Three years in building the Tonga house – What i have learnt and next steps
For the past three years, we’ve embarked on quite the adventure — constructing our very own house in our beloved Tonga! Not just an average, run-of-the-mill task, and certainly tougher with the added challenges of travel restrictions and lockdowns.
Our secret ingredients? Recycled materials and sheer determination! Every bit of our abode has been brought to life with pieces my husband and I have lovingly re-homed from demolition sites or scouted from online marketplace and Trade Me.
Our weekends always had us on the move, heaving items across Auckland, tidying them up, and relocating them to our site, eagerly awaiting the next shipment.
However, the ride has been bumpy. Each shipment comes with a hefty $8k price tag, a significant leap from the initial $3200 we started with. This price hike has definitely tested our mettle, making it tougher to load and send each container.
This journey has been fueled by sweat, passion, and yes, often my own tears. But, as we touched down in Tonga and saw our house standing proud, 90% done, all the exhaustion seemed to melt away. Sitting back, reflecting on the home we had built for our family, it was clear that every hurdle, every challenge, was worth the marvel we had birthed.
A profound question began to take shape, sparking a discussion that stretched late into the night – Should we consider moving to Tonga sooner? This house, initially envisioned for our retirement, stood grandly, a testament to our diligent work. The sense of accomplishment, joy, and freedom was just about palpable. As I marvelled at the fruits of our labour, I couldn’t help but ponder – when can I make this my everyday paradise?
Oh, how I adore the Tongan lifestyle! There’s a certain simplicity to it, a strengthening of family ties, and an overwhelming sense of community, generosity, and shared responsibilities. I’m still getting the hang of this sharing business, though. I must admit, I’m not a natural sharer, and missing personal items can ruffle my feathers, but I’m consciously working on adapting.
Life without the heavy burden of a mortgage feels liberating. The day is mine to shape as I please and providing for the family feels like a joyful endeavor rather than a chore. This trip, we spent time crabbing and enjoyed feasts of succulent crabs dipped in butter. Lunches were fresh papayas adorned with shaved coconut – a combination I will never get tired of!
As the mango season draws near, I cannot help but feel giddy at the thought of having three colossal mango trees within our own backyard. A stunning passion fruit vine complements our natural larder, trailing beautifully in the corner of our garden. I can’t wait to try my hand at crafting varying recipes featuring these tropical delights. Homemade ice blocks in myriad fruity flavours have already become a daily delight, made from fresh fruits we discovered in our surroundings. Our days seemed to blend into a pleasant rhythm of house chores, gardening, spending quality time with family, and settling into our Tongan home.
Contemplating the rhythm of this simpler, more connected way of life, I’m left with a sense of profound contentment. A feeling of returning, not to a house, but a home. And though a part of me wonders if monotonous might creep in amidst this contentment, there is a greater part of me that anticipates exciting times ahead.
Adjusting to a broader sense of community, transitioning to a new pace of life, experimenting further with the rich bounty of natural food sources on our own land – it’s all part of this incredible journey. Who knows what other adventures, discoveries, and growth this Tongan life may bring?
So, will I move to Tonga sooner rather than later? Well, I’m yet to answer that question. What I am certain of is that my heart holds renewed space for our Tongan home. For now, I’ll continue to implore, grow, share, and savour these precious moments.
Until then, stay tuned for the next chapter of my Tongan house adventure.