Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I'd mentioned the dog, Suke, in a previous blog that belonged to my landlord's family. Suke has since disappeared and when the family returned from their holiday on Vava'u, the youngest boy wondered the neighborhood for a whole day calling the dog's name. It was so disheartening. I helped in the search and when Suke was no where to be found, we chalked up his loss as being picked up as the main course for a Uike Lotu feast. The boy's mother gave him money to buy a coke and a lolly from the falekaloa and he seems to be doing fine. Suke, you will be missed and in the end, I suppose you served a greater good.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

...turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese....

Ok I don't really think so but I do think that I am majorly impressed by the JICA, Japanese volunteer organization in the Pacific, that I have met. One of my co-workers has Japanese heritage, which is very rare for Tongans, and frequently hosts the Japanese volunteers. She was hosting a dinner this past weekend and thought to invite me. The Japanese volunteers cooked Japanese food (I helped, sort of "I carried a watermelon", or cut the fish into pieces, whatever) while they asked me about American t.v.(Everyone loves our tv, especially ANTM. Tyra has truly taken over the world) and bantered in Japanese, English and Tongan. Truly bilingual people blow me away. I would laugh awkwardly at the punch lines delivered in English until someone decided to translate for me. We sat down to a dinner of shashimi, misou soup, rice and vegetables and the Japanese couldn't help but seriously doubt my skills with chop sticks and handed me a fork. I set the fork asided and displayed my well-practiced sushi bar skills, most were impressed but then dropped cabbaged on my lap. Ah well, silly palangi. Before our night cap of green tea, my co-worker busted out her Casio electric keyboard to initiate some karoke. It worked and soon I was performing a duet of "A Whole New World" and learning Japanese pre-school songs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Ah... Home, Sweet, ! Jesus, Mary and Joseph, What is that?!"

The Friday after swearing-in I was able to move all of my stuff into my house and finally begin life outside of a suitcase. I live in the village Longolongo, which is, essentially, a "suburb" of Nuku'alofa. There is a Weslayn Church across the drive from me where frequent services are held; particualarly now since Uike Lotu, Week of Prayer, is coming up, and the men drink kava and play ping pong nightly. The house I live in has a kitchen (yes I have a stove and a fridge. I am definitely a "city girl")/ main room, a bed room and a bathroom with running water. ( Once again, spoiled. Sometimes the water is even warm because the pipes get heated by the sun but that happens to be the time when you really don't want warm water.)The place is attached to the landlord's house. There is a thin door seperating the bedrooms but he and his family live at the Theological college campus so I have the property all to myself. Suke, the dog, came with the house. The land owner asked if I wouldn't mind taking care of him when he gave me the keys and I said,"sure." Of course, he kind of takes care of himself. It is definitely survival of the fittest for the dogs on these streets. Suke is, however, the sweetest dog I have encountered in Tonga. He isn't really use to humans speaking to him in the manner that I do, or petting him, so initially when I would get close to him and coo at him, he would get so excited that he would piddle on himself and being male, almost get me most of the time. I moved in to my home with the realization that this will be my first residence where I will be living alone, yet I have discovered a handful of various "flatmates" if you will, and I must say I've had better. I technically considered myself renting the place from the termites. They were here first and they have definitely settled themselves in. The ants are actually entertaining as they march various patterns on the walls and the least of my concerns, as Duane's baby powder trick really works. The millipedes like to die in the shower drain, I am not sure why and the mosquitoes are well, this is Tonga. The smoke from the mosquito coils actually make my place feel a bit mystical to me, like an odd smelling incense. The momocho or geckos also add to the mystic feel since they make noises like mini raptures and I can pretend that there are dinasours in the walls. The cat likes to mess with the coachroaches, which fly when it rains, and carry them around in her mouth. (They are too big to actually fit in her mouth) I am currently cat-sitting and taking care of a kitten whom I call "Cougar". She is wonderful but also a piddler. And then there is the maulikou, or Lucifer's centipedes. These bugs are straight out of hell and sting like hornets. Cougar tried to go after one that was on my curtains but it hissed at her and she ran away with her ears pulled back. Okay not really, but it did beat her in combat. So I came at it with a can of roach spray. The beast curled up, making me feel that I had delivered the "one-two punch", and then came at me, fast! I continued spraying and ran for a weapon. I began pounding at it with a hammer. The spray finally slowed its movements enough that I struck it, right in the middle. I then proceded to pummel it. Success. The hell creature was dead.