Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Little Details

In Tonga nobody uses a dryer.
At first I thought that clothes would take nineteen years to actually dry considering that it's really humid here, but actually it's just the opposite. I was first expecting the humidity to be overwhelming, even though the temperature stays around 70-75 degrees every day. But I have only noticed the humidity when my hair is drying or sometimes when I'm inside it feels a bit muggy. Nothing too bad, though. The wind is constantly blowing. Literally, constantly. There have only been a couple times when I've realized that the wind is closer to a breeze than wind.

When I first got here the first thing I thought was, "I definitely should have brought more sweaters." It sounds pathetic, but honestly I felt really cold the first few days. Now I'm making myself not wear a sweater, but I'm not outside as much as I was before I came to the school.

The windows are always open here. I don't even think that any windows I've seen can completely be shut. The glass is similar to how some of our blinds in the states are - they are divided up into sections and can be opened wide or closed off a little more. I don't know if that makes sense, but regardless, the windows don't shut.

I haven't seen any 6" poisonous centipedes yet, thank goodness. I have seen an extremely large spider, and my family has a cat that likes to sit on my suitcases when I'm not looking. So I don't know if those can fit in the same category, but there you go.

I guess the cat is a little bit cute.

There are dogs everywhere and they are better pedestrians than I am. They are very aware of traffic and I don't think I've seen any dog roadkill yet.

If anything kills me when I'm here, it will be the sound of a rooster. The roosters like to call to other neighbor roosters all night, and I'm just like, "Hey, could you expand your vocabulary because I'm getting sick of the same "cockledoodledoo" my whole life". But maybe I'll get so used to the chorus of roosters that I'll buy a flock when I come back to the states.

White people are like a novelty here. They call us "palangi" (pah lahn gee), and it's almost like a title. People stare at us and smile/wave/say hi or bye as they walk by. Everyone is really friendly. When I'm at school and groups of students are walking to class, it gets confusing because so many people are saying hi. Sometimes kids will say "bye" or "hi" and then turn to their friends and giggle. Sometimes in class people will start speaking in Tongan, and all of a sudden you'll hear "palangi" in the conversation and everyone will turn to look back and they'll laugh or smile. It's kind of weird having people be so aware of me, but it's adorable how respectful the students are. Today I went to the canteen to buy some water, and the girls in front of us looked back and immediately moved to let us go ahead of them in line. Students will give up their seats, and they love it when I choose to sit next to them in class.

In some classes, the teachers let me introduce myself and let the class ask me questions. When I tell them I am learning to be an art teacher, everyone sighs and thinks that's so cool. Once I was asked my age, and they thought that was equally as cool. When someone asked if I was married, they all giggled when I said no. It's cute how interested they are in the tiny details about my life.


  1. Sounds like you're having a great experience there! I remember thinking a lot of the things you wrote as I was entering the Fiji Suva Mission. The roosters....oh the roosters! I wrote specifically about them in my journal after my first "night" in Nadi, Fiji. The slotted windows were also something that I learned to appreciate during those hot days! Get used to the "palangi" talk. They'll grow on you, though! I heard that for two years! :) Seems like you are doing well. Stay healthy!

    1. I remember when you were in Fiji! That was a while ago, wasn't it? I hope she doesn't get sick like you did. The roosters would drive me crazy. I think Bethany will do okay. She's sure appreciating cleanliness now.