Thursday, June 6, 2013

Changes II

I'd like to think I'm a little more laid back.

(because...this is island time and island ways. And, I have learned the hard way, absolutely nothing is scheduled, or planned ahead for.)

I'd like to think I'm a more independent wife.

(because there was a time when, between marks two jobs, and my own responsibilities, I did not see much of my husband. Then, I was jealous of every minute with him. Now...I see him...always. It has been good for my heart, and it has allowed me to let go a little).

I'd like to think I'm a little less sensitive.

(because people here, due to cultural differences and whatnot, are constantly criticizing. If its not my horrible Tongan, it's that I'm gaining weight, or my bad singing. Im learning to roll with it).

I'd like to think I'm a little more open.

(because after awhile, I found that I was judging a lot of things I didn't understand. But learning a new culture, a new people, is just peeling layers....I've got a lot more discovering to do, there's a lot of things I don't understand here...but that doesn't mean I should wipe my hands of it, people, this experience/process).

I'd like to think I'm a more willing friend.

(because, to be honest, I've never been more lonely. But, here I am, as alone as ever, with an entire island of people that can't escape me, and whom I can't escape from. Friendships, on some level or another, are bound to happen.)

I'd like to think I'm less vain, and a bit more simple.

(partly because the one mirror we have is broken. Partly because I smell bad and am dirty lots of the time. Partly because of what the south pacific and mosquitoes do to ones skin. It's not pretty. A lot because I just don't have access to many "things" that complicate, or overcrowd, or accumulate, here on the island).

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.

(because I have to wait, a lot. The record is 8 hours. Because nothing, ever, is on my timeline-that is a humbling thing. You spend a day completely at the whim of anyone else. It's hard....the need to be flexible and patient is mandatory. Oh..I've thrown my tantrums about it. But I've learned, the best thing you can do is just try and enjoy it.)

But, certainly some changes are negative.

I'm a sloppy, unmannerly, and greedy eater.

(because some of my eating habits have become a little...fakatonga. And because my greed for good food is unquenchable and I become an animal when I have access to it-particularly when I have to share it).

I'm a sloppy, unmannerly, greasy dresser.

(this is simple-I hand wash my clothes. If buster jumps up with muddy paws, and streaks my shirt-it stays, it stains. In fact, that did happen, 4 months ago. Those paw prints still stand proudly on my yellow shirt. Have you seen my husband eat? Every bite of food he has spilled and dripped down his shirt is still very much visible. So, we aren't clean. And on top of that, between weight loss and hanging our clothes on the line-nothing fits. Marks shorts fall off of him, my shirts...well, let's just say they over expose. When we go out to dinner with friends in town we look quite different than the other palangis traveling through on their super yachts- and has anyone seen marks hair recently? It's as long as mine! .... I actually think this island look suits him just fine...).

I'm beginning to be a sloppy, unmannerly, and dramatic english speaker.

( because I use English less, I am finding it takes me longer to search for words in that brain is constantly thinking, then translating, thinking then translating. It is exhausting. At night I fall asleep translating whole dialogues in my head. So that's one part. The other part is, I'm not getting to express the amount I'm used when I do get to say something, in English, to someone other than mark, it's dramatic. If I've been angered about something-I'm really angry. If happy- I'm through the roof).

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.

(because, I often ask myself, what will I leave behind here? What will stick? What stuck from previous volunteers? The answer is....not a lot. What do sustainable projects look like in Tonga, or anywhere? What does development look like after the "developers" leave? If I choose a life overseas, will I have friends? or will this loneliness be apart of my life? Will I always have to live without berries and tortilla chips or can something else be arranged?Lots of questions-good questions. If anything from these 8 months here, I better know what questions to ask myself to prepare for our future).


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