Last week was not only the beginning of school, but also the return of a large group of students and teachers from a band trip to Australia. The group was flying to Nuku'alofa, then taking the ferry back up to Vava'u. Their return was scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday, but the hurricane delayed the boats. It was finally confirmed that they would be returning on Thursday. Our school was planning a kai pola (feast) once the boat arrived. Throughout the day, the time of arrival kept getting pushed back later and later. First it was 5 p.m., then 11 p.m, and finally 2 a.m.! You would assume since the boat was arriving so late that the feast would have to be postponed until the following day. But no, it was decided that the feast would be held once everyone was off the boat as it was orginally polanned. Therefore, at 4 a.m. I was feasting on roasted pig, pizza, sweet and sour chicken, sausage, and fried chicken. Eating was one thing, but listening to the fakamalos (thank you speeches) for the next hour and a half proved rather difficult. Heads were down on the tables all around as kids and adults alike dozed off. Admittedly, I may have been part of that group at one point during the night. I was quite happy to return to my bed around 6 a.m. and call it a night!
On Sunday, I once again joined a family from our church for Sunday lunch. There is a group of girls about my age, including another Peace Corps Volunteer, Ashley, who are good friends and have been kindly inviting me to hang out with them. After eating a dlicious lunch and visiting for a bit, a van came by to pick us up. I hopped in, planning on returning to my house for my other favorite Sunday activity, napping. However, as we started driving, I realized we were headed through town, which is the opposite direction from my house. Confused, I asked where we were going. Turns out we were going to the beach to hang out. It was a nice, relaxing afternoon at the beach, but it taught me to ask where vehicles are taking me before assuming the destination!
With all of the students and teachers back from Australia, school is now in full swing. Monday and Tuesday were spent doing orientation and cleaning the school buildings and grounds. For the rest of the week, the catering students are taking field trips to local businesses. We are going to restuarants, a hotel, a bakery, and the market. It is essential for the students to see these businesses because many of them have never eaten at a restaurant or stayed at a hotel. Before we begin studying the catering and hospitality industry, it is good for them to see examples firsthand. Next week we start our first unit, and the students will start preparing for the inter-house track and field competition. I may try to channel my Jr. High track experience and coach the throwers...maybe.