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.


  1. Sounds like you're enjoying your time in the Tonga. How much longer will you be there? I will be moving out there this summer with my family and we're trying to get some ideas on cost of living. If you have time, I'd love to get your input on a variety of things. - Joe Taylor

  2. Good morning how are you?
    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys travelling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.
    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.
    For all this I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Tonga? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Tonga in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.
    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours faithfully

    Emilio Fernandez