it’s been pouring with rain since we got to samoa but the cool, lushness is such a treat after four days in tonga’s inescapable heat. and when i say inescapable i mean EXACTLY that. we couldn’t escape it. not even the dude from prison break with the intricate escape route tattooed on his back could escape it. the ocean was like tepid bathwater so that wasn’t a refuge. there was no a/c anywhere. no cool breeze. no freezer to stick my head in and wait it out till winter. nothing. and did i just accept it and embrace the humidity like my champion of a teammate? no i did not.
half sidenote: hot climates make me super irritable. it’s like the nice just melts out of my pores and you’re left with the not-so-nice. i don’t want to be touched or talked to or even looked at. the extreme cold also makes me mean. but more morose-mean rather than please-stop-breathing-because-you-are-just-adding-more-hot-air-to-the-room kind of mean. basically, i need to come with a warning sticker that states i’m only suitable for human interaction in moderate climates.
BUT apart from the things that i found tough to deal with (the heat, the hungry mosquitoes, the stomach bug, the trash everywhere, the little to zero sleep because of the HEAT), tonga was also amazing. amazing in the way that only places that have very little in the way of material possessions, but so much in the way of human hearts can offer.
devon and i got to hang out a lot with the baha’i’s on the island and they were all beautiful beams of light. they made sure to give us the full tongan experience complete with showing us how to climb a coconut tree and taking us on an adventure to find a pig to roast on a spit. devon loved this of course, while i looked in the other direction, ate my kumala (sweet potato) and reaffirmed my decision to be a vegetarian.
the people in tonga are warm, welcoming, sweet and generous. it’s impossible not to get sideswiped by their love. it’s also inspiring to observe the way people share what little they have to ensure no one goes without.
i will never forget wading about in the ocean as a bunch of shy, giggling tongan children in sing-song voices asked my name and yelled out “i love you” and “lolly” (their interpretation of ‘goli’). that kind of sweetness lodged tonga firmly into my heart.