Thursday, August 16, 2012
I’m impressed with Cayla and myself for consistently waking up on time in the wee hours of the morning. We joined the sisters from Rosiena for morning prayer and mass. After breakfast, Sr. Rosa took us to the United States Guadalcanal war memorial. The memorial sits on the hill in Honiara and recounts the heroic fighting of the US Marines and Navy. It was humbling to learn details about the battles and the sacrifices of both Americans and Japanese. Cayla and I had driven through and stayed in places where battles and bombings took place during the war. At the gate to the memorial, there was a book for visitors to sign. People from all over the world have come to show their respect and pay tribute to the honorable deeds of thousands of men.
After our little excursion, we carefully packed gifts we received and bought for our families and friends, crossing our fingers that customs wouldn’t confiscate our treasures. Laurel, the sisters’ English teacher from New Zealand, had Cayla and I do a little Q & A with the sisters at the end of their lesson. We enjoyed lunch together, and then we were given more gifts. I’ve been feeling uncomfortable when people give me things here. I really appreciate the generosity and thought, but I feel so guilty accepting things from people who have nothing. However, it is part of their culture to send a Solomon memory with visitors, so I will proudly wear and use everything that has kindly been given to me here.
I drove to the airport in my new Solomon Islands tee shirt from the sisters. Sr. Catie and Jennifer were waiting to say farewell. The heat of the Honiara airport was suffocating. We checked in and said goodbye to our friends. We got our baskets and souvenirs sprayed at the quarantine desk. The flight boarded on time, but didn’t leave for another half hour - surprise, surprise. Since there was a delay, Cayla and I rushed through the Brisbane airport to catch our connecting flight to Sydney. We ran off the plane and caught the train to the domestic terminal without a second to spare. The two of us must have looked nuts (my neat cornrows were quite frizzy at this point) speeding through security and running to our gate. We were in our seats just a few minutes before takeoff. Whew.
Christine and Rick Vosila were waiting for us in the airport. It was a relief to see them, and felt like I was home. We talked the whole ride home about some of the things we encountered. At their house, I ate a sandwich. It was heavenly. While I chowed down, I watched tv with the Vosilas. The Kardashians came on, and I seriously considered hopping on a plane back to Solomon Islands. It’s unbelievable that two people are both humans and live in such a drastically different way. I took a luxurious, hot shower and put on some fresh clean clothes. It feels wonderful, but I already miss my Solomon family.
Lookim yu mao Solomon Islands!