Thursday, March 29, 2012

most adorable* week ever

*Fair warning, this post will use the word adorable to excess.
Summer break is officially here. This week was all about making it happen.
Tuesday was kindergarten graduation. I went and was able to sit at the head table. Filipinos are big on events having head tables. They are also big on events having emcees. They are really big on emcees and guest speakers addressing by name everyone at that head table. The two emcees were two adorable kindergartners, I loved every time they said, 'our Peace Corpse Volunteer Miss Louise Sargent.' I'm guessing had they said corps instead of corpse it would not have been as adorable. Then I got to watch all 137 kids get their diplomas and maybe 40% of them try to give it back. All dressed up in their school uniforms and cap and gowns. There was crying, there was toothless grins, it was just adorable.
Wednesday was recognition day. Again with a head table, again with tiny student emcees. Some high lights: Grade 1 dancing dressed up like ducks, and spiders and monkeys. Grade 2 introducing the guest speaker by reciting a poem in unison that was her resume (they are really big on announcing speakers by telling their resumes-starting with birth). They rhymed my name with please. Adorable. Later they got dressed up like frogs and recited another poem about a frog singing school. Here frogs don't ribbit they khokha  khokha. Then there was some group dances. A folk dance. Ball room dancing, where right in front of me Anthony just about dumped Margareth on her head. Then the Alangalang dance where a couple 1st graders got mixed up and giggled through the whole thing. Adorable. 
Then there was yesterday. Still adorable, but maybe more a sophisticated kind. My Grade 6 graduated. I'm so sad about this. The boys were sitting right in front of me and we made faces at each other through out. They looked miserable in their uniforms and gowns with the sun shining on them. They gave speeches, got awards, gave oaths. Very formal, and kids doing formal stuff is kinda adorable. 
Im really going to miss them.
Good luck guys!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

the power of 21

*First, a disclaimer! I am super happy these days. Things are going good, maybe not as planned but good none the less. This week I entered my 21st month of being here. All that being said, I think it is important to maintain this happy sanity by complaining just a wee bit. Besides it's not so much complaining as it is discussing current realities for posterity's sake.*
I've got two very different things on my mind and really no way to connect them...so sorry for randomness that is my life.
Right now, currently, the sun is shinning but it's been a very soggy week. I know it is nothing like what I was dealing with last year, but as much as I complain about it I miss the sun. Life here is pretty constant. Temperature is almost always in the 70s, humidity at least in the 70s. Sure the real feel temperature changes from hot to hotter, but things here are kind of monotonous. Especially because I live in a part of the country that has wet and wetter seasons and not the dry and wet other areas have. The spring equinox earlier this week on the 21st has me missing seasons. To be even more exact I miss my dry climate and it's seasons, even if three of those are really just degrees of winter.
Now my other complaint. The price of eggs went up. Use to be I'd walk across the street and buy an egg for 6 pisos. I could get it on market day for 5, but I don't fit into the merkado on market day so I avoid it and I didn't mind that extra piso when I knew it was going o my neighbors. Well, then the eggs were 7 and then the eggs were none. So now I have to go to the merkado, I get six for 33 pisos on market day.
Truth be told my compliant is not how the price of eggs went up, but how much this has put me in a pinch. My allowance is smaller than my teachers salary, but more than most Filipinos and I've done just fine by it. I went 16 months with really no thought to what I was doing. I'd get my deposit on the 21st take out my money and go about my way. 
Then December happened. The deposit didn't come on the 21st it came on the 26th. And let me tell you, that week makes a difference. 
Then January happened. I had to spend a week in Manila, which let me tell you is expensive. I came back to site basically broke. Luckily we do get medical per diem, but it's after the fact so those actual real life days are out of pocket. The deposit that I was hoping for, with all that extra money, wasn't on the 21st but again on the 26th.
Then February happened. Back to Manila. Back to pulling money out of my pocket to be paid later. This time we got smart and didn't expect money on the normal date. Which is probably why it was extra frustrating that the deposit didn't drop on the 26th, 27th, 28th, or even on that extra bonus day the 29th. It came in March. 
March. I've not even checked for deposits yet.  I've got about 100 pisos, and a little in my account. We're not suppose to drop below 5000, this year I've failed, haha. Sadly I had to go to Manila twice this month. Luckily I'm done with Manila barring a medical emergency. 
When the deposit does drop I'll have three medical reimbursements with it. I should be able to stay in the green, but what a time for the price of eggs to go up, huh?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

tongue tied

A couple weeks ago I was asked by C to help her do a speech and pronuncation workshop/camp. I was totally gung ho to help. She focused on public speaking and I did a focus on pronunciation which included Filipino English versus American ways of saying things. Luckily Filipinos love tongue twisters. It was nice to have something to work on. At first the idea was two days of teaching the same stuff to groups of about 100. A lot, but some classes in the Philippines honestly have 90 kids. Then it turned into one day of maybe 400 students. Which is when we started to feel all that nervousness. It ended up being over 500  kids around the age of 16. The space was the size of gym. A real gym. Most of my ideas to make this an interactive event for these kids were sidelined, but we both managed. C did great. I hate to do this, but I've posted lots of pictures on Facebook and just don't have the patience to post some here. I am posting a video! C did this activity where the kids had to make their faces as small as possible and as big as possible. The kids in the video are first very very small and gradually getting bigger to huge. I hope you like it!
video

another rainy season

I'm not sure if rainy season is over or not, but it has been super hot lately. The rains came later this year than last year, and they didn't come nearly as hard, nearly as all the time, nearly as soul crushing. 




the coconut nut is not a nut

I've been doing a pen pal project with one of my dearest friends. Her kids are about the same age as my kids. I just got the second batch of letters from her this week, but we didn't have classes until yesterday. They've been studying for standardized testing for weeks now, which is not fun and I think they welcomed the escape. Right after I stopped the video they got yelled at and I felt kind of bad. They are use to it.
video