Here in Tonga, the holidays are now in full swing. Not only is Christmas quickly approaching, but last week was graduation which marked the official end of school. In other words, in Tonga it is summer break and Christmas at the same time! How fabulous is that? This magical combination means that the past couple weeks have been lots of fun.
The first holiday celebration I attended in Tonga was our Peace Corps Thanksgiving dinner. We were able to track down all the traditional Thanksgiving foods; turkey from Tongatapu, stuffing and cranberry sauce from America, homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. Yum! Also, it was great to spend some time with my Peace Corps family.
Last Tuesday was our Christmas program at school. Even though it's still November, Tongan schools usually do a Christmas program early before summer break begins. Each class was responsible for preparing a Christmas tree. Most classes brought in regular old trees with branches and leaves because pine trees are non-existent in Tonga. Even though most weren't traditional Christmas trees, they still looked beautiful with all of the garland, ornaments, and balloons. The program also included lots of Christmas songs. My favorite was "The 12 days of Christmas" performed by Class 1 and Class 2. So cute!
The most recent celebration was our graduation ceremony on Thursday. It was very different than most graduations I've attended in America. There were the usual speeches and announcements of the top students, but there was also lots of music, tons of candy necklaces and money as gifts from students' families, and a table full of prizes. It was also my first time attending a ceremony where I had students graduating. I was so proud of them all! Now it's time to travel, relax, and visit with family and friends.
Happy holidays everyone!