5-28 Mommy came to visit – Part 2

Nagol remains crazy.
Back in Vila, we spent Friday re-packing for the island and wandering around town.  We headed to Pentecost on Saturday. Air Vanuatu had apparently received more bookings than usual to go see Nagol (land diving) and took two flights. We got on the later flight which left time to go cinnamon rolls.
Once we arrived, it was straight over to the dive site. They put on a dive for tourists right at the airport so it was a very short walk. There were a lot of spectators. The weather was mostly cooperative. It didn’t rain and the clouds even wandered off for part of it so we could get some good pictures.
During the week, there had been some back and forth about whether Gaea was going to be able to make it to the island. She had been in Santo for a Peace Corps workshop. Air Vanuatu ended up canceling her flight and didn’t have space to connect through Vila. After a trip to their office where I was told the flight was still on and she could get back on it, we checked again Saturday morning. It was cancelled. She talked her way onto a flight through Vila which got her back in time to catch the last plane that was coming for the tourists. I had just enough service to find out that she was coming and hold the boat. When she got in, we loaded into my papa’s boat and made the trip up to the village.
Meeting the host family before dinner.
Since the flight got in late, the sun was setting and it was dark by the time we got home. Night time boating is cool but unfortunately there were too many clouds to get a good view of the stars. There were algae or small glowy fish in the wake of the boat, so I think that made up for it.
Sunday we got to show my mom around the house and a little of the village. We decided to walk over to Melsisi for church so that she could see my site, too. It’s a long walk but pleasant and we were in no rush to get there. After church we took her around to shake hands with the people we spend time with and gave a little tour of the school. After resting at our house over there, we walked back to the village.
Tossing my sister around the waterfall
That evening, we went down to my family’s house for dinner. As always, it was a little awkward but we’re used to that. My papa enjoyed showing off his pigs while we waited for food. My momma can cook some pretty good white-man acceptable food so it wasn’t too bad. My mom even tried the laplap (which was taro, the best one.) After dinner, my family gave my mom a basket and a red mat and I handed out various presents she had brought for them with the appropriate toktok(small speech).
Monday we were headed back to Vila. We caught the afternoon flight and spent the morning at Waterfall. My momma and my sisters joined us in going for a swim. This involved my little sister getting tossed into the water a couple of times and was great fun! Eventually, we got back in the boat and down to the airport.
Obligatory resort promo shot.
Coming into Vila always seems to entail being busy and this time was no exception. Tuesday, I had a meeting with the Vanuatu Institute of Technology and Wednesday I had a safety and security training. Gaea hung out with my mom and did some shopping and read.
Thursday, I was finally free again. My mom rented a car and we checked into Aquanas Resort where she was putting us up. Staying at resorts has been one of the most fun things we have done with family when they came to visit. Aquanas was a very nice resort with a pretty beach (parts of which have wi-fi) and fantastic food. There was also AC in the rooms and the internet was quite fast for Vanuatu. It was so nice that we decided to just hang out at the resort on Friday. Reading on the beach, going for a tour around the lagoon in kayaks, playing around on the internet, and eating delicious food. It was a good, relaxing day.
Meeting the training family, getting an island dress.
Saturday, we drove around Efate. There is a black-top road the circles the whole island. I had called my host brother from training to tell him that we were going to go out. He failed to let the rest of the family. Even with no warning, they were very excited to see us. Unfortunately our mama wasn’t home but our sisters cooked lunch and gave my mom an island dress. We walked down to the ocean while lunch was being cooked and then storied while we ate. We handed out a few small thank you presents to this family as well. On the way back to town we stopped at Onesua School and took a tour around with Tim, the volunteer there.
The last night at the resort we filled with delicious food. Every meal, we would banter with the staff. I enjoy surprising ni-Vans by telling them that I live on one of the outer islands and drink kava, especially the ones that work at resorts and are used to tourist white people.
This is where we ate most meals.
The next morning, we had a last breakfast on the beach and said goodbye to the wonderful resort. After dropping our stuff off at the cheap Peace Corps dive, we went with my mom to the airport to say goodbye. We saw her off to security and she has now arrived safely back in the US.
It continues to be wonderful having family come visit. Not only is it fantastic to see them, but it also means they really get what we’re talking about when we call home. They’ve seen where we live and met some of the people. Having people back home who can relate means a lot.

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