Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Only in Tonga...

As you can see, I added some things to my blog, a list of books I've read here, links to my friends' blogs, and some other things. I rated the books on a scale from 1-10, ten being really super and one being barely readable. So if you're looking for a good book to read, there are some pretty good ones on that list! I actually just finished this book, I Know This Much is True which was really excellent, I highly recommend it. I also recommend checking out Sarahs Faka-Fabulous blog; she posted a Peace Corps Tonga Top 25 list which explains a lot about life as a PCV in Tonga, it's pretty funny. Also the latest Mo'ui Nonga blog- kinda took the words right out of my mouth, I couldn't have said it better myself. Malo, Saskia :)

So last Thursday my phone broke; it just turned off and wouldn't turn back on. It was only then that I realized that my phone was the only way I had of telling the time. My iPod isn't set to the correct time, and my little alarm clock got broken when it was thrown at the walls in an attempt to scare off the rats in the middle of the night. So Friday I went to school when the bell rang. Then on Saturday I realized that my shortwave radio had the time on it. Great! I walked to the other end of my island Saturday, had dinner with a few other PCV's, and by the time I got back to my house it was 10 o'clock. I hadn't realized it was that late! Sunday I went to church when the bells rang, and didn't do much the rest of the day. Monday I woke up, checked the shortwave radio and realized it was almost 8:30, when school should start. I rushed to get ready, then looked out my window and saw that there weren't that many kids at school yet, which is strange. Also none of the teachers were there. I assumed there was a reson school was starting late that I hadn't been made aware of, because that wouldn't be unusual. By the time the principal showed up it was 9:30, and I asked her why school was starting late today. She looked confused for a second, then apologized profusely and explained that it was cold out that morning. Uh, okay. After school I tried turning my phone on, and it worked again! I set it to my shortwave radio time, and set off to go use the internet. After being on the internet for an hour, I realized that my phone and the time setting on the computer were an hour off. That got me thinking. Then I asked someone what time it was. It was then that I realized I was an hour ahead. Not only was I an hour ahead, but I had been an hour ahead for three days. That was a little disorienting. That got me to thinking about how long I could possibly go in America being an hour off on the time. I concluded that it would have to be no more than an hour before I would figure out my mistake. Even on Sunday, there would be football which starts at a specific time. All the other days I would go meet with friends, go to school, work, there was no way I could get through an hour thinking the time was an hour off from what it actually was.

Speaking of disorienting, I saw the big dipper the other night. It was upside down. Then I realized that I was the one that was upside down. Then I got dizzy and had to stop thinking about it.

The library is coming along swiftly, I took a trip to Tongatapu a few weeks ago where I met with the Ministry of Finance about funding the project and got information on some grants as well as some possible sources for donating books. When I got back I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the PTA had met about it, found a builder, and he should finish his plans and proposal withing the next week or so. Things usually don't happen this fast in Tonga, and I'm excited that the whole community is really supportive of the library and willing to work to get it done.

I had a great teacher moment today. When I first started teaching here I had a little trouble controlling class 3/4. Their teacher used corporal punishment almost exclusively as the form of classroom management, and when they realized I wasn't going to hit them they took advantage of that a little. A few months ago I had to start doing something different with them. Now every day instead of sitting at their desks where they tend to play with things and hit each other, we sit on the floor in a circle and have our lessons there. When they come to the floor or return to their desks, I tell them, "When I say go, please quickly and quietly return the desks to where they belong and take a seat. Go." At first I timed them to see how quickly they could do it, but now they are pretty expert at it, and having that routine with them has worked wonders. I have almost no classroom management issues anymore, and class runs much more efficiently. The icing on the cake was that when I walked into the classroom today, the calss 3/4 teacher had them sitting on the floor for that lesson and when she saw me walk in she asked them to quickly and quietly return to their seat so I could begin. They did so perfectly, and no one was hit. She smiled at me and told me I could begin now. My heart swelled with pride :)