Saturday, July 9, 2011


This weekend was the end of rugby season, and I think I would be leaving out a significant part of Tongan culture if I didn't dedicate at least one blog post to the topic.

Tongans love rugby. It is probably the equivalent of American football in most parts of the U.S., but only the parts with crazy, die-hard fans who paint their bodies for games and fall into deep depressions at the end of the season. Our entire school schedule was switched because of rugby practices, I've heard rugby mentioned in church sermons and we are having a huge feast for our rugby team next week. It's a big deal.

Anyway, I enjoyed rugby season here in Tonga. At the school games, the students do lots of fun cheers and it is a big social event. The village games are a great way to spend an afternoon on Saturdays after shopping at the market. I still don't appreicate everything about rugby (i.e. it can be very violent) nor do I understand all the finer points of the game (scrums are endlessly confusing), but I do appreciate the school spirit and community spirit the game brings to Tongan. Although the schools and villages have finished their seasons, the Rugby World Cup starts soon, where the whole country will be rooting for Tongan national team. You can be sure I will be cheering for the Ikale Tonga team too!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July, July

After a fabulous month of June, it is time to return to school, fundraising, meetings, music classes, and the like. I think my recent holidays caused me to unknowingly embrace island time. Suddenly I find myself strolling over to school 15 minutes late and feeling strong resentment over the fact that I cannot take an after lunch nap. My morning crossword time is severely lacking and I can't take day trips to the beach. How frustrating.

Anyway, having so much free time on my hands recently did give me a lot of time to think about why I am here in Tonga and the things going on in America. I missed some big events that happened at home during the month of June; my little sister's high school graduation, a close friend's wedding, road trips. Even though I was able to see plenty of pictures, hear stories on skype, and get updates on facebook, I was still sad to miss these important occasions.

But rather than dwell on these missed opportunities, I instead choose to focus on the opportunities I have here. I work at an amazing school, the people of Tonga are lovely, and I am learning new things everyday. I am truly blessed to be here, even though I don't have time to finish my crosswords in the morning. There are plenty of exciting things coming up soon...a big catering event for my school, my dad's visit, and Camp GLOW. And for those of you who know me well in America, you know that I honestly like to stay busy and stay involved. I am excited for the work that is ahead and all the things this new month will bring!