Friday, January 6, 2012

Welcome back!

After an eventful trip involving being stuck in LA and sick on the airplanes, I couldn't have been more relieved to land in Tonga. My month-long leave in America was fantastic but I was definitely restless by the end. I was ready to trade in the cold for the heat and the turkey sandwiches for the 'ota ika (raw fish).

I just want to share a few moments that reminded me how unique my current home is. First, while I was waiting for my ride to pick me up, I ran into a teacher I used to work with. After a "Happy New Year" wish, she launched right into tell me how many family members she had to feed during the holidays. The only part of my trip she seemed interested in was what I ate in America and if I brought back candy. ("Yes of course I brought some, here is some chocolate!")

Welcome back...!

Second, I was picked up in a small black car with windows rolled down. This felt quite ominous as the clouds were blackening above us. The rain started slowly, eventually leading into a downpour with thunder and lightning. I look to roll up the window but the only thing in the door are a few wires sticking out. The driver smiles, pulls over, leans across me, and begins playing with the wires until they connect with some wire at my feet. The next thing I know, the window is slowly inching upwards. We spend the rest of the drive in the stifling, humid heat, of the air-conditionless car, with only one semi-working windshield wiper.

Welcome back...!

Finally, I arrive home. I lug my suitcase through the muddy puddles, soaking my shoes and pants in the process. (Clearly, I did not arrive in appropriate Tonga attire!) I take a cold shower, put on better clothes for humidity, and fall onto my bed. You may think I'm exasperated by this whole process, but I couldn't stop smiling.

It's good to be back, seriously.