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    Posted December 12, 2012 by
    Vava'u, Tonga
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What was your best moment of 2012?

    More from RomaniaScene

    Above the Rest


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Veteran iReporter Natalie Montanaro works as a US Peace Corps Response Teacher. In 2012, after more than three years working in Romania, Natalie left Europe for the Pacific island of Tonga.

    “2012 was very busy and filled with emotion. I said goodbye to many friends in Romania and a lifestyle that I'd grown accustomed to. When I arrived here in Tonga, once again it was settling in to a new home, new culture, making new connections, learning the culture and language more fully, etc” said the 54-year-old originally from Charleston, South Carolina.

    “Now, I head into January with the wish that all my family and friends around the world are blessed with good things and good health and as the clock strikes midnight, which will be before anyone else in the world since we are on the international dateline! I'll be thinking about how to continue to be the best representation of our country abroad once again by giving of my time, energy, heart, experience and love to others whom I meet. And of course, I'd like to see more places around the globe, too, this year!” she added.
    - stinabacker, CNN iReport producer

    Well here's the view from above one of Tonga's 176 islands where I am now spending a year in the South Pacific wtih Peace Corps Response. After three wonderful years in Romania, I am truly blessed to be here.  One of the days that I will never forget  that shines above the rest was on September 19th, when I went swimming with the humpback whales, a very amazing and unique experience to be sure in the Friendly Islands of Tonga.  I took this photo on the flight from the island where I live, Tongatapu, over to the Vava'u group,  for a week of special vacation time one on one with the deep blue sea. See my iReport on whaleswimming here-


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