25 Tisema Pulelulu Christmas Day
Happy Christmas from Tonga. Thanks everyone for your Xmas wishes.
Early start to build my two Nemo inspired watermelon fruit fish. I had managed to find a pic on the internet so had a starting point which made things a little easier but I can never stick to a straight recipe. The results were very quirky and fitted into the eccentric/eclectic Tongan celebrations which were to come.
Our day unfolded without us really knowing quite what to expect. Mum popped on her new marketi top, Kotoni his tasteful flashing santa hat (thanks Sue & Martin) and me the lovely colourful Tongan frock from Gold Coast Sally accessorized with angel halo ( Sue & Martin again!).
There is a lovely story with my perfectly fitting Tongan floral frock… Sally spied it in an op shop in Australia and brought it over for me as a gift when she visited in September… as it was made by Tin Tin Fashion House… in the Kingdom of Tonga and so needed to be repatriated. It will be a well-travelled garment as I intend to take it back to Orange with me.
We collected Fay and Wendy – two NZ volunteers and headed to Louisa and Cyril’s place on the lagoon. Louisa works for Department of Foreign Affairs and her French husband for the Tongan Business Enterprise Centre. They had a great modern verandah fringed house and were great hosts.
We enjoyed a lovely champagne brunch before playing secret santa with our $10TOP kris kringle gifts. Kotoni happily came home with a lovely little carved pig, I scored a bottle of gourmet NZ onion marmalade and Mum a gorgeous wooden French vegetable peeler.
After our eats we were marshalled outside to bash a piggy piñata made by Louisa and was filled with sweets.
No siesta I am afraid as we headed for home to prepare for our own Tongan festive evening feast co-hosted with Saane our landlady in our ‘home made’ Tonga hut which was just lovely with plenty of food, both Tongan and ‘normal’!! She provided the freshly skewered and spit roasted puaka (pig) and other Tongan goodies while the rest of us brought salads and sweet treats.
The pictures tell the story and again we had an eclectic array of guests which made for interesting conversation around our table.
As Saane was making up the takeaways (always at Tongan functions) of leftovers around 10pm a familiar van came bouncing through the gate – Tevita (Ahopanilolo student) arrived with some family and friends, guitars, a healthy appetite and strong vocal chords ready to serenade us.
Saane of course insisted on feeding them first so the leftover pile was substantially diminished but nobody cared as we were also treated to some gorgeous singing and serenaded by the talented musicians seated around the dining table.
There was a healthy assortment of guests to share Christmas with this year including revellers from Australia, New Zealand, France Philippines, Guam, Republic of Congo, China, Scotland (and English!!), Tongan and Hawaiian!
We flopped into bed around midnight for an hours nap before heading to the airport to collect my aunt Emily arriving in the 2am flight from Sydney… I am pleased to report it was only 20 minutes late and there were NO diversions to NZ this time!