About Tonga

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Does Tonga have Fashion Police?

I've got to be upfront with you all. I like clothes. Well, it's more like love, or obsession. So? I like jewelry too, and scarves, and shoes..ohhhh shoes! SO WHAT- does that make me any less of a devoted Peace Corps Trainee? NO!

Here's my dilemma. I hate all my Tonga clothes, basically. I am anticipating one of my main challenges in Tonga to be not feeling awkward and gross in my outfits. Is that trivial? Maybe to you. But, self-esteem is a necessary part of life, and mine often comes from feeling good in my clothes. Do not interpret this post as a complaint, because it's only meant to be a comical reflection.

My friends always say they've never seen me in the same outfit twice. They go shopping in my closet-sometimes I never even know when things are gone! I'm not exactly proud of this over-indulgent compulsion toward clothes (it's not just clothes either..sadly). It's just a fact. When I have issues (and let's just admit it, I've got a lot of issues) I like to indulge in a little (or a lot of) retail therapy. One of the things that appealed to me about Peace Corps in the first place was the minimalistic lifestyle. I thought, "wouldn't it be cool to realize a world where things don't matter?" Then WHY Kristen do you want to bring 384938493 pieces of clothing (and shoes, and make-up, and and and..) with you?

When I first started telling people about my intention to join the Peace Corps I'm pretty sure there was a lot of doubt. Upon first glance I will admit that I probably look a tad high maintenance. Maybe I am, I'll own up to it. But, I never considered that a reason not to attempt this challenge. I stood in front of the mirror today trying on numerous skirts (rescued from various thrift stores around Virginia Beach I might add) and I pretty much wanted to barf. They are figureless and fashionless. I keep telling myself it doesn't matter. Tongans don't value clothes. But I'm not a Tongan, and I grew up with my nose in a Seventeen Magazine. I can't possibly imagine myself in a state of mind where clothing doesn't matter. I wonder if I will lose this self-consciousness in time?

I am probably going to have to vacuum pack my clothes for the trip to Tonga. I will try to downsize as much as humanly possible, but I have come to terms with my condition. I look forward to an eye opening experience that will help me put into perspective how important (or not important, rather) things such as clothes really are. But in the mean time, I will struggle with leaving behind my precious coach purse (it's fun really, a true self-growth exercise)! OH coach purssse :(

Anyways, the moral of this story, the point of this loooong drawn out discussion is just this: you don't have to be any certain body to want to help better the world. I'll still paint my fingernails, and wear stylish jewelry. That's just who I am. And, now that you all know what you're dealing with here, I'm sure you can't wait to hear just how well I'll fit in when I get to Tongaaaa, (note sarcasm) BAhahaaa.

Stay tuned.


  1. Hey you! We just received your postcard from Virginia Beach. MALO 'AUPITO...haha in a few days you will start with your Tongan lessons in PST. Best of luck with your final preparation and this blog entry was kinda funny. im sure you can conjure some kind of tongan/american fashion that is hip. lol. Thanks again. FL

  2. so, did you make it to Tonga yet? how is the island fashion coming? lolz...thanks for helping my folks...being a product of this great vision (peace corps) I am so thankful for all this country does.