30 – toki sio, at last.

As I exited the doors of the airport in Tonga, I was immediately enveloped in the scorching heat. It definitely took me off guard as I was accustomed to the cool Canadian weather, but it wasn’t such a big deal because I’ve experienced heat like this in the Philippines. The first thing I saw as I exited the automatic doors, were a group of 3 men with various types of guitars, singing and playing their hearts out. Although I couldn’t comprehend what they were singing, it was beautiful. A smile crept up on my face and I was filled with excitement thinking of all the new experiences the next 10 days would have to offer.

We packed the big bus that would take us to the dock. We had a tour guide who showed us different landmarks and buildings we passed by and even told us a little bit about their culture, religion, and schools. As we drove through the road, it was exciting to see so much green and nature in comparison to all the buildings that I was used to seeing in Canada. In Tonga, there were trees, grass, and animals everywhere and it was wonderful. After a few minutes, we got on 2 boats that would transport us from the mainland to Atata. The boat ride was beautiful, I looked down at the water and it was the most gorgeous shade of blue I’ve ever seen. It was so clear and if you looked out to the horizon, you could see all other small islands of Tonga.

When we arrived at the resort, we were welcomed with warm smiles and glasses of orange juice. The resort was beautiful and the staff workers made us feel so welcomed and at home. Mele led Mina, Sierra, Cheyanne and I to our fale and when I stepped inside I realized how luxurious our conditions would be in comparison to past global classes. We had beds, sinks, a shower, a fridge; basically more than we needed. I’m very grateful we were provided these things, but we definitely didn’t need it and I couldn’t help but want to just sleep on the floor because I didn’t think we deserved our living conditions.

Anyways, when it was time for Mele to leave, I felt an urge to say something in Tongan. And there was one word that I learned last year, right when we got our location. “Toki sio!” (see you later) I said excitedly and with a hint of uncertainty. It was a weird feeling to actually be able to say the words I’ve been writing on all my blogs but it was also exciting. She looked back surprised and started teaching me more Tongan words and phrases and from this moment on, I was determined to expand my Tongan vocabulary.

With more stories to come,

Toki sio!
Chelsea