The cutest puppy in all of Tonga.
Ok, so I’m leaning towards the dramatic here but the sad truth is this…. we have just under four months left in Tonga. Reminding Elisabeth of this the other day provoked very sad faces and exclamations of ”I can’t believe how fast this time has gone!”
This time has gone incredibly fast. I want to press rewind and go back 8 months so I can relive the fun/ frustration/ challenges/ confusion/ delight all over again.
I figured this would be a good time to revisit all the goals I set for myself this year. To give myself a pat on the back for those I’ve been conquering and a kick up the bum, for those I’ve been ignoring.
Continue to find ways to be more active. Riding my bike everywhere, walking the dog, lots of swims at the wharf.PASS.
- More planned exercise. FAIL. It is just TOO HOT. I’ve started going back to Zumba but then the late King died and classes have been off for a week.
- Find a good doctor in town and get a check up. FAIL. I’ve actually been feeling a lot better health wise and decided this is probably not necessary.
Continue to eat the most balanced diet possible in Tonga. PASS. Drink more water. I don’t think I take in enough water for this hot climate.PASS. To save up enough money from our monthly budget to go on a small holiday to Ha’apai and Vava’u.SORT OF PASS. We saved up enough for 4 days in Vava’u over the June long weekend, which is pretty good!
o stick to our budget, even when we are hosting guests.SORT OF PASS. We haven’t had any guests for a while but we did need to fly back to Sydney at short notice, accruing a debt to my (very generous) in-laws for the plane tickets. Apart from that, we are ok.
- To either take lunch to work or bike home to eat, 4 days a week. FAIL. We probably eat out 2-3 times a week for lunch.
No more spontaneous purchases at the flea market.PASS. I’ve only bought black clothes (necessary) and things for my niece Kitty.
o stop dipping into our savings account when things are tight.PASS.
- When we return home: start to build up our savings account for the next big things in life. WE’RE NOT BACK IN SYDNEY YET.
- Continue to be generous with our giving to church and what we share with others. PASS. I am very proud of this one!
Got really sick of all this rain. So husband and I went “fakatongan” and “eva eva pe*” around in the mud. Just like everyone else in town.
Needed some new rainy day activities and have been messing around with watercolour paints.
Ran a “practical casework skills” workshop for my co-workers. We spent a day discussing how to write case notes and reports, keep case files, confidentiality and supervision. I was told that “we don’t do case notes because we are fakapikopiko (lazy).” Their words. But I guess it’s good they can self identify where they need to improve!
Realised that I have a very compassionate dog. I was lying down on my bed, not feeling well and Piko licked my feet to try and cheer me up. Gross and cute.
Made my own hummus. It took forever. But it tastes really good.
Have been eaten alive (ok, almost) by mosquitos.
Learnt that our tongan washing machine likes to eat pillows. Hand washing from now on.
Watched a lot of Mad Men and wondered why every single guy in that show cheats on his wife/girlfriend. Surely that didn’t happen to all relationships in the 60s????
Realised I have a naughty dog. He started eating the lounge chair on our landlady’s front porch. She hasn’t noticed so far…
*This means to just kinda wander around. To not really go anywhere in particular. So we just wandered around in the rain as we got cabin fever.
Piko lost his first puppy tooth yesterday. It was a little bit traumatic for everyone, with lots of blood and fuss.
To cheer him up and reward him for being brave, we let Piko open one of his Christmas presents. He’s so smart, he even wanted to unwrap it himself.
Piko is super impressed with his new Santa squeaker.
We tried taking Piko for his first walk yesterday. Here he is, trying out Drew’s backpack. He didn’t stay in there for long.
While Piko has had many trips to the beach and to visit our friends, we haven’t been able to walk him on a leash until now. It’s really hard to have a puppy in Tonga.
Piko has to stay in our yard all day on a long leash, as we are worried about the other dogs/traffic/him being stolen or eaten. There is a lot of neighbourhood interest in Piko. Hence, why he needs to stay in our yard. Our yard is fairly big so as soon as we come home and before we leave, he has plenty of time to sniff and explore and dig.
Piko really liked his first walk. We had to keep carrying him past the mean scary dogs but once we got to the waterfront, he took off running. It was so exciting that he was all tuckered out as soon as we got home and needed to cuddle his monkey.
The next few days are a little busy for me. I’ve just finished day two of my social work 101 (basic concepts/theory and skills) training which will go for the rest of this week.
I’ve compiled a training schedule for the rest of my assignment, in which I train the staff each month in a different topic/skill relating to social work. The monthly topics or skills came out of consultation I had with each staff member on what their training needs were, discussion with managers and then a lot of my own observation.
I follow up with evaluation, additional practical activities, meet with the staff members one on one to consolidate learning and help them put their new skills or thinking into practice with their service provision. Then start it all over again next month.
It takes a long time to put the training course together as there is the material gathering (I didn’t bring enough with me due to weight restrictions on baggage), refining, a long thinking process, practical activity design, consultation, translation and then more refining.
It also takes a long time to actually do the training.
After three months of being very accommodating and accepting of delays and interruptions, I needed to politely say enough was enough to the staff.
Yes, Tongan culture has a different way of working than what I’m used to (and that’s fine) but the staff are still supposed to show up for work between the rough hours of 9ish to 5ish.
As I take a few days to try to teach something of value, please enjoy some pictures of my very cute puppy.
Piko was getting too big to sleep in our laundry every night. It was time for our little boy to graduate to sleeping outside. Vill, Drew and Sione designed the master of all dog kennels and set to work constructing Piko a home.
Elisabeth, Piko and I were the construction site supervisors. The boys loved playing with power tools.
It took Piko a while to get used to his house. But now he loves that he has a place to hide his monkey and his growing collection of balls. Piko sleeps in his house to escape the afternoon sun and only sticks his head out when he hears the front gate.
I’m pretty obsessed with my dog.
He brought me a dead bird this morning. Into the house.
It’s been forever since I’ve done an outfit post. I wore this to Elisabeth’s birthday dinner last week and for the first time in a while, liked what I was wearing. I definitely wouldn’t wear this outfit to church or around town during the day (you can see my knees) but it was fun to pretty myself up.
Our dinner was at Fiesta seafood and besides being AMAZING, served a very strange dish called grumpet fish.
They meant crumbed.
Piko is chowing down on his designated eating shoe in these photos. He’s gotten into the habit of trying to eat all footwear but how he has an eating shoe to call his own. He destroys it a little more on a daily basis.
Outfit: thrifted top from saturday market ($3 TOP), shorts from Glassons, shoes that I found at my garage sale but I suspect came from Bronnie, necklace was a gift from my sister.
My mum made a whole bunch of these monkeys before we left Sydney, selling them to raise money towards our mission trip, mainly to fund Drew’s placement.
She is so handy and clever, they’re made out of socks. She enlisted my help to make a few and I was just rubbish.
But I did get to take one to Tonga. And Piko has stolen it.
I gave it to Piko when he was sad and sick one night, to cuddle in his box. He thought this was wonderful. And alternates between cuddling the monkey and eating it.
I’m not sure my mum is thrilled that her handsewn monkey ended up with the dog. But look at this little guy. Isn’t he just the cutest?
Thank you to the lovely Vivian for taking this photo and for puppysitting. Piko misses playing with you.