Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Feelin Hot Hot Hot!

Happy Spring :)

The pictures above are from a recent snorkeling trip not too far from the island. Also is the smallest primate in the world :O)

Well, while most of you are eagerly awaiting warm weather, let me share with you mine, as summer has officially rolled around in my neck of the world! Which means, SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER! (yes, you may sing this little ditty if you like). But as the university has closed its classroom doors, life is still active on all portions of campus.

This summer won’t be dreary for me, as I will be going on a tour of teacher-trainings, helping with development and expansion of the English curricula, and teaching a Frisbee course in the PE department. Not to mention, there will be times where I might just leave work a bit early to catch the sunset or read in my hammock, which fits nicely on the beach here. I am assuming summer will pass with alacrity which before I know it, June will arrive bringing in the new academic year of 2009-10. So as you all are preparing your summer plans, I will be studying new faces and new names.

Many of you have been on my PC journey from day one and have inquired about the differences/similarities of PC Armenia and PC Philippines. While the countries are similar in many plausible ways, there are some rather exclusive distinctions between the two.

First and foremost, you simply cannot contrast the two countries. First, Armenia was landlocked only claiming the waters of Lake Sevan. Secondly, Armenia, though small in size (some say similar to the size of Maryland) has 32 micro-climates and three main mountain ranges that intersect each other. I had the coldest of winters at my site, and experienced some very hot summers in the valleys of Armenia.

The Philippines, however, is an archipelago of over 7000 islands, sits in the Pacific Ring of fire, and experiences typhoons to landslides. I am surrounded by not only water, but jungle-like mountains that have homed the tarsier (see above…world’s smallest primate).

Though these are the obvious differences, I have decided to break down into categories for a clearer view of just how special each experience has been/is. Some will be funny, some serious, and some for your additional learning attainment. If like for me to add any other category just let me know.




Water Availability

Sometimes it froze

On my island, always have it


Heated bucket baths

Non heated cold bucket baths


Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Beef

Chicken, Pork, Beef. Lamb, Caribou

(I have tried dog too)

Ice Cream Availability

If lucky, five months out of the year


Favorite Food

OH LORD I MISS SEPAS, Borsht, Lavish, Kebabs, Xorats (bbq), fresh veggies, Arakelyan Langit, hats, tapots kartofel (fried potatoes) & I miss dolma a little bit

Fried chicken, Pancit (all types), Halo Halo, Katambak (yummy fish), chicken curry, and lechon (roasted pig), seaweed, ganas, and I love some UBEY

Staple Foods

Bread, Cheese, Greens, Potatoes

Fish, Rice

One-in-a-lifetime food try

Liver Blinchik


School Year

Sept. 1-May 25

June 14- March 20

Christmas Day

January 6th

December 25th

Dominate Religion

Armenian Apostolic

Roman Catholic

Degrees from the Equator




Communal, super hospitable

Communal, super friendly

Favorite Musical Instrument

Duduk and/or Piano

Acoustic Guitar


Old and very interesting

Old and very interesting

People living in Country

Approx 3 million

Approx. 90 million

Supplies given by Peace Corps

Heater, Gas stove, Water filter

Life Jacket, and endless supply of sunscreen, mosquito net

Extra Trainings by Peace Corps

Hypothermia, how to keep your house warm

Water safety…what to do if your boat sinks


2 languages (eastern/western) and up to 60 dialects

Around 170 languages

Language I learned

Armenian (different alphabet)

Cebuano/Bisaya (Latin alphabet)

Average Temperate at Site

about 65F (depending where you live)

85.8 F

Number of People Living in Host family home

6 including me

(though normal is around 8)

10 including me

Favorite thing….



Second favorite thing



Number of PCVs serving in country



Flag Colors

KARMIR, KAPYUT, TSRANAGYUN! (red,blue,orange)

Yellow sun and stars, Red, White, and Blue

Holidays and Celebrations



So quite interesting, eh?

Back to the updates…

Misfortune was sent across the nation on February 13th, and I went to the US for a quick trip (12 days) and met my dear friends there for a funeral of our dear friend, Lorin Maurer, who was on Continental Flight 3407. Though it was wonderful to be united with a wonderful group of friends, it was the most poignant way for a reunion. I am blessed to have many friends who picked me up in DC, clothed me in winter clothes, drove me to PA to the services, and then drove me half way back to Nebraska. What a wonderful group of friends! (A Shout Out to: Niq, Moni, Cis, Stacie, J, Bobby, Colby, Rhonda, V, Nate and Dave!)

I did have time to see my family and watch members of the family brave a snow storm ( I was so excited to see snow, and to use a blanket while sleeping) to see me. Card games, movies, food and drinks were shared by all, and little sleep was had (as my nephews and niece, adding to five, shared a room with Aunt Syd). It was great to see each and everyone, especially those little tikes that mean so much to me!

I also met up with my Pen Pals from Hiawatha and was able to speak about the Philippines to students in high school and elementary, at three different schools. It was so wonderful to share my experiences to keen listeners. But just as all the fun had started, soon I was boarding the transcontinental flight back to the Philippines.

I was then graced by a visit from a dear friend of the Armenian PC days, and we did do some island hopping and site seeing around the area (most of the photos are from this excursion). But yet, as all fun times quickly end, she left and then I was facing the end of the school year. Which frankly, leaves me to today, writing this update.

I am lucky to have great internet access (I am just lazy checking it), but rest assure, I am in full tune with the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Final Four tournaments…and with that, I will end with this…


Warm hugs and big high-fives

Your PCV friend,

Maam Syd or Sydulik


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the updates. Take care of yourself and know we are thinking of you.

Marcia Stubbeman

Sarah said...

You don't really miss Dolma- be honest. Enjoy your summer break and stay cool. Believe it or not, I have thermal underwear on today.

Love you!