I've been thinking a lot recently about the purpose of this blog and why I write it. Initially, it was going to be all about Tonga and the Kingdom's culture, the people and my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer. But what I've been realizing lately is that my internal journey through this - the way I navigate it, the feelings and emotions I experience, and the sense I make of it all - is just as important as all the external goodness. I love sharing with you the things I'm learning about Tonga and this tiny island where I reside, but I also want you to know that tropical life isn't always easy.
I'm sure you could have guessed this.
I knew that when I signed up for the PC that I was going to be challenged, but boyohboy it's tough sometimes. But I've realized that attempting to shut those feelings off does nothing. In fact, these emotions come back full force later and sometimes 10 times worse. So I'm learning to sit with them and experience them. Fully. Sometimes I feel like I'm oozing joy and other times I'm not sure how I am going to get out of bed. It's an intensity I've never experienced before. But these feelings change like ice cream in the tropical heat. One moment their there and the next minute they've melted into something else. It's so fast. So even in my lowest of lows, I know that it's going to pass... maybe during the next minute, maybe the next hour or maybe it will take a few days. The trigger for what causes these emotional flip flops is a funny thing, too. I never know what it's going to be. Sometimes it's making a good dinner, sometimes it's a conversation with a kid, or the way the wind feels on my face. Today it was a nice mug of Ginger-Apricot tea (see below - I have huge hands. Don't judge.). I can never be sure what will cause it, but I know that if I stay positive and trust myself that it will get better. And it does. Every time. One of the reasons I will always remember September 1, 2012 (and will look back at it as one of the most scary/exciting days of my life thus far) is because I had made a promise to myself: If I apply and accept an invitation to join the Peace Corps there is no turning back. Quitting is not an option. And I think remembering that - in the moments when life here gets a little cray-cray (crazy) - is important. Don't quit on yourself and your emotions. Don't quit on these people or this story. Period.
P.S. The tea came from one of my best friends back home. Thank you, Katie! I definitely recommend Good Earth's Organic Apricot & Ginger Black Tea. 'Ifo 'aupito! (So very delicious!)