Friday, September 23, 2005

Reality Sets In...

Well, I just returned to Donsol this week from a two-week training near Manila with my fellow PCVs. It was a fantasy world. We ate good food, enjoyed a beer or two with our Americano kaibigan, swam in the resort pool and shopped and spa'd (Yes!) in Manila. We even spent a small fortune for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in a fancy Manila mall. Dinner cost a third of my monthly rent!

Now, reality is setting in. I returned to site and it took me a couple of days to readjust. Well, still readjusting...but hanging in there. I realize how much I miss contact with Americans and how much I miss speaking English and having a normal conversation with people who "get" me. Isolation is hard. I am surrounded by people everyday but it is still possibly to feel lonely and isolated in a place where you really don't speak the language or understand the culture. I have moments of understanding and sometimes breakthroughs...where I think, I really get these people. And then something happens that throws everything askew. Such is my real life here in the Philippines.

But with the downs, come a few ups...or long slopes, rather. I just plunked down some serious pesos to build my native hut. Kuya Jun is buying the materials as I write this and construction will hopefully start next week. It is supposed to take three weeks, which, in Filipino time, probably realisticly means 5 to 6 weeks. Still, the thought of finally having my freedom and my own space, my own home, gives me inspiration to hang on.

Things are okay at school. I am busy planning the final touches for my GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp next weekend, Oct. 1 and 2. I am expecting about eight American volunteers and two Filipino friends from Peace Corps to join me in facilitating the camp. I am also hoping for local cooperation, but you can't put too much stake in people following through here. It's a tough reality, but I've found it's really difficult to get people to commit to something. But I am not giving up on them and I am hoping they will come through in the end...

While in Manila, we had a chance to do some sight-seeing and playing around...Here are a few pics:

Mary Owen (Detroit) and I are sitting at the top of Taal Volcano. We took a hike through some tall grasses and found a little bird sanctuary.

We had to take a boat to get to Taal Volcano. Here's Mary and Kelly "Bunso" O'Brien(Pittsburgh). "Bunso" means the youngest sibling in Tagalog...Kelly was our youngest cluster member in training.

Dede Sandler (New York City girl!) and Kelsey McMillan (Cleveland, Ohio) helped train us this time. They are part of Batch #262 and are own their way home to America. Sigh. These girls were also part of the Bicol crew and helped welcome me to town. Miss you guys!


Blogger Blogs R Us said...

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7:00 PM  
Blogger alphalpha said...

hello. i've been reading your blog for the past month (and yeah, i've read ALL of your entries! see my comments in your old posts)it's refreshing to read about perceptions of the Filipino culture from someone who's been here for a while. hope you enjoy yourself. and goodluck about that nipa hut! :-)

8:44 AM  

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