2-19 Family Visit, Part 4 (The Last)
|Pondering the wine.|
Tuesday morning, the threat of a cyclone became real. I spent the day assisting the staff in coordinating the housing for the 40-some volunteers currently in Vila. At that point, the cyclone path was heading straight at us. By Tuesday afternoon, my family’s flight was cancelled and we were cyclone ready.
Jonah and Daddy went shopping and got pasta, cheese and crackers, wine, fruit, granola and milk. Enough provisions for two days, including extra water and a deck of cards. They’d also mailed themselves the things that wouldn’t make it through customs in New Zealand and were re-planning their New Zealand trip. While they did that, I hauled mattresses around, called other volunteers and generally made myself as useful as possible. Jason was teaching sessions to the new group, which at least kept all of them contained.
Jason and I made it back to our hotel around 3:30. At that point the cyclone was aiming a bit south of us but had bumped up to a category 4 storm. My phone battery was nearly dead and we had forgotten the charger in the office. On that flimsy excuse, we went to a birthday/cyclone party at Carla’s house.
We ate homemade pizza and drank wine with a bunch of other PCVs. None of us were in a hurry to go anywhere and no one had another agenda, so Jonah and Daddy got to really meet a few of my friends. With people running in and out of the office, it is hard to focus on meeting a few person or really getting to know someone. This way, we got to just chill. Jason and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I hope Jonah and Daddy did, too.
By 8 pm, the storm was sliding south of us, following the corridor between New Calendonia and Vanuatu. We walked back to the hotel with high winds and an overcast sky. We locked ourselves in and never woke up for the worst of it. By 6 am, Cyclone Jasmine was tearing through Tanna and Aneityum, having missed the urban center of Vila. The best part, in my mind, was having an extra three days with my family.
We didn’t do anything spectacular during those days, just sort of hung out and relaxed. We went back to Wan Smol Bag and got posters and booklets for me to take to the island and Jonah to take to New York. We cooked and ate together. We drank went to the mama’s market where Jonah and I got excited about food all over again. We wandered through the craft market that feels more like the pushy Central American markets than the usual ni-Van sales style. We spent time together as a family.
The last night they were in town, we went out to Iririki Island for dinner. I thought Aore was posh but this place put it to shame. I prefer Aore, but Iririki is more of the classic 5-star hotel kind of place. We sat at the tiki bar and watched the Vila lights, then we went to dinner with white table clothes, five pieces of silver ware and two stemmed glasses each. After dinner, we went back to the tiki bar where we enjoyed dessert and after dinner drinks. At some point, Jonah befriended the bar staff (of course), and got invited behind the bar. He made a drink which they promised to make as the special for the next day.
|My bro ended up behind the bar. Busman’s holiday, I guess.|
We got to the airport at 5:30 am, plenty of time to check in and say good bye. They left for 4 days in New Zealand and I went back to do as much work as I could before returning to Pentecost.
I was an amazing trip. I miss them already but I’m happy they got a chance to see this crazy life I’m leading.