Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tongan Pregnancy Lore - according to Jen

Being pregnant, for the first time, in a foreign country has been an adventure, let me tell you! Everyone is excited for us, every female, Aunty, and Grandma in the village wants to give their advice about what I must do in order to have a perfect baby. Everyday they surprise me with new rules.

Sure, every culture has their unique brand of pregnancy lore - but I dare any to be as creative as Tonga.
For starters chili peppers are forbidden. Unless I want my newborn to have twitching eyes syndrome. I don't, but mind you there are limited flavor additives for Tongan food - we can either put copious amounts of salt on our daily yam/taro portions - or chilli. I love chilis! But when I catch myself reaching for the tiny red treasures I can feel every eye accusing me "Do you really want 'Osi's child to have twitching eyes??"
Coffee is completely tabu.
Even one cup. One tiny cup. Being from Seattle, the mecca of fine coffee (Starbucks), it is my birthright to be a coffee addict. I even downloaded the International and FDA caffiene standards for pregnant women, 1-3 cups a day is perfectly fine. But alas, I must sacrifice my coffee cup on the alter of good motherhood.
Octopus (another favorite) is also forbidden. Otherwise the child will be born with splotchy octopus skin. That's ok I don't need a Star Trek baby.
Too many carrots (fav. veggie) is also bad. Otherwise the child will be born orange, so I'm told.

The GOOD pregnancy lore, I am thankful for is that I am no longer allowed to touch cold water anymore. Since we don't have warm running water 'Osi now carries the responsibility of handwashing our clothes and dishes. And I don't shower anymore.
Just kidding.
I heat up the kettle and take a bucket bath. Which I sometimes do for the clothes and dishes too, because 'Osi has to hang up all the laundry. (They believe pregnant women should not stretch or reach up their hands too much.
The most fantastic story I've heard is whoever I stare at the most will resemble the baby. Thankfully I spend 95% of my day staring at my husband. So we're expecting a very handsome child.

Please let me know if you can explain my frequent sneezing and crazy dreams. Last night I dreamed that kung-fu Thai fighters were taking over our village. Thankfully I was able to surf a tidal wave to a deserted island where my missions leader was making pancakes......(maybe it was the octopus I snuck a bite of when no one was looking. shhhh)

Needless to say God is teaching me alot about humility. While my hormones are raging and I can't have coffee, this is the royal test of submitting myself to the culture I am called to serve. Please pray for me to love my neighbors....and follow the rules.

1 comment:

Ricardo and Andrea Bolanos said...

How interesting! What fun it is to read your stories. I love learning about your Tongan culture. We are glad to hear you are doing well, as you learn all these new things.