Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fast Times at Benguet High

I cannot believe how fast this time is going by. It seems like I just arrived here, but now we've only got three weeks left in LaTrinidad! Everything has been great, my host family couldn't be nicer, and Ilokano is (very) slowly but surely coming along.

My cluster-mates and I have been doing fun activities every weekend; trying to soak up as much culture as we can! Last weekend we took a hike up one of the mountains in town, and the views were absolutely stunning. From the top, we could see three of the contiguous provinces; Nueva Vizcayas, Mountain Province, and my future home, Ifugao!

Last week we had our Supervisor's Conference back in Cavite, where we met the principals of the schools we will be teaching at for the next two years. My principal's name is Gina, and she is very warm and genuine. She was so funny; instead of Becky she decided, on her own, to call me Becks. I didn't correct her or tell her the only people who call me that are my closest friends, because hey, we're going to have to be BFFs for a while anyways. The conference lasted three days, and it was so awesome to get to see our whole batch again! I didn't realize how much I missed everyone until we were all together!

Anyhow, we learned where our permanent sites will be, and I will be teaching at the Ifugao Provincial Science High School in Lamut, Ifugao. Now I know what you're thinking: Why in the WORLD are you going to teach at a SCIENCE high school? You barely made it through Biology. Well, a science high school here is one in which each student has two science classes each day and two math classes each day. Mom- be jealous. The students must take a test to qualify for admission into the school, so I suppose you could consider it like a private school in the States. The school really aims to have its students on a superior track to college. I'm sure once I'm there I will have a better description for y'all, but that's the basic idea.

I'm so excited because the whole school has 150 students and 9 teachers (I will be the 10th!), and my counterpart is the only English teacher. The reason that's sweet is because she teaches every grade, so I will be able to know every student! And from my past experiences with teaching and coaching, I know that I enjoy it more and am a more effective teacher when I can know each of my kiddos! So I'm crazy excited! My host family has six children, two are at boarding high schools and the others are 11, 9, 6, and 5. I'll be able to make good use of those Dora books I came over with! My host mother is a teacher at my school, and a current Peace Corps Volunteer will be living a few blocks away! She has been teaching at the university in town for almost one year now, so it will be nice to have a friendly face close by. She helped out at our orientation, so we have already gotten to know each other. I've been texting her all these questions and she has been very helpful!

So yes, my friends, more for you to Google: Lamut (LAH-moot), Ifugao. Should be a blast.

Oh EXCELLENT news! I can't remember if I wrote this in my older post, but there are roosters that live right next door and on the connecting streets. They were the bane of my existence, until about a week ago, when either 1. they all dropped dead from kharma or 2. I've gotten used to their 4:30am crowing. As much as I had wished for their demise, I'd prefer to think that I have just become accustomed to the noise. It was really really horrible at first. But it's all good now. On the other hand, there are CONSTANTLY dogs fighting in the streets until the middle of the night. They don't bother me at all; I only worry about them! Poor pups! I have a feeling that Lu and Tess wouldn't be able to handle the streets of LaTrinidad. The wild dogs are ruthless. Just keep them in cozy Scituate, k? Good.

This Friday my friends and I are going into Baguio to register for a run! It's August 28th and they have a 3k, 7k, and 12k. Obviously I'm doing the 12k, despite the fact that I have run twice since arriving in the Philippines. Oh well. Sounds about right, how I've typically prepared for races in the past, right family? We're all super excited! There are going to be a bunch of us doing it~ it's called a "heroes race," so I want to dress as Quail Man ('Doug' reference, anyone?), and my friends are probably going to follow suit or think of other ideas. I'm so pumped! After that we're going to go do go around the city, perform some videoke, and unwind. Saturday my host family and I are going to the Botanical Gardens there, and possibly ride some bikes around the park. Sunday our group is HOPING to have another crazy hike. We are crossing our fingers that it works out, because it would be insane. I'd tell you about it now, but I don't want to jinx it. Just look for a post coming soon.

We have ethernet internet in my house now, so I will be able to get on more frequently and keep you updated. Thanks for following me and posting comments! It means so much to me to hear from everyone at home! Agannad ka!


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