I flew in on Monday (26th Jan) and was there for only 4 days. When I arrived it was so hot! I think I would be right in assuming that the average temperature for the duration of my trip was 33 degrees. I spent the first day running errands with Riana and her husband-to-be. I met his family. They are wonderful people. Such special people. In fact, that could go for all Tongan people on the island. They don’t have much, but then they have everything. They are the kindest people I have ever met. They are willing to give everything they have. They are happy and full of love and gratitude. It certainly taught me a lesson.
|So good being with my Banana Head again.|
I met a man and his wife who run the lodge we were staying at. On my first night I was home alone because Riana had wedding stuff to do and I wanted to talk to Bryton. The data connection over there is really bad so skyping my husband was a misison and a half. I was missing him so much and I was getting frustrated with the internet so, naturally, I cried. There was a knock at the door and it was Keni, the man who runs the place. He looks about 26 years old (I’m guessing). He had come to check on things and said to me “have you been crying?” I was so embarrassed! I told him I was missing my husband and he felt really bad. He tried to get me to stay with him and his wife until Riana came back but I told him I was okay and just trying to call my husband. So he took me to the other house that we had booked for Riana’s family. That house had wifi that worked properly. So I went and called Bryton and all was well. Later that night I got into bed and there was another knock at the door. Keni and his wife Tupou wanted to make sure I was okay. For the rest of my stay they were really worried about me and kept making sure I was doing okay. They were so lovely! I ended up talking to Keni about the church and told him about eternal families. He loved the idea of being sealed to his family forever. Unfortunately, that was the last I saw of him as I went to stay with another friend for the rest of my trip. But I have bought a Tongan Book of Mormon and a magazine on temples around the world and I want to send them to Keni and his wife.
|The stunning sunset on my first night.|
The Green Lodge (run by Keni and his wife) has three houses on one property. One is where Keni and his family live, and the other two are holiday accommodation options for visitors. I stayed in one with Riana and when her family arrived from Australia, they stayed in the other. The water was cold in the shower, but it was so hot over there that a cold shower was perfect. They had geckos running along the walls and they made loud barking noises which freaked me out! I had to sleep with insect repellant on (you really need to wear it 24/7 over there because the mosquitos are out to get you). Dogs and roosters are making noises all through the night!!! It was so frustrating.
I met Riana’s family the following day (Tuesday). They are really hilarious people and I enjoyed spending time with them. But they treated me like family and I loved that! That night I went to stay with my friend Jordan and her parents who had also gone over for the wedding. They were staying at a place called The Tropical Villa. It was beautiful. And I am grateful they offered to let me stay with them.
|Real Frangipani flowers!|
On the Wednesday morning we went to the Tongan temple to do a session. It was the 6am session and it was FULL! I was blown away. The Tongan temple is beautiful. It is much smaller than the New Zealand temple. There was a beautiful spirit there too. Everything was in Tongan and it was really quite special. I met 2 girls who had just finished their missions the weekend before. They were both Tongan, serving in Tonga. But one was from Mangere, Auckland. They were really really lovely girls. I wish I had asked for their names!
|My favourite 6am start!|
Later that night we went to a place called Vakaloa Beach Resort. They have dinner and performances there. Well it was pretty amazing! We had the yummiest buffet dinner. Then they did some cultural performances which was a lot of fun! A young 7 year old boy was the cutest! They had 4 firedancers. That was pretty epic. My phone went flat right before the firedances so I wasn’t able to take any videos and I’m really gutted about that!
|Jordan and her parents at the Vakaloa Beach Resort.|
|My food. So so so good! This is a big deal because I don’t do Island food.|
Riana’s sealing was on the Thursday. It was really beautifuil. I balled like no one’s business! I think my favourite thing about it was seeing her dad in the temple. He has come a long way and seeing him in there was really special. He was a big sook and it was really cute!
Straight after the sealing I had to leave for the airport because my flight was an hour and a half later – I was really pushing it. But I made it on the plane and back home safely and I was really really excited to see my husband!
|This beautiful girl is Ola’s (Riana’s husband) niece, but was brought up like his sister. She is so awesome!|
I loved Tonga. It was a humbling experience. But I’m not keen on leaving my husband again. Next time, he’s coming with me!
|Dinner with my husband was the best! I loved being with him again!|