Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chickity China, the Chinese Chicken

Couldn't decide on a title for this post.

As I sit here in my school library during lunch, students are milling around like busy bees.  Two are flipping through People magazines, one has her nose in Charlotte’s Web, seven are browsing through the shelves, talking quietly amongst each other… while a boy on the other side of the room continues to read an encyclopedia.  Ever since we received our first large book donation in June, this boy has had a different encyclopedia in front of him every day at lunch.  I just think it’s so cool.  Who reads encyclopedias for fun?  I find it pretty inspiring.  Definitely not something I would’ve done at 14 years old.

The bell rings and I’m embracing the solitude.  Our history teacher installed the four ceiling fans a few weeks ago and they are amazing.  Awesome investment.  Not that WE paid for them.  Early this year I applied for and received a grant from Peace Corps for this library project!  It covered mostly everything we need: supplies, equipment, etc.  My library committee has been super enthusiastic and participative.  However three weeks ago I left site to help with the new PC batch’s orientation, and gave my kiddos a list of things they can do independently while I’m gone.  Was any progress made?  Nope.  Mehhhhh L  I’m pretty bummed and disappointed about it, thought maybe when I left everyone lost interest in the library.  But when I saw the same amount of kids show up during lunch, I felt a little better.  I guess they just need someone to stay on their butts to make them get stuff done.  I WILL BE THE ONE.

Life is good on this side of the world.  We’re in rainy season now, so the weather isn’t unbearable anymore.  My landlady’s dog had puppies again, five little furballs-- SO cute.  I came back to find that my counterpart had done two out of the three remedial reading classes I left her to do.  My head almost exploded with happiness at that.  SUCCESS!!!  PROGRESS!!!  That was pretty awesome.  Plus I’m almost glad she didn’t do the third, because it’s a fun lesson and now I get to do it with the kids instead.  Hahaha J  Peace Corps invited me to facilitate at two more events; one in August and one in November, which is pretty cool.  Lots of fun, interesting opportunities to learn new skills.  I’m excited!  In addition to all that fabulousness, my plane tickets home have been booked!  I’ll be back home November 26th, just in time for Thanksgiving!  And it’s going to be lovely because I fly back January 2nd--- spending the whole holiday season with my family and friends.  I’m so happy.  And actually can’t believe it, because it’s only four months from now!  Craaaazy. 

I know I’m going to need the recharging of my batteries then, big time; most of my batch is completing their service in the next month or two.  Some of my best buds will still be here another year with me, and I’ve made friends in the other two batches here… but there’s something much different about the people who started with you and have been there from the very beginning of Peace Corps.  I’m sensing a major mental crisis coming in September.  Luckily it seems I’m going to be plenty busy, per usual.  So maybe it’ll keep my mind off of the inevitable loneliness I’ll be feeling.  I was already feeling some of it this past week.

I spent the last three weeks helping facilitate the training of Pre-Service Training staff and arrival of Batch 272 Peace Corps trainees down in Manila and Cavite.  It was funny, because when the new kids on the block arrived, they were asking questions questions questions questions questions questions questions…. 24/7.  It was overwhelming, although I also felt good because I was able to give valuable advice and guidance to them.  Their orientation was held at the same facilities ours was, and when the six of us “Resource PCVs” arrived, I think we were all a little nostalgic.  Everything looked exactly as we remembered it.  One PCV was from the batch before mine, so he has been in the Philippines for almost three years!  There were two of us from my batch, and three from last year’s batch.  It was a good mix of us; a diverse group of people with all different personalities, experiences, and strengths. 

The tough part of being there though, was realizing that our two year contracts are almost over, and although I’m super happy and excited to still have more than a year left here per my extension, I’m really sad that it’s ending for most of my batch.  My batchmates have become my family away from family, just as the Philippines has become my home away from home.  When I’m having a bad day, I know someone who understands is always just a text away.  When I’m having a good day, I know that I can help brighten up someone else’s.  And it’s been like that this whole time; this back-and-forth of sharing and caring for each other.  The support system that evolves between volunteers during a Peace Corps service is basically the Camp David of all support systems.  Lots of secret stuff happens within it, and no outside force could ever break it.  We are stuck together for life.
Another day, another piso.  Brain was melting so I had to stop.  The heat is ROUGH when you’re trying to get stuff done.  (I realize yesterday I said the heat wasn’t that bad.  Compared to summertime, it isn’t.)  I’m back in the library, counting down 54 minutes before school lets out.  The room is packed with students working on some art projects.  They’re always having some themed competition.  I’m guessing this is for nutrition month, since it is July.  One girl just asked if she could cut up the People magazines on the library racks for her team’s collage.  NO!!!!!  My goodness, have I taught them anything?  Granted the magazines are looking rough; I really need to repair most of them.  How in the world do librarians take care of magazines?  I haven’t seen a real, functioning library in so long and I feel like a dummy for posing that question.

It was really nice when I got to school yesterday, because I arrived back in town around 5am and decided to sleep for a while before heading to work.  When I did get there, the entire senior class was in the outdoor gymnasium for P.E. and when they saw me, I received a chorus of “Welcome back, Ma’am!”  Awwwwwwww J  What a nice way to start my week.  Definitely a moment I’ll remember, and a moment that makes me thankful I’m not leaving yet! 

I feel like this post has been anything but cohesive.  And the grammar has been below my personal standards.  I’m super lazy right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s necessary that I finish up so as not to shame myself any further with less-than-adequate writing.  So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!


At October 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM , Anonymous D.Keys said...

Wow, I just reread this and there has been so much happening with Library project, new arrivals and departures of people, arrival of new books you selected in the US, and new activities. Please tell us all about it if you can ever find the time!


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