Okay, so with the announcement out of the way we will backtrack a little bit.

We were contacted through homeexchange.com back in April by a family in Tahiti planning a trip to Nashville (and other points in America). This wasn't our first thought when we decided to sign up for home exchanges- as we indicated in the post about our trip to Utah, our initial goal was a trip to Singapore, but the requests just started coming in. Well, Tahiti doesn't call every day, so we decided to put a few ducks in a row and make it happen. We are either brave or insane, but there wasn't even a discussion about whether the kids come with us. Yep, we took our 1- and 3-year-olds with us.

On that note, it feels as though the smallest geography lesson is in order. Where is Tahiti? Out in the middle of the Pacific:
(the red dot). It's about 20 degrees south of the equator, but it's actually east of Hawaii. Even though this gives you a decent idea, I was playing with google earth on my phone while I was there and realized that looking at it on a globe makes it feel even more isolated. This next picture has Tahiti in the very center of the globe at the point closest to you (so the equator is 20 degrees north of the middle, if that makes sense).
Now does it look pretty isolated? the green you see in the lower left is New Zealand, and there's a wisp of Australia visible further west. They don't appear as green from this distance, but you can make out the group of Hawaiian islands almost due north of center. And at the very northeast of this globe picture you can just see a feather of Baja California. There are islands scattered all through there, but it's a long way from a land mass.

Anyway Tahiti, when you hear it, often refers to more than Tahiti. Perhaps to French Polynesia or the
Society Islands.
These encompass a group that includes destinations like Bora Bora and other equally exotic places with names you haven't heard. But the only major airport servicing this area is on the island of Tahiti, and this island has the largest population and land mass (only 400 square miles, 1/3 of rhode island) of the group. Tahiti island itself isn't *quite* as exotic as the others, but it's still got a lot going for it.

Our home traders live in Tahiti on the main island, and in keeping this vacation affordable, we needed to make use of this free lodging; none of those huts on stilts out over the water. Thanks to a minor mixup in communicating dates, we did tack on a couple nights on the nearest, ferry-accessible island of Moorea (that picture at the top of this post is actually Moorea), which turned out pretty great, but otherwise stayed on the main island. Well, let's talk about how we got there...