended out his hand, it was Frank Bainimarama or Ratu as he is known by locals. Frank at that stage was the Interim Prime Minister of Fiji.
I was shocked, I knew my dad had numerous political friends in Australia and Fiji but not a Prime Minister.
Ratu laughed and offered me a beer, which I accepted because how can you say no to a man who had just overthrown a Government less than a year ago.
He said that he knew I was coming to Fiji and I should be proud of the good my father was doing in Fiji, he knew that there were no other expatriates who had made so much money and decided to give back to the people of his own country of birth without asking for something in return.
Being 19 and being sent away to Fiji after getting into trouble then hearing this wasn’t really something I cared about, for me I was excited and felt a sense of importance. For my father, he only cared about the fact that this would be a learning experience.
I plan to write this over the next couple of days. Stay tuned to read more.