Sorry I haven't updated in so long! I haven't had much time to get on the internet- I have school 5 days a week and on Satudays it is kind of a hassle to get to Pa'angai (the "city" of Ha'apai) because it is harder to hitch a ride and it is too far to walk. But we were successful today, thanks to the host father of one of the other volunteers!
However, this is going to have to be short because I don't have much time on the internet and I was too fakapikopiko (lazy) to write my blog ahead of time. My mom gave you a pretty good update about my life so I'll just give some more specifics.
For my host family I have a mom, Meleane, but her husband passed away a few years ago. I also live with two sisters, Lona (25) and Vei (11), and 3 brothers, Tau (8), 'Eni (6), and Nofo (5). 'Eni is actually Meleane's grandson but he lives with them full time. They are all very kind to me, except that they won't let me help out around the house very much which can be frustrating sometimes because I want to contribute. But I say if that's my only complaint, I am doing pretty well! Meleane's English is very good and the kids speak some English so my lack of perfect Tongan is not a huge issue yet. They call my Katalina or just Lina, since consonants are never next to each other in Tongan and so Kaitlin doesn't work.
Language classes are going much better than I anticipated, but I still need to get better about practicing my Tongan outside of the classroom. I'm often too shy to use it beyond general conversation such as hello, how are you, and learning names. I try to practice with my younger siblings more because that's closer to the level I am on. They are very patient with me, which is great! This week will be the last week of language classes, and then technical training will begin.
Like my mom said, I will be teaching at a Weslyan Primary School once I am actually sworn in. The village is called 'Utulau. There are 96 students, 6 teachers, and me. I visited there as one of our site visits when we first arrived and I absolutely fell in love with it. The principal seems very supportive and I am really excited to work there. I will move there mid-December but it will be summer break so I won't start teaching until mid-January or so.
Group 76 (my Peace Corps group) is absolutely amazing. Everyone is incredibly fascinating and super nice. It's a great support network and I have made some wonderful friends already. There is also one woman in my group who reminds me a lot of Ellen Kraly (one of my Colgate professors) which is absolutely fabulous. Ellen is someone who I admire a lot and who contributed greatly to my college experience (and also wrote one of my PC recommendations!) so having someone here that reminds me of her provides me with a lot of motivation to work hard and succeed. So, thanks again Ellen!
I guess I can tell a funny story... So I am very fortunate in my homestay experience because I have my own bathroom and my own bathtub. However, the tub fills pretty slowly which is totally fine. It takes about half an hour for it to fill 4 or so inches. So I turn it on, leave it for a little while, and then go back to it to bathe. Well the other night I turned it on and then forgot about it apparently, while we went to a community event that lasted about 3 hours. We came back and I had accidentally flooded part of the 2nd floor! The water wasn't super deep or anything but everything was definitely wet and we had to move the rug and pull up some of the floor covering so everything could dry. I felt so terrible! I cried and my family laughed a bit. They were super nice about it- Meleane said "it is never a bad thing to clean our house!" I think they mostly felt bad for me because I was so upset about it. It is one of those things that would be super funny if it were my own house but it wasn't... I am able to laugh about it for sure because there is nothing else I can do and nothing terrible happened, but at the time I was horrified. And yes, I freely admit that I am an idiot, haha.
Sorry but I don't have any pictures! I probably could have uploaded some but I haven't put them on my computer yet soooooooooo yeah... my bad. But it is beautiful here!
I don't have too much else to say because life is pretty consistent- class then study Monday through Friday, study/town/beach on Saturday, church/eat/sleep/study on Sunday.
I'm going to go because I want to head back to the beach soon. But I hope you all are doing well! I will try to update again soonish but it might not be until December when we get back to Nuku'alofa. Overall I am super happy here but I do love and miss you all tons!