Friday, May 17, 2013


We spent last weekend in town. It had been a month since we had seen any other palangis/ pcv's/ English speakers. Wow-even writing that it seems strange to me. Usually we make it a priority to see people more often than that....but this last month was full of extenuating circumstances. Anywho, needless to say, we were very eager to get to town and be with friends. We planned on staying Friday through Sunday night, but ended up staying until Monday. (we waited at the wharf Sunday evening for two hours-which honestly isn't a bad wait time. But when the boat got to town it was already dark, and as the boats have no lights on them and there was no moon, we were a little afraid. As luck would have it, the driver needed to refuel to be able to make it back, and, it being Sunday, the gas stations-along with every other business in town- were closed. All three of us Nuapapu teachers were stuck in town, so we didn't have school Monday.)

Friday night we shared a room with Ryan and Abby (the other married couple) and Harrison (because we love him that much) in a hostel in town.

We spent Saturday and Sunday night with Mandy, another volunteer, who doesn't live too far from town.

Mandy is going home for her sisters wedding next month. At the same time she is gone, my parents will be visiting here. We started to talk about change-if, or really, how and how much we've changed. And I think it's hard for us to gauge ourselves.....and even us volunteers to gauge each other-because life has been constant adjustments and changes these last , gosh, already 8 months. I am excited to sit down with two of my best friends, my mom and dad, and talk. I'm excited to do something I've done a million times, with people who have known me forever, and reflect on how I've changed.

I'd like to think I'm a little more laid back.
I'd like to think I'm a more independent wife.
I'd like to think I'm a little less sensitive.
I'd like to think I'm a little more open.
I'd like to think I'm a more willing friend.
I'd like to think I'm less vain, and a bit more simple.

I am most certainly more patient than ever. Than anyone. In the whole world. If there was a guinness book of world records for patience, Mark and I would hold the title.

But, certainly some changes are negative.

I'm a sloppy, unmannerly, and greedy eater.
I'm a sloppy, unmannerly, greasy dresser. Ha!
I'm beginning to be a sloppy, unmannerly, and dramatic english speaker.
I am, at times, less hopeful, more cynical, about this world and my dreams in it-about the reality of development and sustainable impacts in cross cultural work.

I guess only time will tell what we will take with us.


Easter Sunday with the Wesleyan church

Children's Sunday with the Pentecostal church

"Buffet" with the Mormon church

Faiva with the Church of Tonga (photo courtesy of the talented Mandi)

I guess it goes without saying that....we do church, a lot. :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Today, life changed. It's something I've been looking forward to, but, turns out, im sad. Light has finally come to the island of Nuapapu.

Mark told me time and again to appreciate our candle lit dinners....but have any of you ever tried to clean up a candle lit dinner with just candles? Its not easy!

I hope the stars still shine as bright.


I was never one who thought much about if or when it rains. I have always loved a loud storm, freshly baked cookies, and cuddling on the couch...but other than that....never cared.

In case you are wondering, our water supply on our little island comes from rain. Every house, or most, has a water tank, and some sort of gutter system going from the roof of their house, to the tank. We are no exception. However, because we live on the school compound, we share our tanks with the other two teachers, and all the students during the day. The rainy season in Tonga is from January-April, the dry season May-December. The last couple weeks, as we have neared the end of the rainy season, we began to take stock of our tanks. We were alarmed to find that one of them was almost empty, and the other was less than half full.

As we thought about all the buckets of water we use in any given drink, wash dishes, flush the toilet, bathe, cook with, water the garden...and don't even get me started on laundry....we began to get increasingly worried.

I've prayed for rain this last week. I've never really been someone who prayed about just seems presumptuous, somehow to me. But I prayed we wouldn't be consumed with worry about this. I prayed we would have everything we needed to live here for the next six months.

It's poured this week. I have definitely noticed.


Since we have arrived on our island (and I've heard, actually, for the last couple years), there have been a group of men coming and going who are working on providing every house here with solar power. The Japanese have gifted every building on every island in Vava'u, the gift of solar power.

As I said before, it's here. And though, in some ways, Im a little sad ( because the mystery of the night is a little undone now), I am also happy. I'm happy because I won't have to cook and clean by candlelight. I'm happy to never again search for my contact case with a flashlight. I'm happy that, for the first time since living here, we might actually be able to use our phones to talk to people (if only we could improve the network!) as they will be charged. I'm happy that after 7 o'clock, I now still have the option to DO something, anything! Like read, or plan lessons, or practice my uke. Oh light, you wonderful thing!

When the solar was turned on last night, the kids were next door at night class. When they came out and saw the light they started a hootin and a hollerin. They danced in the light. They laughed. They moved their bodies in silly ways then took such pleasure in being told that they could be seen-because of the light. I stood and watched them, pleased by their joy.

They ran off and soon after Mark and I heard lots of loud noises. We went to investigate, and found a really beautiful thing. The lights in the town hall had been turned on, and a lot of people had gathered to celebrate, bask, enjoy. There was dancing and shouting and literal jumping for joy. There was hugging and kissing and laughing. Those who hadn't gathered at the hall participated by occasionally hollering, and playing the "Tongan drum" ( a piece of tin roofing and sticks). It was neat to see, humbling to be apart of.

If you have never stopped to wonder, or smile, or be thankful, that when you flick a switch, light floods your life, you should.