Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hellos are easier than goodbyes

Last Sunday was our last Sunday in Fatumu. We were asked to read hymns during the service, Mark sang a song and gave a speech, and we were all dressed to the nine in clothes fakaTonga.

People cried when we said our thank you's and goodbyes. People I had never met, people I had just waved to or smiled a hello. People I talked to everyday but still have no idea what their name is.

I almost cried too, which I puzzled over. Standing in front of the congregation with Mandy as Mark spoke on behalf of us, I was overcome with emotions. It was seriously reliving our last Sunday at Hope this last June.

Then, as I was this week, I was overcome with feelings of deep gratitude- gratitude of what was given and shared, gratitude that I had mattered at all, that anyone had made room in their life's and hearts to let crazy little me in.

Oh this experience so far has been a rollercoaster. I have bawled and laughed, been included and left out. I have loved and hated, understood and misunderstood, been offended and been praised, encouraged and mocked, given up and started over, given up and tried again, etc, etc, etc. But in the goodbyes I am seeing that I have been loved so, so well. I have not always appreciated it, or even recognized it, but oh what a sacrifice it was for this wonderful family to adopt us as their own for the last two months. They openly wept tonight and apologized for anything we didn't like. Oh how small I felt for ever having uttered a word of complaint to Mark. They have been so generous, so hospitable, so loving and accepting.

I am learning how to say bigger hellos, invest more in the day to day, and embrace the emotion of goodbyes.

Grow little heart, 'ofa lahi, sai?

Our host family and Mandy's host family and a few random people

Our host parents and language teacher (and a little girl)

We didn't plan to coordinate-happy coincidence!

Us with the principal of the Fatumu primary school where we did our practice teaching.

The closest thing to wearing a corset I hope I ever wear.

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