Yesterday, the folks from Eziworld came to our house in order to conduct a pre-move survey on our personal goods to be shipped back to America. They seemed surprised to discover our items consisted mostly of linens, books, bicycles and personal nick-nacks such as Polish pottery, baskets and framed artwork. Not really any furniture to speak of since our house here extends the definition of “fully furnished” to a whole other stratosphere of luxury. Indeed, they politely asked what description should be given to our various curios. My response of “junk” embarrassed them, I think, which served as a reminder once again how polite Tongans generally are.
And when the professional men from Eziworld left us an hour or so later, I think it finally hit home that we would be leaving Tonga in less than a month. After two years here. It feels a little strange.
It also hit home that I haven’t covered half of the things about life in Nuku’alofa that I had planned on. So I thought I’d make a list and hopefully, at least some of these subjects can be squeezed in before March. Here goes.
1. First up: a blog post I photographed last year about making tapa (“ngatu”). I finally got the pictures converted from RAW to jpeg and I think that will be my next entry.
3. Fruit-bearing trees in Tonga. This place is a veritable Garden of Eden (except, even better … NO snakes!)
4. Kids diving at twilight. This is a national past-time, and I firmly believe Tongan-style diving should be a new Olympic sport.
5. Funny Tongan words, especially, since I am so very mature, those beginning with the ever-variable Tongan prefix of “faka”.
For example, “Fakamolemole” means “I’m sorry,” but to the American ear, it can sound like a well-honed insult.
Or, “Fakasesele”, meaning “crazy” — lots of fun to declare whilst performing one’s best cannonball.
And if you’re just sick and tired of something, then nothing feels as good as shouting, “Fakafisi!”, which means to quit or abandon.
Other ones that make me giggle for no appropriate reason:
Fakahuhu: To suckle a child
Fakahinga: To take a laxative
Faka’ofa: How pitiful (said to express sympathy)
Fakahela: A nuisance/to waste one’s time (another great one to use when frustrated)
Want to learn more Tongan words or phrases (i.e., those you can actually use)? Here’s some links:
Oh, look. I guess I just did that blog post after all.
6. A million other random things that I can’t honestly project a favorable probability of covering, so I’ll just leave a catch-all here.
Tonga’s been an exhilarating, befuddling, sometimes-frustrating-sometimes-hilarious, occasionally humiliating but almost always a new-way-to-understand-the-condition-of-being-human experience. I’m sure that years down the road, Sam and I will still be realizing the impact Tonga has made on us, the lessons learned here and all the little things that have trickled down into the roots of who we are, to change us, hopefully for the better.
So, Tonga, thanks for being here. Malo ‘aupito.