Thursday, February 24, 2011

sometimes ups outnumber the downs

Feb. 24, 2011

Fingers crossed and all other anti-jinx precautions but I think I’ve successfully rid my room of the rats. After months of working to get my windows to close I’ve been able to secure the possible entrances to my room. That is, for now. My room may be rodent free but the house is far from eradicated. They live in the walls, they live in the floor between the downstairs and upstairs, and as of last night I think they finally made it to the ceiling. Like all structures in the Philippines my house has ants and other wood-eating insects. They’ve eaten through the beams creating a perfect entry for rats and mice. At night I can hear them scratching and clawing and gnawing in the walls working their way to the ceiling I guess. Last night they were running and running and running around up there. Victory laps or something. Talk about things that go bump in the night. It was raucous. I just laid in my bed hoping that despite the huge hole the rats chewed into my mosquito net a few weekends ago it would still offer protection if they managed to bust in. For hours they ran and ran and ran. Running into things, knocking things over. It was bedlam. I hated them. I wish I could say I slept poorly, but I just didn’t sleep. They calmed down right about the times the roosters started to crow.

 On Tuesday I was left in charge of things. I had just done a quick lesson on autobiographies for my students and went over the hamburger method of writing paragraphs and they were studiously working. Then all their faces convulsed at once and they started gagging and other like noises. This has happened before, the CR can be smelly. So they dumped some water in and got back to work. But then they did it again. They turned off the fans, and again got back to work. Then they all stood up and were moving around talking in Waray. or rather shouting in Waray. I had no idea what was going on, they could be planning mutiny for all I knew. But it was obvious it was still odor related. They were yelling at each other and pointing and standing. Then this one student, searching for words, told me it was the waste of a dog. Oh I laughed, and laughed. Somebody had stepped in it and the class was in an uproar.

Ahh, the ups and downs of what I’m doing. One fourth of the way in and still very much in love with it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

skin-a-ma-rink-a-dink-a-dink, skin-a-ma-rink-a-doo, i love you!

February 17, 2011
I’ve been in the Philippines for 6 months! I love that! This week was Valentine’s Day! I love that! To celebrate this blog is about other things I love!
Meryenda! Everyday for recess my counterpart and I have banana-ques and talk with the other teachers at my school.
Teaching! A lot of volunteers come to the Peace Corps not wanting to be teachers, so when they say they love teaching here believe it, but imagine just how much truer it is for someone who actually came in from the education side of things. For Valentine’s I had the students write poems and I taught them Skin-a-ma-rink. They loved it! I love that all those songs and games we just grow up knowing are brand new to them. New favorite, Heads Up Seven Up! Try it at your next office party!
Working with my school! I’ve been lucky (at most times) to have the chance to work with student teachers. Once last month one of the student teachers asked if he could use some of my activities in his own class. How is that for stability? Also I have a lot of support with my staff for the ideas I want to bring to the table.
My walk to school! I love that on my walk to school I am called: ma’am, teacher, friend, atay, sister, cousin, American, beautiful, and the most affectionate hey you!
Mail! It shows how much people are behind me at home. I love that I got the last of the Christmas packages on Valentine’s Day! I also love how much the people at the Post Office love me. I’ve spent almost every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday checking on those packages. The ladies are more excited than me when I get one (almost)!
The conductors! The Jeepneys know my stop. Doesn’t matter which one I hope into at Campetic they all let me off at the same eskiana. Even the Jaro Jeeps! The conductors and drivers talk to each other and they all know where to let off the young American. The other day I was walking along the highway in Palo, a Jeep from Alang Alang slowed down and honked the driver waving. It made me very happy!
Rain! Haha as much as I hate it I love it. This past week it has been hot and humid, and I’m fairly confidant I prefer wet feet to sweaty all over!
Site mates! D is the best! I’ve been doing things here and there with her. I even helped her at school one day! Also my extended site mates! I love my Palo and Tacloban people, and have very heavy boots about M leaving. I also love my Region mates! I miss K and L way up in N Samar, hopefully I’ll be seeing them soon. And also my island mates, hopefully I’ll be able to see more of them.
My readers! Most of you are my family and friends, and I love you! I’m loving what I am doing, but some times I really miss you guys! Thanks for all you do for me!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

same old song and dance

February 1, 2011
This is not a complaint, but life is kind of boring. The biggest headline I have is: I finally bit the bullet and took my laundry to a drop off service. I’m hooked, best decision ever.  Now we are price looking, too bad I can’t do that locally. I realize I can hire a lady here in town, but there is just something about the way clothes fit out of a drier that I’ll pay for. Does that make me a bad volunteer?
Really other than that all I can say is it is still raining. I’m not joking. Things at school are good. This week is a bit of an off week for me. The student teachers I’ve been working with are now doing their solo teaching. I’ve really enjoyed working with them, and it really made my idea when Sir asked if he could use some of my ideas when he is a teacher. We are just starting the 4th contact of the year (quarter), and I’ll be out of school before April.  All of my projects at school are still very much in the ideas on paper stage, but I’m thinking the first steps are being laid for my library. If only I could talk to my supervisor once in a while.
I’m starting to feel a real sense of community here in Alang Alang and with in my Peace Corps group here. Last weekend some of the volunteers from the farther corners of this region came to town. So that was fun, we even made real tacos. And that was my excitement for the past little while.
I like that my life has a routine, but I’m also plenty busy still sorting through this gig here. I’m glad for the boring, it is a nice break from those months of emotional chaos.