Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy 2012!

One of my students asked me if I thought the world would end this year.  That turned into an interesting discussion.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and are excited for this year—I definitely am.  Returning to school and my routine, I’ve had quite the boost.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so motivated at the turn of a new year before.  I think it’s the combination of that plus having been here for four months now that’s making me feel pretty awesome.  Starting to feel more like a local; I’ll be moving into my apartment hopefully within the week… The carpenters are working on “Filipino time,” running about a month behind schedule but oh well.  I’ve just been collecting things for my new place.  I’ve got about as much as I can afford for now.  What else is new; I somehow burn through all my money.  I am still keeping a notebook of my daily expenditures, all the way down to my trike and jeep fares though, so I do KNOW where my money’s going at least.  My vacation travels were certainly not cheap, so that’s at least one explanation.  But it’s fine.  Those eleven days were amazing and totally worth binge-spending money.  I’m no stranger to living like a cheap-o, so it’s all good!

Anyways, as I was saying, I’ve suddenly been hit with some major WHOO WHOO power!  I’ve been having a ton of ideas for the upcoming months, and projects for summer vacation (which is April-May here).  My fellow PCVs have been feeling the same way, too, and are working hard on organizing camps and workshops at their sites.  All of my brainstorming will certainly result in similar activities, but I’m taking my time and I want to really get input from my students and community before getting the ball rolling on these things, to make sure it’s exactly what people are hoping for.  And I don’t want to skimp on any of my efforts.  So we’ll see.  But I have a ton of ideas floating on, and will certainly be sharing those with you as they begin to take shape.  But for now, I’m going to have to keep you in anticipation.  Keep you hanging.  That’s what the best writers do, right?  Make you continue to come back for more.  Which I hope you are.  Although there have been plenty of lapses of time with my posts, I hope I’ve been able to keep piquing your interest and making you laugh at the silly idiosyncrasies of life over here.

My site mate’s mom came to visit recently, and it was so funny talking with her about what she’s been seeing.  Her reaction to the daily things I’ve gotten so used to was really amusing.  Her facial expressions when we were talking about bathrooms and trikes and such… it was hard not to laugh because I remember feeling the same way.  Made me think about  when I studied abroad in London two years ago and spent a ton of time traveling around Europe.  Especially around eastern Europe, where things are much different from our familiar westernized lives.  Just those brief visits to places without modern conveniences was a bit unnerving.  And now it has become somewhat normal.  Not to say that it feels natural by any means.  But it does feel normal.  I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between these two words: normal and natural.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be served a plate of fat on rice and be like, “Oh yum!”  These things continue to make me smirk.  I’ve just learned to find amusement in these differences.  Because if you sit around and say to yourself, “Ugh!  All I want is some pork meat sans globby fat hanging off!” it’s going to drive you up the wall.  What I’ve learned to do is to look across the room and see everyone else thoroughly enjoying themselves, slurping it down like you would with gummy worms, and just smile at how drastically DIFFERENT we are! 

It’s so interesting though, and this sounds kind of dumb, but you don’t really think about how many PEOPLE there are in this world.  Okay I KNOW I wrote about this briefly back in July, but I’ve had a new revelation about it that I want to share this again.  Before coming here, these people didn’t exist to me.  In an egocentric way, if you’ve never been to place “X,” it doesn’t exist to you.  Does that make sense?  It’s just a dot on the map.  Sure, you can Google Earth it.  You look at the satellite view and see rows of square rooftops, cars on the road, but there’s a complete disconnect.  Even if you’re driving somewhere and take a different route one day, that route now exists to you as it didn’t before.  Ahhh it drives me in crazy circles when I think about it. 

 One of my excursions over vacation was to a little island off the coast of San Antonio, Zambales.  My friend and I took a boat over and asked the driver to take us to this other little cove that was tucked away on the other side from the busy ones with tourists.  We ended up being the only non-locals there, and it was just another one of these experiences.  But to think of it as if from their point of view.  Little kids running around, playing.  Dogs rolling in the sand.  An ancient woman who mumbled so softly, even if I WAS super proficient with my Ilokano, there was no way I’d ever understand what she was saying.  She took the tiniest, slowest steps around, but just seemed so at peace that every time I noticed her shuffling by it just gave me this awesome feeling.  Whoa.  My friend and I were talking about this and he said, “You know, she probably has no idea how old she is.”  I mean, I guess if you live in this teeny tiny remote place, maybe life just drifts by so peacefully you lose track of your days, weeks, months, and years.  Quite honestly, wouldn’t time just be relative in that case?  The sun was going down, and she sat quietly at this table with a few other locals, watching it go down.  Seemed like something they just did every day, just so normal.  Whereas I’m looking at it in rapture, totally enamored and entranced with its beauty.  It’s not every day you see the sky changing from blue to orange to pink to a deep fuschia as the sun finally disappears below the horizon.  But I guess it is, for that woman.  So just as her little world never existed to me before that day, my world will likely never exist for her.  The next morning, my friend and I left for New Year’s Eve in Manila, which was funny because we traveled from this quiet, little haven to the biggest, busiest city in Luzon.  Night and day.  Kind of wraps up this thought.

Okay I just read over the last two paragraphs… These tangents must make it sound like I’m sitting around, tripping on something, but I promise that’s not the case.  You would just be surprised at how introspective you become when life slows down like it does here.  Anyways I’m going to head off and take care of some stuff in my existing world.  I hope you are all enjoying the days becoming longer at home; that’s always my favorite part of January.  It’s 6am sunrise, 6pm sunset over here year-round, so I’m missing out on that, but it’s okay.  Again, just different J


At January 17, 2012 at 2:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pic is pretty, the first-hand view clearly was inspirational!

At January 31, 2012 at 10:42 PM , Blogger Patti Dente said...

Hi Becky ...thanks again for the blog, OMG the photo's attached are absolutely gorgeous, seeing those views live must be so amazing.....So your having an apartment built how exciting well I can see why it will take them so long cause of the natives life style that you've describing. It's amazing that you are already planning for summer camps,assuming you have to plan the whole day, well your creative and I am sure your plans will be fun. Now as for the Natural/Normal briefing well yes there is a difference, but I can say with the new diet adjustments that you've have to get use to, no so sure how my stomach or bowels react, I might even have to add a new word to your N & N. So I am so happy you enjoyed your well deserved vacation, sound like that remote place you visited is a place I would like to spend some time for R & R. Oh yes the life style is so different almost like they are stuck in a Time Zone... It is what it is... that woman walking tiny steps sounds like she is so at peace...but then again like you said we people are so clueless as to what's outside our 4 walls of daily routine our reality...yeah I get it what you were saying Becky that our world and their world won't exist unless we all experience it. I know that is quite the subject matter to toss around but yeah I can see how it can drive me nuts too when you think about it.
Well thanks again Becky for another update, and as always your Aunt Patti is so proud of you ( little girl & you'll always be my little girl ) and all the hard work you are doing there and all the changes & adjustments you've endured...but as always you come out Shinning...Love Aunt Patti


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