"It's Tonga" Moments of the Week:
- The following conversation took place in the post office last week:
Me: "Uh, hi, can I mail this?"
Mail person: "You have to wait until Lupe returns from lunch"
Me: "Oh, okay, when will she get back?"
MP: "At 1:30"
Me: "Uh...it's 1:45"
Me: "So... when do you think she'll be back?"
Me: "Right, I'll come back later."
-I was riding in a van with some other of the PCV's on my island, and they were talking about someone who got married the week before. I didn't know who they were talking about, and asked. I got the following description: "The girl who's brother drives way too fast down the road in the blue car." And knew exactly the girl they were talking about.
Last week a few PCV's from other island groups came to visit us out here on 'Eua, and what a treat! It was really interesting to see how different their lives are from ours and hearing updates on everyone. The volunteers from Tongatapu (the big island) referred to it as "sin city" because you could get a beer there, among other things. We all got together and went to the Hideaway, a little resort on our island, and the only place that has a menu you can order food off of (you have to do it the morning before you actually want the food, but still). Once the food got there, someone observed that of the eight of us PCV's eating, seven of us had set our napkins and silverware aside and were eating with our hands. Haha.Napkins are kind of a foreign concept here, although during the attachment phase of training the PCV I stayed with found that the tissue paper that our toilet paper rolls comes in works well as napkins. That's not something I've picked up yet at my house.
Like I said before, it was really interesting to hear how different everyone's experiences have been so far, one guy from Tongatapu commented, "I spend more money on ice cream than Peace Corps pays me!" Which was hilarious and sad at the same time because the ice cream shop is across from his house and we rarely get ice cream in 'Eua. Here in 'Eua we spend hardly any money at all because there's really nothing to spend it on. Our neighbors tend to bring us food from the bush, we don't have any shops or restaurants, and there's just not much we need out here. Although, one thing I have been living without the past few months is a mirror. (It's amazing what not having for a mirror does for your vanity, although I used to sometimes take a picture of myself with my camera before going to school to make sure I didn't have food on my face, but then my camera broke.) After dinner I went to use the restroom at Hideaway and saw a mirror for the first time in two months. It blew my mind. I must have stayed in there for ten minutes making faces at myself.
We learned that the volunteers on the main islands are able to go out to bars, wear pants ( I could, theoretically, and I do when I go hiking, but it's pretty traditional out here), and buy things like mirrors. One even has internet in his house, while I have to walk an hour to use the internet. But on the other hand they don't get to watch the whales breaching off the coast from above on a cliff, or explore caves and hike through the rainforest. And I would definetely choose 'Eua over Tongatapu. But it was very interesting to hear the differences from volunteers who are a seven-minute plane ride away! And it was great to see them again, because we don't get visitors too often! We showed them around the island for the weekend and a good time was had by all.
I'm officially more than two months into my actual service, and still going strong! Wahoo!