Saturday, May 16, 2009

Top 34 Reasons You Know You Volunteered in Peace Corps Tonga (Let's make it 100!)

I’ve had nearly six months since the end of my Peace Corps service in Tonga.  It's impossible to identify all of the ways my life has changed as a result of my two years living in the South Pacific. My thoughts, behaviors, and plans for the future have all been influenced as a result of my extremely formative Peace Corps experience.  

Throughout my time in Tonga I experienced the most difficult, pleasant, interesting, busy, monotonous and fun days of my life.  While in Tonga I, along with many of my Peace Corps friends, noted the ridiculousness of “island life” –the spontaneous, confusing, hilarious and frightening aspects of living alone in a tropical island kingdom.   While sharing the idiosyncrasies of our existence in Tonga, many of us would start our stories with “You know you’re in Peace Corps Tonga when…” 

I’ve compiled a list of “You know you’ve Volunteered in Peace Corps Tonga when…” as a component of the very relevant Peace Corps Goal #3 of sharing Tongan culture in addition to my need to share my revelations and reflections in regards to my two years in Tonga.  


Top 34 Reasons You Know You 

Volunteered in Peace Corps Tonga

1.  "You’re clean for a bucket bather" is one of the nicest compliments you’ve ever received.

2.  You've shared the wonders of the English language with the beautiful children of Tonga.

3.  The thought of dining by candlelight makes you feel sad and lonely.

4.  You’ve consumed copious amounts of Ikale and lived to tell the tale.

5.  You have no idea what a Wii is.

6.  You’ve packed a giant bag of dirty laundry to go on vacation.

7.  You have friends named Loketi (Rocket), Telefoni (Telephone), Vai (Liquid),  Feiloaki (Introduce yourself), Venitaleita (Ventilator), Puke (Sick), Makoni (Telegram) and Vaka Puna (Airplane) 

8.  This is a special treat:

9.  You've purchased month old expired boxed skim milk in bulk because it was such a great deal.

10.  You went well over a year without a haircut or a hot shower.

11.  You’ve been enthusiastically congratulated for gaining weight.

12.  You've been bitten by one of these bad boys:

13.  You have no idea how to use an iphone. 

14.  You’ve eaten horse, cat, whale sea, turtle and/or dog and found it to be delicious. 

15.  You’ve danced for and/or dined with a King.

 16.  Reading Newsweek fills you with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. 

17.  You’ve gone swimming with humpback whales.

18.  The fact that you may never eat lu again makes you depressed.

19.  You’ve had to change your plans because someone killed a pig in your honor. 

20.  You’ve kissed a corpse (or two or three).

21.  Your lawn care has been provided by a horse.

22.  Throughout the 2008 Presidential campaign you had no idea how to pronounce Palin or Biden.  

23.  Roast pig staring you down at the table increases your appetite.

24.  Giant (and hairy) brown spiders fail to freak you out.

25.  Whenever you hear a dog bark you instinctively drop to the ground and pick up the closest rock.

26.  You don't use fork or spoons when eating food that technically requires the use of such utensils.

27.  Before drinking a glass of water, you hold it up to the light to check for mosquito larva while asking "Is this rain water?"

28.  You've killed a rat with your bare hands (slight exaggeration, but only slight)

29.  You consider going on a walk with a boy a hot date. 

30.  When someone calls your name you respond by either screeching "kooooo" or  by saying "ko ou heni!" 

31.  You feel dejected when nobody at the grocery store asks you where you are going while you walk up and down the aisles.

32.  Instead of asking a simple "Why?" you demand "the reason".

33.  You sometimes forget to take your clothes off before you get in the shower.

34.  You have multiple namesakes.