Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Week in the Philippines!

In my first week here, I have:

Been uncomfortable
Changed my stance on seafood
Eaten delicious and not so delicious fruits I had never heard of before
Ridden a Jeepney
Ridden a bus on a windy road swerving through traffic
Felt sick and scared from riding the bus
Ridden on a tricycle/taxi type thing

Ridden a motorcycle for the first time (loaded down with bags for two hours up and down the mountains on paved and not so paved roads that wind around and sometime drop off down the mountain)
Conquered the fear/anxiety of riding on said motorcycle
Been sunburnt for the first time here on said motorcycle
Done some serious work on the Chaco tan
Showered in a stream
Showered in a bathroom where the shower was not separated from the toilet area
Taken a bucket shower (and had the water run out during said shower)
Slept on a thin mattress with a blanket
Slept on a wooden floor on a woven mat in a malong with no pillow (a piece of fabric sewn together at two ends used by Indigenous People)
Re-evaluated my standards and expectations of sanitation and hygiene
Climbed up and down and played in a series of waterfalls
Felt sore all over
Learned to live with dirt and sweat
Received two bead bracelets made by Indigenous children
Been uncomfortable in air conditioned spaces
Been comfortable in non-air conditioned spaces
Gone to sleep cold almost every night so far
Missed my family
Missed my friends
Missed my fellow YAVs
Received the first bad news from home
Pierced my tongue with a fish bone while eating (Uintentionally. Then I had to pull it back out. A bit traumatizing.)
Felt comfortable going without electricity or running water for three days
Felt refreshingly disconnected
Fallen in love with a group of people
Left that group of people
Learned that Christmas starts in the -ber months September 1
Trusted different people, many of whom I don't know
Laughed and shared games and songs with different people
Almost cried for various reasons
Questioned my beliefs and understandings
Gained an understanding of Filipino culture and history and how the US has played a destructive role in it
Questioned where to go from here
Met some interns from Germany, one of whom will be working with me at National Heroes Institute
Learned a bit of Visaya, even though it is not the language I will be speaking for most of the year
Learned that less is more
Gone without and been ok
Learned that my home stay will be with my site supervisor's sister in Kananga, Leyte
Felt overwhelmed
Found richness in an area of extreme poverty
Received stares because of my skin, eye, and hair color
Learned much about the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and the awesome work they are doing here
Felt strengthened in my convictions because of UCCP's commitment to theirs
Experienced an entire grocery store stop for the Hail Mary at noon
Mostly recovered from jet lag
Felt full in a variety of ways
Felt lonely
Traveled from Manila to Davao City to Compostela to Tagum City
Not felt settled
Felt like an outsider
Experienced wonderful hospitality
Continued to discern God's call for me
Learned creative ways to communicate
Started building some amazing relationships

I'm greatly looking forward to the next weeks and experiences!

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