Hi ‘Ateliana (Adrianne) update aficionados:

In a nutshell—she’s doing great! As we planned we got a hold of Adrianne about Sunday morning breakfast (3:00 PM Saturday our time) and talked for about 50 minutes. Here are the highlights:

• She attends classes from 9:00 AM till about 4:00 PM consisting of Language, Technical “stuff”, cultural issues, disabilities, health, safety and security. The evenings are homework, playing with the “parent’s” kids, beach, bar, talking, even a Mormon Church dance.

• Too many feasts and teas. The tea is during the middle of the morning and mid-afternoon, complete with cakes and donuts.

• To classes it’s about a 15 minute drive and a little over an hour walk. They are doing the walk to get some exercise since exercise is not a major cultural thing.

• She has attended church which is as much a cultural and social place as it is religion. Live music is present. One time in her family’s church of about 100 people and another where the King worships and it had about 200 present. One is not supposed to look at the King when inside; she did sneak a peek. Her house mother has made her a blouse and skirt specifically for church, decorated with a Sea Shell pattern which Adrianne proclaimed “beautiful”.

• Tuesday at 5:00 PM she will leave for the island group of Vava’u. She will be given Dramamine since it takes 24 hours to get there. The ship has no sleeping facilities and no food service. To prepare they will organize plastic pails with food and have plastic throw-up bags to the ready. She hopes that they will also catch sight of some whales.

• Once in Vava’u she will be there for a month. E-mail will be practically non available and she looks for “snail” mail which she thinks arrives weekly—whenever the boat makes it. On her island there will be a group of three and their whole day will be language learning.

• Yesterday the Tongan Navy gave them water safety lessons out in the harbor.

Things such as boat-righting were dealt with. Also shown were pictures of sea creatures you should not try to befriend. Adrianne is now certain that she does not want to ever go swimming in the ocean.

• She concludes that one of the fifteen trainees will leave/quit before the swearing-in ceremony on September 9.

• She feels quite positive that there is a chance that she’ll work with children with disabilities—this has her excited.

My own little add-on is that Marcia and I were thrilled and proud listening to her rattle off some pretty amazing situations, which she appears to be handling without skipping a beat. Also, she has her birthday on August 24—I just know that a note or card would be oh so welcome. (mail address is on her blog)

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