60 Days, But Who's Counting?
Though they are a lot harder to see right now, there have been good times, too. The children who greet me in the neighborhood when I come home from school. Especially little Julia, who likes to call out "Tita Julia, Tita Julia." The man who yells "Taho" and carries two large metal cannisters balanced on a pole. (He stops at our house to sell Taho - a bean curd breakfast, sort of like a tofu yogurt - to us for five pesos. It is 'Oh so masirap!'). Cooking Tortelloni for my host family and having them discover the cheesy surprise in the middle of each pasta for the first time. The half-English, half-Tagalog chikka-chikka (small talk) over the dinner table with my family. Discovering new Tagalog words every day. Eating a daily lunch for only 25 pesos (about 50 cents) at our favorite local eatery at the host family cantina of my language instructor. Escaping the heat in the AirCon room of my fellow cluster mate, Kelly O'Brien. Yes, she has air conditioning! A midnight swim with fellow PCVs at the hot springs pool at a Los Banos hotel we use for training.
In less than two weeks, I will swear to God to defend the Constitution of the United States and officially become a volunteer. And in many ways, this will be just the beginning of my journey here. I will no longer have the comfort of fellow Americans within reach. (The nearest volunteer will be an hour away). And I will be left to my own devices in a strange place with people and a culture I barely know. Though it is both terrifying and exciting, I look forward to finally starting what I came here to do: to immerse myself in a foreign culture, speak the language and try to do some good in the world. Let the games begin.