It’s hard to believe that I have been at my home stay for almost 2 weeks now! My host family is wonderful…I couldn’t ask for more hospitable people. There are 11 people in my house, my host parents, 4 girls about my age, 2 boys my age, and 3 kids. My host sister, Manu, is also 22 and she is awesome. She speaks English, so she is able to translate for me. Also, the kids are adorable. Vika is 5, Mote is 3 and Luce is 1. They are also great for helping me practice Tongan. If they give me a confused look, I know I said something wrong!
My host family has been great about including me in a lot of recent events. For one, I got to attend a Tongan choir practice. It was interesting for me because their music used a number system instead of the normal music notation. It was definitely good practice for learning intervals. Also, they are loud! Their dynamics could use a little work.
Another event I attended was a hulahula (dance). The music they played was about a 50/50 split of Tongan music and American music. My host sisters are awesome dancers, and I had a good time with them. Speaking of music, the music they play at my house is very interesting. They have a bizarre mix of contemporary Christian, traditional Tongan, American pop, and rap music. I love the contrast of “Shout to the Lord” and Lil Wayne. One night I got to watch some music videos, including “Ice Cream Paint Job”. Yessssss!
Rugby is an extremely popular sport in Tonga, so last weekend I went with some of my host family and a few trainees to watch some games in town. I don’t completely understand the game yet, but I am sure I will figure it out eventually. I might even try playing a little bit…my host sister plays on a team and she said I could practice with them. Luckily they just play touch, not tackle!
Although I’ve been able to do some really fun things, most of my time so far has been spent in class learning Tongan. In my village there are 3 other trainees and we have language classes together Monday through Thursday. On Fridays our whole group of 26 gets together for training regarding safety, medical, etc. When we aren’t in class, we usually head to the beach to cool off and study. At night, my village has been watching a lot of “Arrested Development”.
At the end of this week, I will find out my site placement. This includes where I will be working and what my job will be….exciting stuff! From what I already know, I think I will be teaching at a tertiary school somewhere in the island group of Vava’u. But that could easily change, so I have to wait until Thursday to find out for sure. Only a couple more days!!!
Here are a couple pics (there are some more on facebook)...group 76 arriving at the airport, a sunset, and my Tongan attire!