Oh, Yea

FYI- I did it I finished my Peace Corps service. It has been bitter sweet so I am glad to have another few weeks there in December. Saying goodbye for real might be hard though. Now I am traveling in New Zealand for a few weeks and IT IS COLD! I don't know how I will survive Michigan next month. I am feeling randomly overwhelmed but overall good. More adventures to come. Peace
-Alice

The last loaf of bread

Well the Close Of Service conference is over and I am closing up shop here. Just so you know I am officially finishing my service November 12 and traveling to New Zealand for a few weeks. I will be back in Tonga for the last day of school with my students and then back to America mid December.

Flag

What is the difference between Tonga and America?  I love that question mainly because there is no possible answer to it.  Or rather there are 1,000,000 ways to answer making it too broad a question for anyone to pose in conversation.  So instead of attempting to answer that question I will just relate another of my observations for your amusement.

M. S. Princess Ashika

A new (to Tonga) passenger/cargo ship brought in as an alternative to the Pulupaki to travel from Tongatapu to Vava’u stopping in Ha’afeva and Lifuka Ha’apai. The hope was to have this nicer boat with tooms inside and even snacks available so people would feel less likie the cargo they were traveling amongst.

Tsunami

Hi everyone, just a quick note to say I am ok, safe, unharmed physically as is everyone on my island. Some volunteers and I compared notes this morning so here is what we found to have happened.

Yesterday morning there was an earthquake off the coast of Samoa. It was a 7.9-8.3, or a big one and it was 30-80km below the surface, or close to the surface. Those conditions combined make for tsunamis.

I'm Back!

Sorry folks I know it has been a while. Some things have changed and I have been quite caught up with the changes. I spent a month in America (june/ july) to be with my grandmother as she passed. Now I am back in Tonga, settling back in and recording my experiences the old fasioned way with pen and paper. So finding time in town to type then send them is putting my letters farther behind. I do like this system though. I had forgotten how nice it is to write, actually write not type and I am enjoying the experience.

Fetu’u To

Well Peace Corps is full of dos and don’ts and I try to be conscious of their wishes, but more importantly I try to be conscious of the culture I live in. After a year and ten months living in Tonga I have a good idea what is expected of me. Moreover I have a good idea who is paying attention and who isn’t. That said, the other night I was writing before bed. I had had a drink, but that is it, who wants to drink alone anyway? I didn’t necessarily want to be alone, but it was after dark so I couldn’t really go anywhere.

Uafu (wharf)

Laukau, my co-worker asked if I wanted to go to the wharf with her to pick up her grandfather. I didn’t have anything else going on and I had only been to the wharf with Peace corps, so sure, new experience. We headed to town at about 5. The drive in, a few quick stops and we were there before 6. We parked and Laukau asked if I wanted to eva (go out, walk around) or just wait in the car. Having no idea what the time frame of this outing was I decided to go, worst case scenario we find him quick and jump back in the car.

Peace Corp Ending

My COS (close of service) conference is next week and I am SO EXITED!! I have been thinking for some time about the possibilities of what to do after Peace Corps and now it is time to really decide. As of now I am debating officially cosing in November (one month early) so I can travel to New Zealand or Fiji. Then returning to Tonga for the graduation of my students and my counterparts wedding. This leaves me precious little time to get home before the party, but I can do it! After the holidays the job search begins so if you hear of any Art Teacher jobs available, let me know.

Distances

Although many volunteers have left, we still have a lot here (based on land mass and population). Still we are definitely not packed. Part of that is just the geography of Tonga. My friend Bria lives 20 miles away and I can see her village from mine. But since she lives on the next island over, ‘Eua it is expensive and time consuming to get there. As for Tongatapu, my island, the big island, it is still small. The perception to Tongans is that it is huge, probably because it is the biggest they have. Still it is only 35km to town from my house and I live far away.