...And some of my PCV girls will be stopping by soon! (But I'll get to that later)
As I sit here in my apartment, I look around the room
and it’s a HOT MESS! My kitchen table is
littered with the following:
(I’m waiting for them to ripen)
(almost fully melted from the brownouts)
3. food (I
haven’t unpacked from my hike up Mt. Pulag)
4. care package
fun (which I haven’t found where to store)
5. paperwork (which
needs to be organized to close my library grant)
6. variety of
knick knacks (I haven’t put away yet from my recent travels)
7. mish mosh of
supplies (for my upcoming girls’ empowerment camp)
8. a zillion
papers (last minute logistics for the camp)
Actually, I’m probably being hard on myself… it’s not
that bad. Just disorganized. However, behind me, my laundry basket is
HEAPING as I haven’t done laundry in weeks.
Also, the floor is unspeakably dirty.
Haven’t mopped in months. Hashtag
Peace Corps problems. My recycling piles
are insane. Mostly because I can’t bear
the thought of NOT recycling paper… but it doesn’t exist here. I don’t know why I still keep a box of paper
recyclables; we simply don’t have a paper recycling program here. Force of habit, I suppose. But it’s ridiculous. I’d post a picture, but I’m kind of ashamed
of it. Hahaha!
Anyways this is my summer vacation. #1 shocking thing: so far there has only been
one day when I thought my skin was going to melt off of my body. The past two summers, it was basically every
day. Lots of days I would lie on my
concrete floor crying because I couldn’t handle it. Seriously.
I’d take 3-4 baths a day, but the water I pumped from the ground was
even hot, so there wasn’t great relief in being drenched. I’m sort of waiting for this to happen, but
so far I’ve been pretty lucky (knock on wood)--- today I’m wearing capris and a
t-shirt that’s not very breathable. And
I’m totally comfortable.
Winninggggg! It makes me think…
reports from home are that this winter was the coldest one in YEARS. So maybe it’s the same here, although winter
here was what we in Massachusetts would consider May-June weather. Climate change is an interesting thing.
This has been a pretty great summer so far; started
off with our town fiesta, which I judged the parade and went to the “Battle of
the Bands” and beauty pageant. Then it
was my landlady’s daughter’s college graduation, so that was cool. Then I spent a few days in Manila, finishing
my remedial reading manual, which is a project I began in November 2011. WHOAAAA.
Right? Well, the main part of the
curriculum is done; I just have part of the appendix to finish. I’ll get a chance to do that in June. Then… I don’t even know how I’ll
celebrate. If I was a drinker, I’d probably
go out and get smashed. However, I’m
guessing , realistically, MY celebration is going to involve sitting in my
apartment with a lot of chocolate and diet cokes and watching Modern
Family. So I’m hoarding as much
chocolate and candy from my care packages as I can. My life is sooo exciting. LOL J
Anyways, after making awesome progress on my reading
project, I took a trip down to Benguet to hike Mt. Pulag with a group of my
friends. It’s the highest peak in Luzon,
second highest in the country (to Mt. Apo in Mindanao). You begin the hike in the morning or
afternoon, set up camp for the night, then wake up at 3am to begin the final
leg of the hike to the summit to see the sunrise. I did the same hike two years ago, but
there’s really nothing like it. It was
just as good the second time around.
You’re above all the clouds, and they look like an ocean. Some of the smaller mountains surrounding
Pulag peek out from the clouds, and they look like islands, surrounded by
water. It’s wild.
From Pulag, my friend and I made our way through
Baguio and left at 9:30am Saturday to take a 7 hour bus to Manila… walked right
to the next bus station to reserve our seats.
Grabbed a bite to eat and went right back to the station, sat in our
seats, and within 20 minutes we departed Manila to begin the 12 (!) hour trek
to Legazpi City, Bicol, where she lives.
We arrived at 6:30am on Easter Sunday, traveled back to her apartment,
and passed out on the couches for several hours. No egg hunts or sugar rushes for us. The 21 hours of travel didn’t really put us
in the mood. Instead we settled for a
day of TV and movies. The following two
days were spent preparing for our Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) camp. We were gathering materials, taking care of
final logistics, and making sure everything was ready to go. Then bright and early on Wednesday we made
our way to the venue, a local elementary school.
We began with a half-day training of trainers, in
which all of the Peace Corps Volunteers and local facilitators got together to
meet and start preparing their sessions.
That evening, the girls arrived.
(I’ll talk more about the camp itself in my next post, as I have MINE
coming up next week!) The next three
days were filled with big laughs, new friendships, and lots of learning. It was SO awesome. Definitely one of my favorite Peace Corps
experiences. And after almost three years
of being here and doing all sorts of amazing things, that’s saying a lot! It was so cool to see the transformation of
the girls in only a few days; definitely something really special.
After the camp ended, my friend and I went and got
some celebratory halo-halo (one of my fave desserts in the Philippines), then,
exhausted beyond belief, we dragged ourselves back to her place. I packed up all my stuff, including a massive
cardboard box filled with unused materials, a gigantic rice sack filled with t-shirts
for the campers, and my two backpacks I brought already. Thank goodness for helpful Filipinos; before
I knew it I was on a bus headed back to Manila, all of my luggage safely stored
underneath. 13 (ugh) hours later, I
arrived in the city, grabbed a taxi, and headed to the Peace Corps office. Thank GOODNESS for the PC office. It’s open 24/7, even on a lot of
holidays. So I just went there and hung
out in the library all day. Ran some
errands at the mall and around the city, getting more supplies for my camp
(very proud of myself, took jeepneys everywhere, not expensive taxis!), then
just soaked up the fast internet at the office.
That night, got on yet ANOTHER bus and finally arrived back at site two
days ago. Since then I’ve been working
on finalizing logistics for my camp, which starts a week from today! Eek! I
still have a lot on my to-do list, but I know it’ll get done. I always do, somehow.
The camp will be the same one from Legazpi; my friend
and I have been organizing it since September, believe it or not. We wrote a grant and received funding from
USAID, which is awesome. Also we reached
out to friends and family back home, who have been SO supportive and
wonderful. We wouldn’t have been able to
put these events on without you! Anyways,
I’ll talk more about this next time. For
now, I’m off to meet with several people and put some checks on my to-do
list. Adios, amigos!