Leaving – last thoughts

 

We left Fofoa today. We spent a last evening eating together on the deck, looking out to sea, hearing the cicadas and the lapping waves, watching the bats swoop and the smiles of our dear friends faces in candle light. We have grown older together and have shared a precious piece of life together.

It has been an utterly unique experience for us all,  and quite unlike any other travel I’ve done. There have been extreme highs and lows, we’ve probably seen and shown our worst and best sides, we’ve found paradise, disappointment, and peace. 

 
There are so many little things I have not written about, small joys, small details and memories I will cherish. Hardships I will not miss but which I will smile about. Funny funny times that will keep me chuckling wherever I end up. Riding metaphorical white ponies and having a laugh riding real ones too. Being immersed in Sea. The sound permeates everywhere, the salt water is in our hair and our pores, the blue shimmer is a constant background and we spend more time than ever before in this watery playground, in it and on it, swimming, snorkelling, diving, or messing around in boats. 
 

 

Screaming as I’m dragged on the back of the doughnut, whooping as I get to drive the speed boat on our girls day out, crying as I swim alone in despair in the utterly bittersweet sea of loneliness. Dancing and singing with Maisie in the waves as we ‘ free bird ‘ (Maisie’s term for nakedness) about each morning. Listening to Marlons’s endless descriptions of crabs, lizards or fish he’s found, and catching coconut crabs together. Kian and I filling long long evenings with just us again, playing cards, backgammon or bananagram until we can take it no more or the light is too dim.

 

Getting up for wees in the night and always being stunned by the stars,and their upside down showiness. Always being delighted by another bit of surprising nature. Finding fascinating bees, removing Crown of Thorns from the coral, rescuing lizards from cats. 

Feeling the pleasure and pressure of making food for guests, fending off cats and holding on to garnishes as we make our way along the dark path to the beach house. Partying in fancy dress, Halloween capers, and Roman challenges, and Marlon’s 10th birthday. 
Christmas Day fun; drinks at the beach house, an epic feast in Happy Api, and the spontaneous and hilarious ‘Queens speech’, a special  K & S broadcast…

  

 Dressing up for Friday tuc shop, making pancakes on sunny camp mornings, getting to know the hilarious cats. Showering whilst watching lizards or rogue spiders. Lighting smoky fires to ward off mosquitos. Homeschooling at jungle camp. The luxury of coffees in town and being amongst strangers.

Knowing that a dear old friends children are now great friends with mine. Knowing that I now feel so much closer to Kian for having shared this experience, and so much closer to Karyn and Boris for sharing their home. Knowing that I will always be able to picture their life out there now and be able to maintain easier contact with an understanding of that picture.

Today we waved good bye to it all and left with sadness and joy.
As I write we are delayed in Tongatapu,and put up in a nice hotel courtesy of the airline. The kids are so pleased to have a swimming pool to play in they have no time for sadness. I have so much I will miss and so many memories I will cherish but know that it is only over time and further reflection that I will really understand what I learnt from my Tonga experience. 

For now I know that it is not a place I think I would want to live long term, but I do wonder if it will call me back.

For now I know it was a good experience for us all but will not yet know what impact that will have on the kids and our lives.

For now I am so pleased to have been there but so excited about moving on. 

I am so relieved we are not returning straight from here to ‘home.’ The contrast would be too much I think, and we need time to digest. Instead we are heading to New Zealand for a few months. I’m excited to travel there, I’m excited to be returning to more food, more culture, more people, more independence.

I’m so looking forward but I know I will be thinking back with pleasure for a long long time to come.

 

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