Blog and Photos by Ruth Bremar
When I returned to my chosen home in 2014, and I use that term with honor to French Polynesia, I desperately searched for the verbal answer to the question asked of me and my husband so many times. “Why do you keep returning to French Polynesia and the Paul Gauguin?” I could give the expected answers of: “The most beautiful place on earth,” “Heaven on earth,” “visually stunning,” “Paul Gauguin Cruises is leagues past any other cruise line,” “service beyond compare,” etc. All of these and many more are so true, however, it is so much deeper and more meaningful to me. Kindly let me share!
My love affair with the actual islands began when I was about eight years old. In school, I was assigned a geography project and to write about a country we wanted to visit.
With the understanding that we are from Bermuda, the breakdown was, as far as I remember, the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. However, I did my project on Tahiti!
Most children in my class did not even know of its whereabouts. Little did I realize the profound impact that French Polynesia would have on me.
My cruise in 2012 on the m/s Paul Gauguin was so memorable to me. I think that while onboard, I had a paradigm shift. For me, The Gauguin and French Polynesia, were all about unimaginable shades of blue, the kaleidoscope of greens, the heady scents of the tiare blossoms and the perfectly executed fined tuned staff, who could make you feel as if you are the King and Queen of the world!
Somehow, all of this integrated into a sense of MAFATU! That was the feeling, but I was not aware of it as yet. Two weeks after The Gauguin trip, and back in Bermuda, I had a health scare and ended up in the hospital fighting for my life! Fast forward two years, several surgeries, and the current hospital stay. My attending surgeon removed me from all pain medication post op, due severe sensitivity. I will never forget what he said to me. “Place yourself somewhere serene and meaningful as this may help you to cope.”
It took me all of five seconds to visually go there, to that special place, where heaven presented itself to me, as a coping mechanism. My favorite spot in the world, where calmness, peace, quietness, beauty merged to form my heaven, and that was “The Bora Bora Private Motu” compliments of the The Gauguin. If you have never “felt” beauty, this spot must be on your bucket list. In that hospital room, in pain, I placed myself floating on the gentle water, brilliant azure sky, and Mount Otemanu dead center.
It fills me even now, as I type this. Had it not been for the The Gauguin, I would not have had this reference point which helped me through some very dark days. I was, along with my husband, fortunate enough again to be able to revisit this sanctuary, alongside all my Tahitian family, as they know they are called, in 2014.
When I stepped on the The Gauguin, all I could say was “thank you.” I could not believe that this small cruise line that plied these French Polynesian waters, over 7,000 miles from home, would save me!
While on board, I sought to embody what The Gauguin, its wonderful crew, my adopted family, and French Polynesia meant to me, in a term.
So many people asked the reason why we are constant repeaters. I alone, sought to find the perfect answer. That point of reference, anything that could sum up concisely what I felt. I then thought of what French Polynesia, The Gauguin, and its people had in common. It was togetherness, a oneness. A seamless transition of body, mind and soul. They were all a part of each other. I got it!
I went down to the reception, where I feel a true Tahitian example for all to see and talk to resides, at least during her working hours. I PROUDLY call her my Tahitian daughter Manu.
I explained to her that was I struggling with the correct word to explain it all. She has known me so long, and totally aware of my dilemma, placed MY hand on HER heart, and said the word that defines French Polynesia, its people, the The Gauguin and my Paul Gauguin Cruises Family to me.