Saturday, April 9, 2011
Group 76 Reunion
6 months in Tonga....wow! It has been half a year since I arrived in this tiny island nation. Half a year since I last saw my family. Half a year since I last ate Taco Bell. But seriously, it is a wonderful feeling to know that I have made it this far, and I am sure there are great things to come in the months ahead. Last week was a pleasant reminder of all the amazing things that Peace Corps volunteers are doing here in Tonga. All of us from Group 76 were reunited in Nuku'alofa for our In-Service Training (IST). We covered many topics including funding opportunities, Tongan language classes, environmental issues, etc., but by far the best part of the week was seeing all the other volunteers. It was fantastic to hear their stories. Many volunteers have opened up libraries at their schools, started after school programs, made close friends in their communities, and much more. We shared stories about teaching, about living in different island groups, and lots of funny anecdotes about life in Tonga. While in Nuku'alofa, I also did a lot of shopping. They have a great market with lots of second-hand clothes, jewelry, handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, and other miscellaneous things. I found some great clothes, new sunglasses, and some things for my house. I was even able to find lots of apple items (I have a slight obsession with apples). I bought an apple shirt, an apple candle, apple soap, and apple body spray. The only thing that would've made it better would have been having mom, Rachel, and Kristen with me...I miss my shopping buddies! This week I will be back in school teaching a unit on dealing with problem customers. There are lots of activities and role plays, so it should be fun! Also, the U.S. Navy is coming on Wednesday with approximately 600 sailors and volunteers as part of a program called the Pacific Partnership. They will be provided medical services, working on engineering projects, and playing sports with the school children. It should be a fun week!