“I’m delighted to invite you to serve …”

TWO EMAILS ARRIVED this afternoon on a tropical breeze and splashed down softly in our lagoon, rippling the surface. Mine read,

“Dear David,

“Congratulations! On behalf of the entire Peace Corps family, I’m delighted to invite you to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tonga. You’ve been selected to serve as a Primary Education English Teacher, departing August 31, 2015.”

My wife, Suzanne, received a similar invitation to serve in Tonga as a Primary Education Teacher Trainer.

After brief instructions on how to accept the call, the message concluded,

“Again, congratulations!
Carrie Hessler-Radelet
Peace Corps Director”

Logo of the U.S. Peace Corps

Suzanne and I were in El Salvador when the news arrived. She’s completing a short-term assignment for Peace Corps Response as the resident lepidopterist at a touristic butterfly zoo. I happened to be visiting her during a few days off work in Miami.

Within mere seconds, our ship set a new course toward the South Pacific. As a following wind filled the main sail, we grabbed each other’s hands and jumped up and down chanting, “We’re going to Tonga! We’re going to Tonga!”

What began as ripples of excitement roared ashore in a crash of seawater, foam and salt spray. It’s what we wanted. It’s what we hoped for. We’re ecstatic and look forward to the challenge of learning a new language, the delight of meeting new people and the pleasure of serving together in a place we’ve never seen except through photographs, others’ writings and in our own imaginations.

Islands of Ha‘apai Group, Tonga

Tatafa Islet in front of ‘Uiha Island, Ha‘apai Group, Tonga

Bookmark this journal titled with our Tongan names, Tēvita and Sūsana, and join us on our South Seas adventure for 27 months. It should be quite a voyage!