I know I haven't blogged in a while (well for me, anyway!), and it's been an interesting couple of weeks. Not just because my mother is here for a visit and we have managed to go 8 days so far without killing each other (which of course is a miracle in itself, especially when we had to share a bed for 5 nights!), but because somehow, somewhere along the way, I seem to have made my peace with Tonga.
I think part of it is through spending time with like-minded people and talking about things OTHER than Tonga (we have recently formed a book club of sorts), part of it is reading a bit more about Tonga - so, gaining an intellectual, big-picture appreciation for the place, rather than the niggledy, annoying things about workmates and colleagues! And also restarting language classes has made me feel much more positive about being here.
I have also decided that I will be leaving in May. This will make it around 10 months, rather than the 12 I signed up for, but in thinking about it, my marriage is more important to me than sitting at a desk kicking my heels, and I'd like to start married life WITH Clinton, rather than apart from him! So my plan now is to go home and get married in April, return to Tonga with Clinton for a honeymoon/tying things up for a period of up to 30 days (the time he can stay without applying for a Visa), and then head home together, to start our married life.
Anyway, this combination of occurences has served to make me feel far more positive about Tonga, and has allowed me to enjoy being here. I have accepted that there are massive cultural differences in my approach to heritage vs the Tongan way of thinking, and have also accepted that, quite simply, I can only do what I can, and it is not my responsibility to save every heritage site from deterioration or disinterest. If the Tongan government wishes to pursue the cultural tourism market, then the issue of the general disinterest among Tongans in pre-Christian heritage needs to be addressed, but it won't be by me.
Suffice to say, I feel that I have made my peace with Tonga, and that is a good place to be right now. All that remains is to relax and enjoy my last months here as much as possible. I really HAVE been presented with an incredible opportunity in coming here, and I'd like to make the most of it.