21 December 2012

Christmas, the third

This year's Christmas decorations are out of strips of coloured paper
Christmas has come around again, marked by a steady emptying out of the city as people visit family and friends around Tonga and abroad. Nuku'alofa in the middle of summer Christmas looks like any other time of year, but hotter and emptier. For us, Christmas here has always been a rather sad time. Most of our friends here have already gone abroad for the holidays, there are few decorations in the city, and not many Christmas events other than the occasional choir night. Even in most churches, the season is mostly just another day of normal service with occasional Christmas songs. It's just not as big of a deal here as in most other places I've been. That is why, this year, I wanted to make Christmas into a big deal - at least as much as I could with friends, decorations, and food. In part, all this is a celebration for making it through an incredibly difficult year.

08 December 2012

The Giant of the Pacific, Australia

Mid-last month, Elena and I departed on our first visit to Australia in the three years that we have lived in the South Pacific. We had a fantastic time, and tried to make the most of our time in the country, visiting a diverse range of visual and performing art shows, restaurants, markets, gardens, and a zoo, as well as spending time with good friends that we met during our work in Tonga. As it is difficult to share everything that we did, here are some snapshots and commentary of just some of the highlights of our visit.
Our first stop after getting off the plane

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