The last week has been full of lots of celebrations for me...a Peace Corps Christmas party, New Year's, and my birthday!
Since most of us needed to stay in our communities on Christmas day, we decided to postpone our palangi Christmas celebration until the 29th. The 8 of us who were in Vava'u at the time met up at the Peace Corps office and had a gift exchange and cooked dinner. We made some awesome bruschetta and pasta complete with real mozzarella cheese.
On New Year's Eve, a group of us met up to go to dinner and celebrate my birthday a bit early. My birthday fell on a Sunday this year, and it is nearly impossible to do anything on a Sunday in Tonga. Therefore, we decided a joint New Year's/birthday would work. The other PCVs got me a lovely chocolate cake, and my friend Stephanie got me a couple cans of Diet Dr. Pepper. After dinner, we went over to the Mermaid where we spent the rest of the night dancing and welcoming 2011.
New Year's Day was remarkably similar to New Year's in the U.S. I spend a large part of the day napping and reading, and then had a delicious dinner of pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. It was almost like being back in PA!
Now that the holidays are over, I am getting more involved in community activities. I have been attending VEPA (Vava'u Environmental Protection Agency) meetings, going to CrossFit classes in the mornings at a local restaurant, and attending a lot of church events. This week is "uike lotu" or "week of prayer", so there is church several times everyday. I have been attending the 5:30 pm service as opposed to the 5:00 am service.
2011 is off to a amazing start, and I am sure there are lots of wonderful things to come. Wishing everyone a joyful and blessed New Year!