After flying from Cleveland to L.A. to Fiji to Nuku'alofa, my dad arrived here in beautiful Vava'u on July 26th. He came with a suitcase marked "very heavy" and a handful of Tongan words, ready to experience my life here in Peace Corps Tonga.
The first couple days dad was here, we spent a lot of time relaxing, allowing him to adjust to the new time zone. We went to morning assembly at my school and saw some classrooms. We also walked around town, stopping at places like the wharf, the Peace Corps office, and some shops.
Friday was our first adventure...whale watching! Unfortunately, the waters were especially rough which resulted in some people on our boat getting seasick. Thankfully, dad and I took motion sickness pills in the morning and went the whole day without getting sick. We were able to see quite a few whales throughout the day, which was fantastic! We also stopped at an island for lunch and some snorkeling. Some people attempted to get in the water to swim with the whales, but were not successful. Maybe next time!
Saturday we took a trip out to one of the resort islands, Mala. We spent the day kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking around the island. It was a gorgeous day, and gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful island.
Sunday was an important day at my church because it was the last Sunday for our boy's head tutor before he leaves for Tongatapu. All the students and teachers attended church, and the school band provided accompaniment for the music. I borrowed some Tongan clothes from my neighbors for dad...he looked great! Sunday afternoon we went for a drive to some beaches on the island and just made it back for the afternoon church service. After church, there was a dinner for the head tutor, so dad experienced a Tongan feast. He tried some raw fish, octopus, and, of course, roasted pig!
Monday was a public holiday, so in the morning we went to one of the lookout points. It was a little bit of a hike, but the view of the cliffs and beaches is well worth it. After that, we went to the beach for a picnic and some swimming. Finally, Monday night we celebrated a volunteer's birthday with some pizza and drinks and a local restaurant.
After a busy weekend, Tuesday we just relaxed and did some laundry. However Tuesday night was a momentous occasion...dad's first time drinking kava! He went to the local police and fire station, enjoying the Tongan music and lots of joking.
Today we hiked to the top of Mt. Talau, the highest point of Vava'u. We saw some fantastic views of Neiafu, the harbor, and the outer islands. It was a little hot, but a nice adventure.
More things to come next week!