Maayong buntag from the Philippines!
I hope that you have enjoyed my blog up to now and I am really happy that with this blog I am FINALLY caught up. Took me a couple months but here we are, after this I’m excited to talk about other things besides my life such as sharing cultural aspects and things of the nature.
After our training in Manila (which I wrote about previously) my two island mates and I had to stay in Tacloban because our flight was late and we couldn’t catch a van back home from the airport. That night we feasted with our next to last meal, eating a glorious 4 cheese pizza. The next day I slept in till 10, this was the most sleep I had gotten in weeks, and after our last *good* meal we departed ways to head back to site.
Coming back to site was actually great, being able to say “I’m coming back home” and realizing that this new place is now actually home is an awesome feeling. I came back from training energized and ready to work. I don’t even know how to phrase this but also coming back to site I felt welcomed. The trike stop guy was excited to see me back, my regular market sellers asked me where I’d been and were happy to have me back and even people that I hadn’t officially talked to before but had run into on a regular basis started talking to me and asking me my name.
One morning was particularly funny, I was waiting for a trike to get to work and as one was approaching everyone in the trike started happily screaming and cheering. Once I got on I realized it was my neighbors I had met a few months back and they actually remembered me! We had a conversation in a mix of visayan and English all the way into work in which they asked me all sorts of questions, including the famous “do you have a boyfriend”. It’s small things like this that really make my days so happy here, just small acts of kindness, even just the smile of stranger can really turn my day around.
I also started doing things I’d wanted to do before but had lacked the motivation to do. I finally fixed my bike (after not using it for two months, it had gotten messed up from the accident) and started riding it to work. I actually love riding my bike to work, although it’s kind of terrifying at times because of some of the crazy drivers, I like the exercise, the beautiful view and getting to see people from the community. Most recently some of the trike drivers that know me started slowing down as they pass me (which I appreciate) and waving at me!
I also started exercising every day, either doing work out videos or running with our municipality’s running club. I started making homemade products, which I’ve wanted to do for months but I finally have essential oils now, such as shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. I started learning new recipes such as alfredo sauce, homemade tomato sauce and even gnocchis. I started being outside more, which included finding a sweet new hammock spot next to the ocean and going on bike rides on weekends. Anyways, the list goes on but making some lifestyle changes like this have really turned my attitude around
On the work front, things also improved. I’m not going to say they took off at high speed because that would be a lie, but I started to lay out some ground work for my first project which is a training of trainers event to educate teachers on how to teach environmental education (this is almost approved with a budget!). I also started writing a proposal for doing an information, education and communication campaign at one of the mangrove barangays to teach them about solid waste management, to do a coastal cleanup and build an Ecobench (this is in the works). And I have even gotten a better understanding of where all our natural reefs are to get coral gardening started into the future.
At the end of the month we also went to a payao deployment, and to be honest I went into this with a real negative attitude mostly because it was a weekend and I just wanted to be home laying in my hammock. But after going for a swim and spending some time in the sun, I came around and actually ended up having a really good time playing with the children. They spoke to me in visayan and I pretended to understand, what really broke down the barrier though was when we started playing with snapchat filters and subsequently playing in the ocean.
Anyways, although February at site was short in terms of time spent there, it was full of small events that made me be happy to be back and really made me feel like I was home
Daghang Salamat for reading!
PS. I started highlighting words in the text that may be jargon not familiar to you as they are filippino words or things you find in the Philippines. You can click on them and it will redirect you to another page with definitions and pictures!