We met Soni the last time I did "Life According to..." and while Soni continues to teach me new things every day, there are many other cutie-patooties that do too. And you all get the privilege of meeting a few.
This is To'una. She's 3-years-old (but depending on the day she may tell you she's nimenima ).
And here are 7 things that she has taught me during my time in Tonga.
1. To live in the moment. To'una doesn't think about what is going to happen in the future or what has happened in the past. She's worried about doing whatever she can to stay happy in this moment. This may mean she is: eating fistfuls of cake, running after some of the Class 1 boys, flipping a chair upside down and sitting on it the wrong way or going to the bathroom with the door open so she can look at the coconut trees (and my front door). She lives in the moment all day, every day.
2. To be happy. To'una is a wonderful reminder that happiness comes from within. It's a choice. Not something that happens to us, a result of external factors working in our favor. We choose to smile and to stay positive. It starts with a smile.
3. To be fearless. 95% of the time To'una doesn't wear shoes, 50% of the time she's missing her clothing. She has been known to chase chickens, dogs and even a stray horse out of the school yard.
4. To express yourself. When To'una is happy, you know. When To'una is sad, you know. She doesn't hold her emotions in, but freely expresses them and let's you know exactly how she's feeling. We begin to hold so much in as we grow older. Why not express it when we're feeling it?
5. To live carefree. Why worry about things going wrong? What will be or was? Stress? This kid seems to have none... or she's really good at managing (like most kids are).
6. To use more of your imagination. Sometimes she pretends she's a doctor, sometimes it's a soldier and sometimes it's her favorite animal. It seems like To'una is constantly tapping into her imagination.
7. To love unconditionally. This is To'una and her grandmother (my counterpart, Ane). Even when Ane does something that To'una doesn't like, minutes later you'll find To'una with her arms wrapped tightly around her grandma's neck. She loves to hug and let people know she cares about them. Every morning she yells a loud "Hello Manatee!" as she hops out of the car or walks through the school gate with her sisters. She then runs up and grabs my leg and gives it a squeeze.
What have you learned recently?