When I was small my mother and closest aunties called me ‘fonu’ right up until they passed away, which in the Niuean language means turtle. The name fonu became so commonplace, that I just don’t think they knew my real name.
My mother spoke the tiniest bit of English and being the eldest, I was her translator for a great deal of the time. She spoke to me in broken English, and I replied back in broken Niuean.
The reason for being called fonu was never explained to me, so I’m wondering whether it was the way I moved when I was a hatchling. Or, perhaps there was no adequate translation for the name ‘David’ and they thought, ‘what the heck, lets call him turtle’.
I would like to think, that it’s symbolic for being ahead or beating something even when it looks like the odds are up against you.
Today, I snorkeled at Black Rock, Maui and came very close to a Green sea turtle. It must have been close to 5′ in length and glided past me en-route to the ocean. I could not even attempt to describe this experience.
This will forever be one of the highlights on this trip.