The last five installments of the Life According to... series have concentrated on the little ones in my life that bring me joy every day.
I'm going to change it up this time.
Why? Because even though I spend the majority of my day with little ones, there are some pretty powerful and pretty amazing adults that I've come across in Tonga. They've shared stories with me that I will take wherever I go and have really made me think about the way in which I have chosen to live my life up to this point.
Take 'Atu for example.
'Atu stands at just over 5 feet tall. What she lacks in height she makes up for in creativity, kindness and grace.
She is one of the sweetest, most wonderful people I know in Tonga.
Her everyday commute is over 40 minutes long (that's way long in Tonga!) as she drives into town with her husband from their village on the other side of the island. She says she comes back year after year to my school because she loves working with the Peace Corps volunteers. But I think I'm the lucky one in this situation.
She's also the principal at our school. Her leadership style is unique - she's very humble about her strengths (almost too humble sometimes!), has a passion for learning from others and enjoys incorporating art into her teaching (we're kindred spirits this way!).
She has three children (ages 15-24), cares tremendously for her family and adores her husband. God comes first in her life and you can tell. When she isn't at school, she's very involved in church (her husband conducts the choir at their church and at the high school where he teaches math and Tongan language).
I love learning from 'Atu and she appreciates learning from me and the things I have learned during my time as an American elementary school teacher.