Jeff had actually written a series of letters to his village informing them of our trip - none of which ended up reaching them.
"The up side to that," Jeff said, "is that they didn't have time to put together any elaborate ceremonies."
But even without proper notice, the village was extremely hospitable and welcoming. I mean... I've never had anyone make me my very own potty (from scratch) before. It may have just been a few tin walls, no roof, and a hole in the ground... but that's special, I don't care what you say.
Within hours of our arrival the community had put together our temporary home, sitting space and porch, wash station, and yes, an outdoor restroom for yours truly.
Thursday afternoon we joined Jeff's host family who unofficially adopted him as their honorary son. They held a special lunch for us at their home and presented us with gifts: an island dress for me and a weaved basket for Jeff. They prepared a meal of rice, chicken soup, vegetables, and a cake - a very rare treat in Vanuatu, and I can't believe I'm saying this (the people there live off sugar, we're talking a 1/2 cup of sugar to one tea bag) but, the cake... kinda needed more sugar.
Later that evening the co-op hosted a second ceremony for us. We went through the same routine... gifts, food, prayer... only this time I was notified that I had to wear the island dress I received on our plane ride home. Then they added (for good measure) that I, "had no choice."
In his translation to me, Jeff added, "For real, they're expecting you to wear it."
To which I responded, "You know I love you right?"
He smiled at me.
We were also asked to make a 'small talk-talk,' or speech. I told them I was very grateful for their hospitality and kindness, and that because they were Jeffs family, they were also my family - which couldn't be more true - I wore a damn island dress on the plane ride home!