I am home for Christmas. It's awesome!
At first it was really very surreal - seeing my little house, after 169 days of absence and so much water passing under the metaphorical bridge, was BIZARRE. But it very quickly became divine to be home. The dog, the chickens, the rabbit. The young natives that have all grown a few centimetres since I've been away, and my rose bushes and fruit trees which I'm sure have all doubled in size!
Most tremendous of all is being in this space with Clinton, who I am going to marry in a few months and who has been the most faithful of caretakers since I've been gone. I feel so soothed at the thought of starting our life together in the Ainslie house. Everything else may be up in the air (work, life after Tonga), but the old cliche of home is where the heart is feels very true to me. It is simply wonderful to be with him again, and to share the space we created together, though it's only for a few days.
Other things I'm loving are HOT showers, clean toilets, my Mum's cooking, the sounds of birds always in the background (not roosters!), and snuggling under a doona at night.
But being here also throws into sharp relief the many wonderful things about Tonga. First and foremost is the laid back lifestyle. People don't yell at you because they hate their jobs and they want to exercise the tiny modicum of power that they hold; no-one beeps at you if you're at a traffic light for.3 of a second after it turns green (though that's just speculation, because there are no traffic lights in Tonga!).
If the saying that Time is Money is true, then it follows that a culture that does not emphasize money as much as we do is also a bit more relaxed about time. Seriously, if you miss this traffic light, is sitting there for another 90 seconds really going to kill you?
Being in Australia I am reminded of how seriously people take themselves. Achievement of the individual is emphasised to the dertiment of the community. But in Tonga, no-one goes hungry at Christmas. This might sound like I'm romanticising this South Pacific island culture, but as far as I can see it's really the truth.
Anyway, I hope everyone out there is having a Merry Xmas. I know I certainly am, even if part of it has been realising exactly how much bullshit we (supposedly chilled-out and laid back Aussies) carry around as part of our everyday lives!