Last week, Misa, a Tongan friend, was over at my house. We were talking about when I first got to Ha’ano, just about a year ago. He was in Tongatapu, but when he got back to Ha’ano in January, he told me he had heard about me, the new Peace Corp.
Pele: What did you hear about me?
Misa: Oh, that you just say yes to everything.
Pele: Haha, that’s true. I just say yes because I either don’t understand their Tongan or don’t have anything else to say.
Misa: Yeah, but you would say yes to things you shouldn’t say yes to. I was on the road with some boys one day, and you passed, and one boy said, ‘Hey, Pele, we’re going to go over there and eat, and then we’ll come over and sleep at your house. Ok?’ And you just said, ‘’Io’ [yes].
The funniest part of this, to me, is that it still happens. A year later. People will still make jokes too quickly for me to understand or to have any comeback. Of course, the joke isn’t whatever I say, it’s whatever the other person says, so my response doesn’t much matter, but I at least wish I could participate a little more.
So in going to America, in just a couple of day, I’m looking forward to understanding pretty much everything that’s going on around me. More than that, being able to respond to it all.
Here are a few other things that I’m looking forward to, just for good measure: no chickens/pigs/church bells waking me up, bagels with cream cheese, understanding how the system works. Oh, and my family. (I didn’t forget you, Mom!)
And in the month I’ll be gone, I know I’ll miss these things: Papi, the people in my community, the freshest fish I’ll ever eat, the Ha’apai PCVs, swimming at sunset, mangoes.