Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nothing Gold Can Stay

We are leaving the Kingdom of Tonga and our little island of Ha'apai. Brett will be medically seperated for his leg, and I will get interrupted service status. We knew this might be coming and had thought about it for awhile, but still are very sad to be leaving early.

We will miss all our great friends here in Ha'apai, our neighbors, and our work counterparts. We will miss our beach, and the sound of crashing waves every night as we fall asleep. We will miss the sunsets on our beach, we've seen a sunset almost every night for the last 16 months. We will miss the amazing coral reefs, fish, and whales (not the sharks). We will miss seeing volcanoes out our back door. We will miss trying to converse in Tongan (although we'll try skyping with our neighbors back in Tonga in Tongan). We will miss the fresh fish, tropical fruit, and lobster (not the lack of vegetables). We will probably miss the incredibly hot weather once we're back in the freezing cold Midwest winter. We will miss the easy-going island pace to life. These things and many more we will miss. We went to help the locals in another country with our skills and English language, but learned so much in return. Not every country needs to be "westernized", and I hope Ha'apai doesn't change too much in the coming years.

We have been able to do some amazing things during Peace Corps here, including swimming with humpback whales, teaching adults how to use computers who have never touched a computer before, teaching kids English and how to play soccer, creating a website for tourism on our island and teaching locals how to use it, helping the US Navy with a humanitarian mission with our local connections and being adapted into the culture, establishing an Internet cafe, and more. It's funny that on this little remote island we almost feel more connected to the community than we did back home in a big city. The important people in town know us and sometimes come to us for help - the judge, the assistant governor, town officers, the police, local business owners, etc. We never walk down a street without someone yelling out a greeting. And we now know how to survive every natural disaster possible that could hit our island. We have had many ups and downs here, but looking back we wouldn't change a thing.

We are very excited to see our family and friends back home. Thank you for all the love and support while we've been here in Tonga. We are actually surprising everyone back home, so this will be posted later once we are already home. Then we will post some more about our last week in Ha'apai, going away parties and such. We are looking forward to whatever comes next for us - either looking for new jobs again or spending some time traveling. We will keep up the blog for a little while longer going through our culture shock back home and first few months or so. Then if we start a new blog we'll post a link. Below is our "wall of love" of cards and things we've gotten in the mail while in Tonga. Thanks again everyone for following our blog, and also let us know if you have any job leads for either of us.
And good luck to the rest of our group of volunteers with the coming year, and new volunteers just starting their service on our island, here are a few blogs you can watch for updates from our area: http://tongabunga.blogspot.com, http://johnoutsidethelines.blogspot.com, http://juleigh.wordpress.com, http://aliciapeacecorps.blogspot.com, or just check out www.peacecorpsjournals.com to see blogs listed by country.

1 comment:

Fins 'n' Flukes, Ha'apai, Tonga. said...

We miss you loads, guys, but we wish you all the best for whatever you'll get up to and hope that we'll see you again sometime soon!