The kids have fallen asleep and need to be woken up. We've been crowded on in uncomfortable positions for well over an hour, we stretch. I hear the plow coming from a distance. The women are laughing. The men light up (again). One of the "youth" jumps ashore and ties up the boat. We begin unloading. There's root crop, by the basket full. Suitcases, bags, diapers, toilet paper, boxes of noodles, boxes of crackers, boxes of bread, boxes of meat. We climb out, handing over babies, and baskets for each other. Once its all unloaded we just sit awhile. The plow (a tractor with a small trailer) is coming, but mark and I rarely ride. We talk about the weather. We joke about Mark running away to kava. We stare out over the ocean. Theres a lot we dont understand about each other, but what we do have in common is we are home. What a wonderful thing, coming home.
The beauty. The scent of the ocean. The colors of the sunset. The sound of the waves. The "culture" of our wharf ( just to the right). The freedom of the children, and their responsibility as well. The isolation. The hard-to-get-to ness of our little island. The laughter of the adults as they tease each other. The roosters crowing, the church bells ringing, my students practicing the English I've taught them "cat- c.a.t.". Home.
I love that I know this place. Know where to go, know who is who, know what's being talked about, know what's going on, know what's culturally appropriate and inappropriate, know how to make jokes in Tongan. I know this place. I am known in this place. Home.