Monday, October 21, 2013

Dear Brielle,

Grandma and Papa are having so much fun in Tonga, and can't wait until you and your mama come to see us. We wanted to show you some of the things we have been seeing and some of the things we have been doing.

There are lots of interesting bugs in Tonga. One day I saw a praying mantis. A praying mantis is green and long, and it holds its front arms out in front of it, and it looks like it is praying. That's why they call it a praying mantis. Another day when I was walking through the trees near the beach I looked down and right on the front of my shirt was a walking stick. It surprised me and I jumped and brushed it off. I looked on the ground to see if I could find it, but I couldn't see it any more because it blended in with all the little sticks and dead leaves on the ground. A walking stick is brown and looks like a little twig. They usually sit on branches of trees or bushes. The praying mantis sits on bushes that have green leaves, and looks just like a leaf on the branch. The praying mantis and walking stick are very good at hiding themselves and it makes it hard for birds or other animals that would eat them to even find them. That's a pretty cool trick, huh? If I see anymore I'll take pictures and send them to you. Maybe Mama can find some pictures on the Internet and you can see what they look like. And when you come to Tonga we'll go see if we can find some. Won't that be fun!!!

We've seen some really big spiders. Here are pictures of two of them.
And there are little tiny black spiders that jump from spot to spot. They are very fast.

There are big butterflies like this.

And even little tiny butterflies that are purple and like to play in the grass.

Here are some pictures of a little tiny gecko that lives in our house. He's only about as long as your pointer finger. That's tiny, huh. There are some big geckos that live outside, and at night they chirp.

And here's a picture of a gecko with a blue tail we saw at the beach. 

There are really big cockroaches here, too. I took a picture so you would know what one looks like. I don't like cockroaches!!!!

At the beach we saw some little tiny white crabs that live in the sand. They are the same color as the sand and are really hard to see. Sometimes when you walk by one it will start running and then you can see them. They run really, really fast. They look like this.

And there are some tiny little green crabs that live on the rocks out in the ocean. They look like this.

Pres. Tupou told us when he was growing up he and his dad and his brothers would go to the rocks in the ocean and pick up the green crabs and just eat them. Here's a picture of Pres. Tupou eating a little green crab. I didn't want to try one.

And there are mussels that live on the rocks, too. Here's Papa eating one.......he just picked it up off the rocks, opened it, and ate it. Can you believe that? I didn't eat one.

We saw some very interesting animals that are long and skinny, kind of like a snake, but they are a kind of sea cucumber. They have tentacles near their mouth, and they crawl along the sand in the ocean, and their tentacles pick up little things to eat, and put the food in its mouth. Here are some pictures of some we saw.
This is what the mouth looks like

Here's a picture of another kind of sea cucumber. It looks similar to the kind of cucumber we buy from the store, doesn't it. I think that may be why they call it a sea cucumber...because it looks like a cucumber, but lives in the sea. What do you think?

In some of the tide pools, back in little holes, are little animals that kind of look like spiky octopus. They are very shy and only come part way out of their holds. I don't know what these animals are called. Here is a picture of one peeking out of its hole a little bit.
And here's a green and blue starfish

There are lots of shells on the beach. There are some really, teeny tiny ones that are as small as the end of your fingernail. Here's a picture of some that are that tiny.

Here's a picture of a really big shell. It's called a Giant Clam.

One day when we were walking on the beach I found this.

I don't know what it is. It kind of looks like a tooth. It would fit in the palm of your Mama's hand. I poked it with a stick because I didn't want to pick it up and it kind of felt like I was poking a balloon. What do you think this could be? You'll have to see if you can help me figure out what it is.

There are great big bats that live in Tonga. They are called Flying Foxes because they look like a little fox with wings. They fly around at night and eat the young coconuts that are growing up in the trees. They also eat bananas and mangos and other kinds of fruit. One day we were walking in a field and there were lots of bats flying above us. I took this picture of them.

We saw a cute little baby horse, too. Here's a picture of it.

And we saw lots of cows.They live in fields of coconut trees. Coconuts and cows....that's kind of funny :)

And here's a picture of a baby calf drinking milk from its mama.
And some great big bulls.

And there are lots and lots of chickens and roosters. I tried to take some pictures of some little chicks, but they are afraid of people and hide when people come near. Papa and I also saw a mama duck and some baby ducks. Here's a picture of a rooster that lives near our house. Sometimes it comes into our yard. It likes to start crowing really early in the mornings while it is still dark outside. I don't like it when it does that because it wakes me up before I want to wake up!!! Silly rooster.

And there are lots and lots of pigs. Here are some pictures of some baby pigs and their mama.

Papa and I can't wait to see you when you come to Tonga. We miss you very much. The letter you wrote to us while we lived in Wrangell, and the picture you made for us of your hands, and pictures of you and your Mama are on the front of our fridge. We like looking at the pictures of you. But, we can't wait until we get to see you in person and can show you all the fun things to see in Tonga.

Love, PapaMa


  1. That is a sweet letter! It makes the bugs sound so beautiful, even if the pictures totally creep me out!

  2. Sandy, You should be a science teacher in your next life.
    In this life you are a wonderful grandma!
    Donna Leigh