Hey everyone! I'm thankful to report that all is well in safe in Tonga! We were on tsunami alert after the devastating earthquake in Japan but aside from a visible rise and fall in the sea level, we were okay. Thanks to everyone for their concerns and prayers!
I am currently uploading my first Tongan photo album on Facebook so be sure to check it out! Facebook seems to be uploading them faster than my blog site so you may just have to start finally accepting my friend requests and check 'em out ;)
Today's Sunday and after a nice church service, and a yummy feast at my friend's home, I am netting away at the PC office :)
Things have been going very well here in Tonga. I finally have gotten over the flu and thanks to some 'Women's One-A-Day' vitamins, and to my Crossfit Aerobics class, i've been feeling great! Getting in shape for bathing suit season which is every day here, of course! So, it doesn't help that i'm already pretty far behind :)
The weather is absolutely beautiful! It's not nearly as hot or humid as it was last year but it still gets up to high 90s every day and the air can be so hot as well. My friends and I like to lay out a Tongan woven mat under the breadfruit and mango trees to cool off. We'll use breadruit leaves or cardboard torn from boxes to use as fans. It's too hot to go swimming when the sun is out but on cloudy and rainy days, the wharf is full of people; children running, and doing insane flips off the wharf and into the water :) It's the hot spot to be!
We're already almost four months into school. We started in January with teacher planning week and staff meetings. School classes were to also start in January but we took our time and had classes officially starting around the second week in February...not that much of a delay, eh?
School, however, is great! I'm teaching Form 3 this year. My kids are about fifteen years old. I teach two classes at the Form 3 level and I teach Class I and Class II at the Sau Faupula Christian Bilingual Primary School. My kids are four-six years old. They are just starting to learn basic English so I am actually learning a lot more of my Tongan language just by working with them. I am all alone in the classroom so you can imagine it can be quite challenging. But, they are kids, and like kids all over the world, they love singing, dancing, and learning. We sing a lot of songs and rehearse our bible verses in both English and in Tongan. I have a puppet I brought back with me from the states that the students have named Jack. He comes with me to class everyday and they love to learn English with Jack!
In addition to my own classes, I am still running the English Language Lab which I started last year. It's open all day for students to read, play English games, etc. Some students are still to shy to come in but it gives me such joy to see the students take advantage of the lab. They love flipping through the picture books of Dr. Seuss and reading the Hannah Montana chapter books :)
I have also started teaching an afterschool English program for kids at the primary school level. I started in February so i'll keep you posted on how that goes....as of now, however, it's a huge success! I have kids knocking on my door an hour- and sometimes two hours before it starts, to make sure i'm ready and going!
I'm also busy with sports practice after school but, to be quite honest, myself and all the teachers just use it as time to relax and chit-chat under the mango tree. I used to be a lot more active and have the kids run sprints and do exersizes. I used to wear running clothes myself to work out with them but that's a little to intense...a little to 'palangi' of me to be so active....hhh
Our sports week is this week and our students will compete against all the other high schools in Vava'u. They will compete in the long jump, discus, hurdles, shotput, relay, and all other typical track and field events. It is one of the biggest social events of the year and everyone in Vava'u goes! Most places close down to see the sports and all the families come with their picnics and lay out on the grass to cheer on their children. Schools are very competitive and we've missed all our afternoon classes this week just to rehearse our cheers in the school hall! Our school colors are blue and white, so I painted my finger nails and toe nails dark blue with sparkles just for the event! A color I don't think i'd ever fashion back home....
I'll be sure to upload some photos of the sports soon! Remember to check out my Tongan photos on facebook :)
Thanks so much for reading!