Today I was invited over for Sunday lunch at Noa and Bensini's. That sort of sounds like a super neat-o Italian restaurant. Nope. It was neat-o alright, just not an Italian restaurant. They are my neighbors. And some of the kindest people I have met in Tonga so far (and that's saying a lot because I live in the Friendly Islands and everyone is super nice here).
After church we walked to their house and Noa and Bensini's daughter, Toa, (she's 5) entertained me while lunch was being prepared. She came around the corner with a new toy that she got for Christmas and handed it to me and said "LAP-A-TOP-A!" It was a laptop. A laptop with 6 buttons, especially made for an early English learner. We sang the ABCs (New Zealand style - meaning we said "Zed" instead of "Zee" at the end) and counted to 10. Then Toa drew a picture of me. It was super cute though each hand looked as big as my head (I do have big hands for a girl - maybe she noticed?). After drawing, Noa invited us into the kitchen for lunch. Lu sipi (lu made me sheep), lu kapa pulu (lu made with canned corned beef), manioke (a root crop), bread fruit (another root crop) and otai (a juice made with fresh pineapple, coconut, and oranges). Bensini sat at the head of the table. Bensini is larger than life. He is one of those men who doesn't even have speak, you just know that whatever he is going to say is going to teach you something or make you smile. Noa introduced me to faingota (shellfish) during the lunch and as I slurped my first oystery-looking Tongan shellfish, we talked about how great it is to live in Tonga, specifically Vava'u. Bensini said that what he loved best is how much fun it is to give to your neighbors and not expect anything in return. Noa and Bensini not only had made lu for me, but for the neighbors across the way and next door as well. He went on to say how his neighbors help him when he's in need to "because Mandy, sharing is happiness". And not just with food - for anything. "We're one big family," he said, "Tonga is your home now, just as much as Wee-sconsin and Cololato." (Wisconsin and Colorado) I think he's right. It was so much fun sharing lunch and stories with Noa, Bensini and Toa today.
What have you shared recently?