I have arrived at my one month anniversary in the Philippines. It is surreal because it seems as though I just said goodbye to family and friends (which I did in the grand scheme of things); however I feel as though I have known these other volunteers for a much longer period of time. Peace Corps says that the volunteers you serve with will become your new family and I am beginning to see how this is not only true, but also crucial. I already rely on these new friends and depend on them in numerous ways. I trust them even on days when we do not like each other (I don’t even like myself some days). We go through moments of tension and then we are placed in an event where we have to facilitate eighty community members together. Through good times and harsh words (I am praying for patience even when exhausted) we are a new family still figuring out various personalities.
They keep as pretty busy here with language training in the mornings and technical trainings in the afternoons during the week, with Saturdays reserved for community events that we facilitate. Sundays we have days off to rest, relax, and spend time with our host families. This past Sunday my family took me to a mountain where my tatay (father) works as a security guard for an electrical tower. It was beautiful with the clouds laying over the surroundings and intertwining with the tower – they gave it a slightly eerie appearance. We then stopped by the beach for a peek (you can’t swim in the ocean during rainy season because the waves are too high).
Speaking of rainy season, the torrential downpours are amazing! My favorite activity is to sit on our little porch and watch the water come flooding down. Within minutes our dirt road is a river and water is gushing off of the roof. There is currently a typhoon close to the Philippines, heading towards Japan, so we have been getting even more rain this week than usual, which has been fun. My family makes fun of me for how much I like the rain, usually that is, for there are definitely times I do not enjoy it. Such as when I am trying to sleep. Last night it was coming down so hard I ranged from being frightened and about to pee my pants to bitter anger that it was taking up precious hours I could be sleeping. It stopped pouring around three in the morning but then the roosters picked up their morning ritual, so it was a long night. It is funny though, because we joke as a family about killing the obnoxious rooster. Of course I suggested that I just relocate it instead of killing it – such as putting it in the yard of my fellow volunteers who state how well they sleep at night. We have several jokes which makes this family even more fun. We call my electric fan my “aircon” and my language dictionaries “the google.” They are a fun bunch of people and I love being a part of their family unit for several months.
I have been eating my weight in sweet goodies here which means I have also gained weight already. My nanay (mother) feeds me delicious foods all the time so I have to start a diet soon that cuts down my overwhelming snack and rice consumption. I have tried some delicious fruits which have become my favorite food source. The bananas, rambutan, lanzonnes, santon, and more, are crazy masarap (delicious). I love many things about being here but the fruit ranks towards the top of the list.
Much love everyone! I will try and post again sometime next week. I am not sure what my internet will be like when I leave here so I will try and make an effort to post every week or so.