Saturday, January 28, 2012

yaya sisterhood

January 25, 2012
This week one of the teachers I work with had her daughter at school because her yaya was out of town. They were talking about how in US there is Day Care so teachers never have to take their kids to school if their baby sitter is sick or not able to work. Then they looked at me and asked if we had babysitters. I said yes, I use to be baby sit and I was a bit of a nanny once.
The look they gave me. It said so much, it said:
“But you are a teacher’
“We think less of you of now”
“But you have an education”
“But you’re not a second class citizen”
“But your parents had good jobs”
And so much more along the same lines of them thinking I was above that line of work. In the Philippines they for sure have a bit of a caste system. Principals are big deals because they are Principals and not because they are in charge of the whole school. Yayas and house helpers are little deals because they are house help. Even within the teachers Master Teachers are more important than regular teachers.
These teachers really didn’t know how to take in the knowledge that me, the white educated teacher that was volunteering these two years to help their pupils was also a baby sitter. I’m glad I was.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

more waterfalls

The next day we went on a hike to the big waterfalls. I went here last time I was in Sagada and it was so different this time. There was so much more water.  Still just as amazing.

bare bones operation

The day after Christmas L and  I went on some hikes. The first was to see Hanging Coffins.

After we got done with that part of the hike I suggested to L that we go see the little waterfalls and maybe spend the afternoon reading and eating and doing nothing. As we were walking up the road to the trail there was a group of boys in the road. They asked where we were going and I said the little waterfalls. Next thing I knew they were our tour guides. One even had a giant branch he told us to follow. It was basically a straight shot and guides weren't really needed but it was cute. When we go to the waterfall they told us to go down, and then they continued walking up.

Next thing we knew all the boys were at the top of the waterfall in just their underwear. It was so random and well awkward. We ended up not sitting all day and reading on account of our mostly naked 9-year-old guides.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

apparently it's NOT hip to be a square

January 21, 2012
I try so hard to remember that things are different here; they aren’t better they aren’t worse just different.
I always get asked questions about classroom management at home, which is tough one to field. We don’t have 40+ kids in a tiny classroom with desks that are falling apart. I think that is the main thing. In the U.S. I wouldn’t have to tell kids to sit in their proper seats, and if I did they would. Here I tell them and Tricia gives me a sugary smile and says wait. I say now and she moves. It is not a big deal, but a deal that just wouldn’t happen in the States. A child would never tell a teacher wait. I just don’t know how to explain this to teachers who are doing the best they can to maintain their massive population of students.
I’ve been working with a student teacher, and he is a good teacher but has very little as far as classroom behavior controls, or even expectations. I think he is still too nervous about the lesson to worry about if kids are paying attention or not. Yesterday he was teaching and some kids in the back were not paying attention at all. I asked why, and Marc Vincent looked at me and said that he was too cool to pay attention. I didn’t even know what to say. Then the class dismissed early to go to Grade 6 mass (on Thursday we dismissed early for a Grade 5 mass).
It is just so different here.

things that go bump in the night

January 18, 2012
Because of the prime location for my house it kind of sways and shakes all the time, especially at night. I’m just off the high way and if a big enough vehicle goes by fast enough the house has a slight rattle. Annoying, but nothing completely major.
Well the other night I was between awake and asleep and the house rattled. I sat up awake enough to groggily think that my bed was swaying and it normally doesn’t do that. Then I lay back down asleep enough to not register that maybe there was a reason my bed was shaking when it normally doesn’t.
I snoozed on through the night and forgot about the incident until I got a text from C asking if I felt the earth quake. LIGHT BULB! It was an earthquake. Growing up where I did I’ve survived millions of earthquakes, but this is the first one I’ve ever felt. It was on the island east of us. At the epicenter it was magnitude 5.7 and I’m guessing maybe just above a 3 here.
Now I’ve had typhoons, tsunami warnings, and an earthquake in service.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

we'll take a cup of kindness yet...

The past couple of weeks have been crazy and amazing! I took pictures, but they are still on my camera and my computer is at home. I'm sitting in Manila in the Peace Corps office recovering from a tooth extraction I had on Tuesday. That was fine, I didn't care for the dentist and the way the whole thing was handled made it extra stressful, so all you need to know is on Monday I had the tooth, today I don't.
Before Tuesday:
I went back to the mountains! This trip and the trip I took in April were probably my favorite parts of last year. I went up Wednesday with a bunch of other volunteers from my island/area. On Thursday we were suppose go to a place that has mummies but due to a whole list of reasons that didn't work out, which turned out to be best because it was a lot farther away than we thought. On Friday we went up to Sagada and relaxation began. As well as the walking up and down hills to get any where.
For Christmas Eve we splurged and made reservations at this super nice French cook restaurant for their holiday buffet. So completely amazing! Christmas we ate, we read, we had many cups of tea, we played cards. We relaxed. The rest of the week we hiked, we ate, we had many cups of tea, we read, we played cards, we relaxed.
Then Thursday morning we woke up early got on a bus and went back to Baguio. Spent the day in Baguio and took a night bus to Manila, where we ate and read and played cards and avoided losing limbs to fire crackers in the streets. For New Years Eve we went to Rizal park and celebrated with a bunch of families. Filipinos love to celebrate and it is nice for it to be so family oriented! Great way to start my last 11 (or so) months in country.