Saturday, October 1, 2011


Nearing the end of my Peace Corps service is full of emotions: excitement, sadness, apprehension, and so on. It can be difficult to keep working when the end is so near. I think to myself, what will happen to the projects after I leave? Will anyone keep up the work I've been doing for two years? To be sure I keep enjoying the work I’m doing while I’m here and to stay motivated, I try to think about daily successes. Here are a few from a week or so ago:

- The women’s group I’m working with in Ha’ano finally started the tourism program and welcomed a group of visitors to the island. Then, three days later, they welcomed a second group. (That one gets extra success points!)
- I found the dead thing that was giving off that smell in my bedroom. (It was a little lizard.)
- From my porch I watched whales jumping.
- I baked the equivalent of 12 cakes with a friend’s family to serve at a Tongan-sized tea.
- Papi and I ran with him on a leash.
- The kids and I made origami whales to wrap up a week talking about whales.
- I finished my last biannual Peace Corps report detailing my work in Tonga.
- Kids who come over after school are making cute bracelets from the beads I was sent.
- A friend and I have done an abs workout and stuck with it for a whole… week.
- I finished knitting two scarves that will be gifts to friends here.
- Almost everyone in town turned out at the kava hall to watch a Rugby World Cup Tonga vs. Anyone game.

Small successes, but there’ll surely be more as my countdown to America approaches 50 days…

Peace Corps Playlist

While still in Pre-Service Training, some Peace Corps Tonga Volunteers gave us all a CD of Tongan music, videos of Tonga, and playlists for the major events of our Peace Corps service. One playlist would be for Pre-Service Training, another for Early Termination, Close of Service, and so on. Songs correspond to the mood you're in for the event, such as the Early Termination (for people who quit and go home) playlist's “Take This Job and Shove It” or “We're Not Gonna Take It.”

Perusing my iPod, I've got my own playlist for Peace Corps Tonga. Sometimes it's just the title that says it, but other times it's in the song itself. Here's the list:

“All By Myself” - Celine Dion
“Cheeseburger in Paradise” - Jimmy Buffet (minus the lettuce, tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes)
“Earthquakes and Sharks” - Brandston
“I'm Going Slightly Mad” - Queen
“Island in the Sun” - Weezer
“Mayberry” - Rascal Flats
“Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” - The Beatles
“Ocean Front Property” - George Strait
“Satan Gave Me a Taco” - Beck
“Shark in the Water” - VV Brown
“Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” - Otis Redding
“Small Town Saturday Night” - Hal Ketchum
“Southern Cross” - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
“That Kind of Day” - Sarah Buxton
“Thousand Miles from Nowhere” - Dwight Yoakam
“Waiting on the World to Change” - John Mayer
“We Sleep in the Ocean” - The Cloud Room
“Wide Open Spaces” - Dixie Chicks
“You Can't Always Get What You Want” - Rolling Stones