Tuesday, August 31, 2010

thatsa big bridge

August 29, 2010
after going to see the beach, we went and saw the san juanic0 bridge. this is pretty neat. it connects leyte to the next island. it is the longest bridge in the philippines, maybe asia. my host family was undecided on that, but it was quite amazing all the same. it spans 2.2 ks and was a gift from ferdinand marcos to his wife Imelda (the one with the shoes). if i were to take a bus to manila this would be how i would do it, but it would still take 21 hours.

I shall return...

August 29, 2010

so the philippines have had an interesting history.  magellan came here when he was going around the world. if you know that story you know that his crew made it but not him. he had a bit of a snafu in the philippines that ended up with him, you know dying. that happened near here. well this started about 300 years of spanish rule. lots of other countries have had influence on the culture here. then the japanese came in and occupied the islands.
well douglas macarther came and did some stuff then left and said “i shall return”. he did return and here is where he came. to where i live. my host mom here remembers it. she was in first grade. yesterday we went to see that beach where it all happened. on the way we stopped and spoke with my host mom’s brother who was older and remembers it also. his highlights were soldiers being nice to the children and ignoring the adults. they would give chocolate to the kids. they remember that while america was occupying the philippines they celebrated the fourth of july and sang the national anthem in schools. then early in the 50s the philippines gained independence, did away with our song and now celebrate on june 12th.
and that my friends, is philippine history in my very brief nutshell version of the details i know or at least pretend to know.

before my day even begins

August 30, 2010
did you know the creator of netflix was a peace corps volunteer? well he was, and it all makes sense now. i’m sure he came up with the theory all before 6 in the morning. for those who know me, you know just how big this next statement is: i think i may leave here a bit of a morning person. not once since i got here have i slept past 5:30 and i’ve never actually gotten up out of bed past 6:30 (that is the big thing, because i really enjoy the slow get up out of bed).
there are a lot of factors at work here:
by the end of the day i am exhausted, i think i’ve been asleep by 10:30 every night
the roosters in the back yard, they crow hours before sunrise, don’t let the jimmy dean commercials fool you, oh and it is not a once and done ordeal—all morning long!
the sun comes up early here and will always come up early
since arrival in the philippines I’ve been peeing like a race horse (in fact last night was the first night i made it to 4 with out the morning urge
     o part jet lag, part of my extreme efforts to drink lots of water and also
     o i’ve not been feeling good. in part a new diet and also my malaria pill gives me stomach cramps and an overall just not feeling good feeling
however there is not much to do between the 5:45 shower (more on that in a different blog) and leaving for class at 7:45. there is breakfast, but that doesn’t take 2 hours. if I was either flexible or could focus and sit still i could yoga. i’ve been reading (a lot, not just in the morning). running just is unthinkable (it is so hot, blog on that also) and i am not quite too the point where i should be walking around by myself yet. i could sleep in, but to be right good and honest i don’t want to get into that habit. it would be hard to break when i got to site. and soon enough i will have a language to study. so for now i will blog away and experience the world before 7:30 a.m. for a change.
maúpay gna ága (good morning)!

kasílyas (bathrooms)

august 30, 2010
so bathrooms are definitely the first thing the trainees texted each other about. luckily i was able to provide good reports.
i have a shower (no hot water, but i like it like that) which means i get to learn to bucket showering later on in my pc career
i have a toilet that flushes, which means i get to learn about bucket flushing later on in my pc career
i have toilet paper, which means i get to learn about bucket wiping later in my pc career (just kidding! i will leave that to the natives, i’ll choose to wipe throughout the duration)
however speaking of toilet paper, i’m curious how long it takes to get into the habit of throwing it away…. hahahaha just a thought. and another thought, i hope they teach us how to burn just our garbage and not the whole village or town.

just a little shell shock

August 28, 2010
i have a purpose! i am still just a trainee, but finally got a job and area and language! i was so nervous, but felt very unique in my anxiety. people were wondering where they would be and what they would be speaking but I was so focused on my job. primary education is a brand new program this year in the philippines and only 10 volunteers would be in this sector. this was not public information, but wasn’t private either and slowly was sneaking out of the current volunteers mouths. i was so nervous: only 10 of the 80 some odd of us. well it happened I am going to be teaching year 6 students (11-12 year olds). i will be training in palo, leyte and learning to speak waray waray. i have been here in leyte for almost a day and half. and i am realizing just how huge this is.
my host mom is a retired teacher and i live with here and her daughter in her 30s. next door is either 1 or 2 of her sons and their families (not quite sure). she also has 2 children married and living france and a child studying here, but not in palo. i have a room on the first floor.
we have not quite settled into our routines yet, which makes sense considering i just got here. i find myself alone a lot and i am not quite sure where everybody went. i think they go next door and are doing there day to day routines. as they should, but until monday i do not have a day to day routine of my own, but i’ve been aching for that long before finding myself home alone in the philippines (the desire goes back to kemmerer). hopefully once i get my routine going i can fit into their routine also. because right now i just feel like a hindrance amongst other things. namely being lonely. this is the first time since philadelphia i have not been surrounded by people at all times, and at pst i had found a great group of people who didn’t mind that my name was not same as theirs. it was sad to say goodbye to laura, and jessica, and sarah, and laura, and jessica, and the other sarah is here with me but not in my training cluster so in a different part of town. but it will be good for us to have our individual experiences and share and visit each other. whale sharks here we come (well as soon as we can leave site)!
i am not home sick, but at this point i am thinking too much. thinking of kemmerer, and thinking of albuquerque, and foremost thinking of vermont (a place i’ve never been). it is kind of frustrating that i am sitting here alone in a new house while two of my dear friends are getting married. they are happy for me, but we all thought i was going to be too busy to not be missing the festivities. wrong, too bad it is not next weekend when i have started classes. i miss my family, and still wish i could have said better goodbyes and currently had better communication with my friends. these are things with time that i will still miss, but won’t be active in my mind.
i know that this is just an adjustment. every single thing is new, and i am going into sensory over load and not handling a malaria pill too well. wyoming is quiet and leyte has given me a home with a rooster tethered by my window. wyoming smells like cattle and leyte smells like fish. wyoming is cold and getting to be fall and leyte is hot and thriving. the view from the plane was one of the best things i have experienced in my whole life. so green and thriving and good. wyoming is rural and leyte and the philippines are so alive and busy. 
things i am for sure not use to, but very excited to think of the norm and find my groove here. overall my thoughts of the philippines and this huge thing i have chosen to do are so overwhelming, but it is overwhelmingly good! i am falling in love with it. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

time warp

my body is way confused time wise, hence the blogging at 5 in the morning.
also since i have not blogged since i got here let us start at the beginning.
last week at this time i was still a peace corps nominee, and getting very sick to my stomach about it. i was a nervous wreck. it came to climax on wednesday morning when we had to wake up early and drive to evanston. there we waited, then drove to salt lake, ate, waited, and went to the airport. that was the climax of the oh-my-wordness. then actually once on the plane the dread subsided above nebraska somewhere. going to admit, that it did flow a bit during the landing.
then the actual philadelphia was very good, and it was very good to know everyone else felt the same as me to a degree. we even took a group to the bell, liberty bell. as well as just exploring down town philadelphia for a couple hours.
then my life changed forever. we woke up at 4:30 to check out (which to my body was 2:30), got on one of three buses, drove to new york city, through the actual city on a huge bus, and then on to jfk. we got through security rather painlessly and arrived in the terminal just in time for all the places to stop serving breakfast (and yet it was still 7:30 my time). then we waited all day to board the plane. it took forever to leave then the chaos began.
we travelled west, so the sun never set and the plane just kept going. i've lost a day or gained a day or something all i know is i am confused. and they just kept feeding us and feeding us. also the movies were suppose to be good, but they were messed up and sucked. hahah then we got to tokyo at who knows what time where. there we sampled wasabi, green tea, and soy sauce kit-kats (and by we i mean people who like american kit-kats, so not me). then we got back on a plane and came to manila. there we were shuttled around, and got visas stamped and got on buses to come to this lovely island resort.
it really is lovely, but sadly very boring. up to now we've been eating at the same outdoor place, and then sitting in the same ballroom from 8:30-5:00.
that part is very overwhelming. we are getting briefed on info but there are tons of us and i think some don't realize it is just a briefing and are getting freaked out. which starts the very specific questions which is fine but we are still very generalized. i won't find out where i am going until i am basically going.
the jet lag is intense. it sets in about 6 and from there it is a power struggle between me and the sleep. they told us to stay up until 9:00 and that has been the hardest rule so far. we've been in bed waiting for the clock to turn each night. on the flip side the whole troupe is up between 3 and 5. self included (i may come back a morning person!) but at that time the internet is also the best.
the adventure has started, but just waiting to get of the compound!

Friday, August 13, 2010

what are my thumbs good for now?

when I left albuquerque it basically broke my heart. the goodbyes were vague. it was before medical clearance, and invitation kits, and knowing that i had a plan beyond august. so i said my fair wells and drove away.
of course through out the summer i wasn't out of communication with them. thankfully i had my texting and did it ever get me through the summer. it was sad that i had to tell all my friends my great news not face to face, but i still knew they were pumped for me. and they were there to encourage me through the stresses and worries that came with this process. and as each day goes by, those feelings have for sure heightened.
so has the reality that i've only got about a week or so of those texts and occasional phone calls left. you start to think, hey will i ever see so-and-so again. i know i'll see such-and-such, but what about whats-her-toe? and it is hard to come to this realization and have it maybe be a one sided emotion. sure so-and-so and whats-her-toe will miss you, but do they know if they will see you again. thankfully in this age of communication i'll be in contact, but will i ever hug such-and-such again?
goodbyes are awkward, well at least for me. they involve those hugs that you don't want to end and the avoiding eye contact as best as possible to not just break down. well, how are you suppose to avoid eye contact through a text? there won't be the hugs, and the parties, and good luck wishes. just texts to boost the moral one last time, and perhaps a completely avoided farewell (at least on my part).

Thursday, August 05, 2010

in tents, like a circus

the other day i was so excited that i was basically two weeks away. two weeks! it sounded brave, bold, and daring.
well now two weeks isn't an idea anymore it is now a reality. a scary reality. i'm not so sure about my moxie to take this on any more. i'm so very very nervous. which is good. i think it would be less than normal if i wasn't afraid.
i'm ready to go, and i'm sure i'll be fine. but i'm embarking on a life changing adventure. if it wasn't huge i wouldn't embark. you don't embark to go grocery shopping, which is why it is not scary. but because i am embarking it just ups the intensity by whoa!
i'm ready to leave despite the anxiety to involve. well scratch that, i'm not so ready as i could leave on the plane tomorrow. i've still got to finish making all those pre-departure lists of things to do, of what to pack to bring with me, what to pack for the parents to save, and then check off the things on those lists. i'm starting to realize that i should just do what i know i need to do and if i've forgotten something oh well! roll with the punches, i'm sure you can survive without that very american luxury you failed to think about before hand.
i'm over that nervousness. the reality is i am leaving (embarking, haha) and i am nervous. the nerves will get me through once i can find my sleep again. intense.... like a circus.