The Palangi Files
Some Tongan Revelations...
Peter: "So I was sitting in my cubicle today and I realized, ever since I started working, ummm... every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life."
Therapist: "What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?"
Therapist: "Wow. That's messed up."
So I was sitting here in my fale today and I realized that every day that I wake up, that's like the 25th Saturday in a row for me. That quote from Office Space used to be one of my all-time favorites, actually it still is. I don't know why I said it used to be... Anyway, I like that quote because it reminds me of what I'm missing sometimes back in the states in terms of the whole work experience in some of my bleeker times here in the Kingdom. However, today is not one of those days. I am feeling like an f-bomb superstar.
I had the dawning realization today, that every day of my life for the past few weeks has been like a perpetual Saturday. I don't know if I can do this thought bubble justice, but I'll try.
For example, I wake up around 7 or 8 in the morning, sometimes earlier, sometimes later, brew some coffee, make some sort of nice breakfast involving eggs in some manner of fashion and put on some music, open up all the windows in the house and dance around neked with my junk just swaying in the breeze justa singing at the top of my lungs! My Tongan neighbors love it! Actually, I'm kidding! I'm not much of a dancer or singer so I frequently get looks of disdain from them! If I don't practice my singing how will I get better and if I'm not naked how can I sing? See what I mean? Chicken and the egg type of thing...
Actually, I'm off topic again! Damnit! This always happens when I don't have a plan of attack for writing a post. Okay, Saturdays everyday thing. I'm only teaching three classes, so occasionally, there are moments of ummm... 'work' that have to be done, you know, like regular saturdays. I get those out of the way and then go to the gym. Sometimes I go earlier in the morning, sometimes earlier in the afternoon and depending on my feral ferocity, level of routine and feelings of well-being and spiritual wholeness, structure the intensity of my workouts to match my chi. I then return home, pretend I have something pressing to do and that I will perform more 'work' when I give up and play video games or surf the internet or think about cleaning my house. I then boil something and take a shower. Leave the shower feeling invigorated and proceed to cook a nice healthy dinner. I then eat dinner and decide what to spend the night on. Generally I have three options: Reading, Internet or something Work related, depending on the day. The last few days its been Freeciv. I go to sleep when I'm tired and wake up and do it all again. Of course I break up the monotony sometimes and go out and do stuff, but not too much. Its a good life.
And the fact that its a good life has brought me around to the biggest reason that I joined the Peace Corps: Relaxation. I think I've arrived. Suddenly, I've realized that when I get back to Amelika that I'm going to have to adjust my current lifestyle somewhat. I don't really know if I'm ready for that or not. Because I'm finally coming around to the realization that Tonga, if you play your cards right and can learn to not have to be occupied all of the time, can be pretty gd relaxing.
So that's the close of this post for right now. I've got four posts in the oven and they're still baking. I realized today that I need to let a few of them out. This one will be the first.
All-Star Note Section!
Jen you are a superstar. I wrote you an epic email response and emailed it to my comment address (which of course, does not exist) Send me an email. my.psuedonym(jimjawn)@nameofthiswebsite.com. I wanted to find out how your were doing.
Mark & Erin. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. The strike is officially over. Nothing worse than some isolated fire-bombings of abandoned houses, imported Japanese vehicles and an occasional thiefy-like person's house. I've got a post already written for this and now that its over, I think I can post it without offense. I'll upload it later on this week.
Anonymous Commenter: Tongan children call their parents by their first names. I do it with my Mom, but more as joke than anything else. Its weird hearing a two year old call his dad "Sione".
More to come... I promise.
jimjawn 1 comments - Post a Comment
One of my favorite things about Tonga...
Is the fact that I don't have to worry about lawncare. The school has this great custodian that like loves to mow! The only complaint that I have is that he loves to mow at the ass-crack of dawn; when I'm a little hungover.
Now I swear I haven't been out the Billfish Bar: Tonga! on a Tuesday night in about, oh I don't know six months? So, I've got this little hangover thing going for me. Its not bad, I didn't get too drunk, but its there. Lawnmower guy? As if ordained with prescience by God himself, he parks his lawnmover outside of my front door just long enough to make me HAVE to get out of bed. The second I can't fall back to sleep again? He's done mowning and heads to church or whatever.
Next, Tongan Names. Now, I can talk about Tongan names for a long time, some of them are simply incredible and I will, someday, but for right now I'm just going to share this one name: Geto. Now that word might not make sense to you now, but it will. So some friends and I are out just boozing it up and having a good old time, chilling, shatting, wishing we could drink buds, when our local superheroes/cover band 'Crystal Tears' (not the actual band) starts striking up and incredibly LOUD version of this song that may be local, I can't tell, called: "In the Ghetto" (See where I'm going with this?) Well it turns out "In the Ghetto" was this woman's favorite song and she loved it so much she decided to name her daughter after it. That's right, this woman named her daughter "Ghetto", except if you spell ghetto in tongan it looks like this: "Geto". The way Tongans name their kids is just one of those cultural things (like the fact that children don't call their parents "Mom" or "Dad") that I will never get my head around.
So it got me thinking about the pervasiveness of American Culture and how much it mislabels and belies what Americans actually are, culturally anyway. One of the things that I find both fascinating and obnoxious here in Tonga is the fact that the kids I teach have no idea about what the hell they're doing when they mimic American culture. I'll pull the unedited version of Eminem's latest CD out of a lab computer during class from the same student that I had to tell to stop singing "Amazing Grace" earlier. I'm like "REBEL! Yeah!" The other thing that gets to me: Gang Signs. Its like even Tonga preachers are flashing their cred Here's an example of one of my student in his graduation regalia, outside of the King's Church, flashin' east wc (not intended to dis east wc)
Addionally bogglesome: the continuted glorification of the Marajuana Leaf. I'm not sure why the hell this still goes on, I mean, Jesus, the Chronic was released in what, 1992? But, here in Tonga, cannabis sativa and its myriad icons are awash in the kingdom. Here's a work of art that I've had to tell one of my students repeatedly to get the hell off of his desktop. Here is my caption for this image: After a brief sunday morning church service and some invigorating choir practice, Sione and his gangstar posse celebrate by getting blunted. Again. I mean, c'mon! I'm pretty sure that dude on the left in the picture wouldn't know what weed was if it, literally, bit him on the ass. I don't know how to feel about it. I mean, should I be flattered that Tongans want to be American so bad that they're willing to pretend.shtmlects of my culture are the same as theirs'; even when its taken completely out of context? Do I blame America for letting this crap make it out? I don't know. Somedays I get a kick out of it. Somedays it makes me crazy. You be the judge.
So I was supposed to go to Tofua for a trip this weekend, but after much panic and deliberation, I actually decided against it. I just wasn't ready. However, not to let down any of the folks at home, J.K. has graciously allowed everyone to experience Tofua vicariously through his trip to Tofua. You can find J.K.'s story by clicking here. Or Here. But not here. Here, Yes. Not here. Here. No. Yes. O.K.
More stuff to come! Stay tuned.
Misi E? 'Io! 3 comments - Post a Comment
So what is the over/under for how long...
It takes the phrase "public assistance" to be as dirty as the word "welfare"? Sorry, I just read a J.K. Rowling interview on Amazon and noticed it headlining the article and it was one of those government words that get me fired up everytime I see it.
So, Caty has left the country and, in with her departure has garnered me ample amounts of free time to do what I'd like with. She was also kind enough to leave me her copy of the latest Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Now, I'm kind of embarrased to talk about this book because I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've blogged about what I've read and I'm pretty sure a lot of people will be like "Man! This dude reads poop!" But Harry Potter is not Poop! I would equate it more to me enjoying Shrek! because some of the jokes appeal more to adults than they do to kids. Also, In defense of my guilty pleasure I have to remind everyone that I've also read some very unsexy, very umpleasant adult books like (god help me) Naked Lunch (, A People's History of the United States of America , Walden , Guns, Germs & Steel and of course Dan Brown's Digital Fortress! (of course I'm just kidding about this. It sucked like mice like cheese...)
Now that you know I'm not a V.C. Andrews fan, I must say that I am a dork. I was all broken up by the end of the book. I don't want to give away the ending, but I was like "Bullshit!" That can't be right. So me and my trusty sidekick "Interneti" did some investigation and found some other people that felt just like I did. These people can be found here at the wonderful world of dumbledoreatemymothersunderpants.com If you haven't read the last book, DO NOT go to this site, I repeat DO NOT go to this site (Yes Caty, that means you). Now, I've gotten so sidetracked that I forgot why I even wrote this post in the first place.
Damn it. I hate when I do that. I'm gonna freestyle. Oh here is a word of advice to my future Peace Corps Trainees that are thinking of coming to Tonga. BRING AN MP3 Player. I know that I promised the ultimate Peace Corps packing list and someday, I swear before I leave I will get around to it, that a good MP3 player will most definitely be on the list. So I think I'm getting an iPod mini (while I'm searching for the iPod mini link, here's and awesome read: Microsoft Tech Support vs. the Psychic Friends Network) . I started running Ubuntu Linux (future Peace Corps volunteers, regardless of what your job will be, you may want to look into learning more about computers and, if you know anything about comptuers, looking into linux because while you don't know it yet, you are THE I.T. specialist in this country) because my laptop is just beat to hell. I've been lusting after getting a new one, but I'm going to wait until I get back to the good old U.S. of A. before I get one. Maybe. If I don't die of starvation or get eaten by bears. I don't know. I'm tired now
Anyway, Harry Potter was a good book and you should read it. Sorry for being all over the place. I need to stay focused. I'm going to Tofua this week so I'll talk more about that before I leave. I'm tired.
Night. 1 comments - Post a Comment
On the strike and my constitutional right to free speech...
Sadly, Nicole, as I'm a Peace Corps volunteer, I'm not allowed to express my opinion in any manner, shape, fashion or inkling about anything politcal here in Tonga, especially the Tongan Government Workers Strike. In fact, almost two weeks after the strike started we received some updated guidelines reminding us that we are not allowed to express any local political views at all. Its one of the things that bothers me about the Peace Corps' policy, but, having been here for almost two years and being a volunteer, I understand the precariousness of the Peace Corps' tenure if all of its volunteers rose up and helped organize a workers' strike or helped the government run their programs as scabs. Pretty much everyone here feels one way (I'm sure you can figure it out) but we can't really say anything about it. Its sucks too, because I had a pretty sweet post about the strike that I can't publish because its too opninionated. I'll publish it later.
Tiny Update Out.
PS - Check out Matangi Tonga for real, honest up-to-date information about Tonga and the Strike 1 comments - Post a Comment
Just another tequilla Sunday...
Or so I'd like to believe. I had every intention of writing some novel tonight for the blog, but, like every other time I get on my computer, I get crazy, break something very important or can't get something essential to work and end up forgetting why I started using my comptuer in the fist place at all.
Well I'm just about to call it a night and I start going through my web statistics. Its this weird thing I like to do with my free time. I don't know how to explain it or whatever, but I do know that I like doing it. So I'm looking through my stats when I stumble upon this little beauty just staring me in the face:
Now if I were in any country in the world, I wouldn't even glance twice, but for some reason I just find this funny as hell. First off, the concept of Tongan Porn is what I would classify as an oxymoron because if their is one thing that I will never see so long as I live it is a Tongan Porn. Tongans can't even hold hands in public, how the hell are they going to film themselves bumping uglies and then distribute it via the internet? Impossible. This country is just too damned sexually repressed, religious and mildly incestuous to boot. The fact that someone on the internet actually went looking for this in the hopes that something would turn up I find absolutely astounding. If there really was Tongan Porn on the internet, I'm sure that whoever was doing the searching would inevitably find a family member and be related to the star or starlett in some manor of fashion that would make the next kai polo VERY uncomfortable for everyone. The country just ain't that big.2 comments - Post a Comment
Secondly, why the hell did my site show up in search for Tongan Porn? (Solution: Click here to find out... bottom of the page) Well that would explain it. Its something so rarely searched for that I make it on the top ten list. Also, as I'm not directly related to porn and the idiot doing the search obviously didn't remember to turn off the adult content filter so they could actually FIND a porn site speaks to me in so many ways. I am reassured that the search was a rookie internet searching Tongan. I bet if I checked my logs for an IP I could actually make a reasonable guess about who the person searching was. (Yeah, Tonga is that small sometimes)
Thirdididly, ITS SUNDAY! Someone in Tonga did NOT go to church today. Rather, they spent their entire Sunday searching on the internet for Tongan Porn. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.... Kovi Aupito Tamasi'i! 'Uli Lahi Aupito! Sabate! A very loud and rousing fire and brimstone session was most definitely not paid attention to.
Funny Stuff. Speaking of funny stuff, I heard this great very, very fakatonga story this weekend. A Tongan man was recently put in jail here in Tonga for sleeping with a police officers wife. The charge placed against said man: "Sleeping with a police officer's wife". (Which is of course not enforcable, but the charge was nevertheless placed) This country is oh so one of a kind.
Much love. - Misi
PS - I've emailed the bored.com people about adding Tongan Porn to the list of oxymorons. I'm hoping we'll make it!
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