Whew! As I write, it is Thursday night and I’ve just had one of those weeks… I feel as though I blinked on Monday and during that 10th of a second, the week passed. I think that is just a sign that the pace of life for little ‘ol Nola is finally beginning to pick up. I’ve been living at my site for almost 2 months now [holy moly!]. School only began last week, so during the rest of that time my schedule was relaxed, to say the least. Sometimes I’d find myself standing in my wee ‘combo-kitchen/living room’ just wondering what to do next. [My conscience tells me I should study my Tongan, the little devil on my shoulder says ‘relax…eat yet another PB & J and read a book.’ If you’re wondering how that debate usually ends…. I’ve read a few books already ;)] However, all that free time has come to an end.
The second week of school has given me a taste of the hustle and bustle on the way in coming weeks. I am at school from around 8am-3pm. In the evenings I attempt to cook [I use that term very loosely…] and do a few chores around the house. If it’s a sunny day, that of course includes fo [laundry]! This week, in the midst of my evening activities, I hear ‘nola…nola….NOLA!’ called from the street [or sometimes from right outside my window]. High school has just begun as well and there are lots of students from my kolo [town] looking for some help with their English homework. I am happy to help, but some of their homework is tough! I hope I haven’t led any kids astray by wrongly interpreting their short stories.
It probably comes as no surprise that I am learning a bit about myself here in Tonga. Before the past few weeks, I hadn’t realized how much I coveted my privacy. I suppose that’s because, as an only child AND a kid lucky enough to have her own room for 3 years of college, I’ve had an abundance of privacy for most of my life. Flash forward to Feb. 2011… I literally crawl around my house sometimes, so as not to be beckoned outside. Also, my house is a teeny square with a bunch of windows and semi-transparent curtains. If I happen to forget a shirt on the way to the shower, I then have to duck and sneak to the living room [I only have one shelf area, so it’s sort of an all-purpose books/clothes/miscellaneous items HQ] so as not to shock any neighbors in my risqué towel-clad state. I think I am taking this change in stride, though. I definitely didn’t come here to sit in my little house and read novels courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. ;] …and to be honest, after all of my free time last month I am happy to have lots of diversions. I suppose I am just now beginning to value my bits of silence and privacy as they’ve deserved all along.
Back to this week’s activities, though! I attended a Scholarship Committee Meeting on Tuesday. Most towns have a group that raises money for scholarships [did the name give that away?], transportation costs, etc. [I say etc. because I’m sure I don’t know half of what they actually do…]. Transportation is a pretty big cost here. All high school kids attend school in Neiafu, so our town has three buses that take everyone into town and back every day. [Sidenote: I always have a laugh in the morning when the bus doors open and it begins speaking automated Japanese to all the students. The bus must be instructing them to hang out the doors on the way out of town as that is what usually happens... but I may never know.] Sorry, my attention span is not at its peak. Back to the Scholarship meeting… There is a study hall/library building in my town that has been closed since the last PCV left. I asked the Scholarship Committee if we could open it up for business again and they gladly complied! Next week, po’ako [night school!] will begin! A few nights per week, this library will be open for kids to come read, ask questions, etc. Maybe this will decrease the traffic outside my windows…we’ll see.
In other news….
I think my mouse/rat friend has moved to a new abode. I am cautiously joyous. :)
A big thanks to Mrs. Bator for sending books to my school! We appreciate it very much!