Saturday, September 19, 2015

Day 14 - Return to New Zealand

On Saturday morning we got packed up and got ourselves ready to head back to "Base Camp", what we have come to call our little flat in Takapuna.  We are not there enough to have it feel like home.  In the 10 months we have been serving, we have been away from Auckland every bit as much as we have been there.  We started with our trip to Niue in January. Then we went to Samoa for a month from the middle of February to the middle of March.  We took a trip with Sister Winters and her family down to Hobbiton, Rotorua and then on to the south end of Lake Taupo towards the end of March.  There have been three different trips to the Northlands.  Of course we can't leave out the infamous trip to Fiji in July when I broke my wrist.  Now we have been to Tonga twice.  We have not gathered any moss!

We had some time to kill before our plane left, so we went to a couple of the different markets.   Larry found some Pepsident Original toothpaste which is wintergreen flavor - his favorite kind so he was happy about that.  There are so many brands of things we liked from back home that just are not available here in the Pacific so that when we do run on to something like that it seems a special blessing.

We also went to the Distribution Center which is right across from the temple so I could get some new garments.  

At the second market we got to say a final goodbye to Sister Piatau who was there with her daughter selling popcorn - her usual weekend activity.

 As we were first arriving at that second market (down by the harbor in Nukalofa) we saw another parade - this one very different from the revelry of the Rugby fans.  This was a very organized parade of formal marchers and bands.  All the marchers were organized and lined up coming from a stone building tht looked like a church or a school and one of the groups held a banner saying St. Joseph Business College, so we were not sure if the parade was specifically about that institution or if that was just one of the groups of people in the procession.  It could have been something to do with continuation of celebrating the Crown Prince's birthday.  We never were exactly sure.  Not knowing the language, we could not understand any of the conversations going on around us as people gathered to watch.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed the excitement and stood by the side of the road watching for a while.  We couldn't help but love the enegy of the marching band!

After that we stopped at a local ice cream shop for a cone and then it was time to head to the airport.  Our time in Tonga was done.  We felt good about all we had accomplished.  We were ready to go home.

So once again we went through the proces of airport security, the long flight home, clearing customs, and making our way back to our place in Takapuna.  Again we were unpacking suitcases, doing the laundry, getting groceries and making the transition back to our New Zealand life.  We had only a short time to be there before we would be out on our next assignment.  But for the time we were there, it would be good to see our dear fellow missionaries and to spend a little pocket of time is our land of the great white cloud.

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