My homeroom Class (not everyone) Go Blue Team!
Yikes! I cannot believe that two months have past since I last updated the world on my Filipino life! Here I thought, “Wow, it is summer-time; days full of beach, good books, some ice cream, and a mango or two.” Unfortunately not all fantasies come true, even if you have already been to
Graduation occurred the first week in April and it was a fascinating exercise; a total of 600 some odd graduates and around 100 of them graduating with honors. The ceremony itself was quite traditional to what may be seen in America, but I am not sure if a graduation ceremony back home would still have an attentive audience after six hours, in a warm, humid day in the Philippines. Even with this temperature, the faculty, staff, and soon-to-be graduates looked prestigious and restful in their garb. Celebrations followed the ceremony with roasted pig, desserts, pansit (Filipino dish), kinilaw (Filipino side), and of course, rice.
Then for the faculty it was back to work, before the Holy Week approached. Holy Week in the
However, I was actually looking forward to giving up something for Lent and attending Easter Sunday Mass as part of tradition. Soon, I realized that the act of giving up something for Lent is not commonly practiced at my site, and well, Easter Sunday Mass was very anti-climatic as it was just a normal mass. Also, there is some type of attachment some Americans get with the Easter Bunny, Peeps, colored eggs, and candy. I regret to say, none of the above was seen at my site. (Though I did receive some Easter candy from a dear friend last week).
The following week, I was off to
After the conference/language camp, I stayed in
I came home for a couple of days to check in with my work colleagues, only to turn around to head back to Cebu for another training/camp, but this time, I was not scheduled to be the participant, but a trainer. The training/camp was for elementary teachers living in
The setting of the training was like as summer camp, so as many of you can conclude, I was definitely in my “environment”. We taught all day, and in the evening there were additional activities for participants if they were interested; ballroom dancing, jewelry making, cooking, etc. Other nights, participants and PCVs spent the night away working on their “cultural” presentations for the last night’s closing cultural ceremonies. As many of the participants displayed their indigenous traditions, dances, and garments, many of us Americans were left stuck-in-the-mud, as what could we really do to show our culture. Throw a baseball? Use comedy to display our cultural values of punctuality, determination, individuality, etc? How boring! So we did a music video which can be seen at this web address. http://vimeo.com/4643426 (the Blue Team was my homeroom) It has become a tradition to make a PCV music video for the past three years of Tudlo.
The training, itself, was simply eye-opening. Going into Tudlo experience, I had heard nothing but wonderful things about the program, so it was easy to just follow expectations. However, knowing that views are commonly biased towards individuals, I came into Tudlo with positive energy and my own set of expectations, and the results of my hopes exceeded all measures.
I am one who lives for cultural exchanges and to be honest, this is very difficult to find with so much western influence and post American imperialism grounded in the
For example, in one classroom alone, I had 24 participants that spoke 9 different languages and/or dialects. In another classroom setting, an individual had never met a nice and disciplined Muslim before and generalizations about both religions were quickly dissolved after open discussion. Christians were standing by their Muslim friends/counterparts at a time other Christians assumed the stereotypes. When I think about this discussion, it still brings goose bumps to my arms. It was one of the most amazing discussions I have ever witnessed in my life and it continues to give me belief that simple education can create a peaceful world.
I am forever grateful that I had such an opportunity to connect with some many individuals who were utterly thankful for the new knowledge learned, but more importantly for the new friendships that were made from all parts of the
My favorite part of this program is when one teacher pulled me aside and had this conversation in sbroken English.
“What do you know about schools in the
Wow, I stood there without any answers. How do I relate? I simply looked her in the eyes, and said, “Ma’am, no I cannot relate to your daily battles. That is why I am here to learn from you too, so we can work together to make your life as a teacher much easier”. Later, I explained the concept of volunteerism and the role of PC.
This was a good conversation; it put me in my place and made me count those numerous blessings that I have which tend to be overlooked on a daily basis.
The most alluring part of what I have just described above is that these are just some of my stories and there are many others from PCVs alike. It was such an empowering experience for me, and just another story how much I have gained working with people of other cultures…more than what I could ever give them in technical training/skills. I still feel the same about my service in
…Which now brings me to date.
I took the GRE last week, and the preliminary results are higher than expected. It is a waiting game for the final results. Next step, deciding what institutions would like me in their classrooms. School will resume on June 8th, as many people back in the US are graduating/graduated and my Armenian friends will soon celebrate the Verjin Zang on the 25th, signaling the end of the school year. For me, my book list has grown, and the dreamy days of laying in a hammock with my book and mangoes are realistic…it is scheduled for Saturday :) Avocados are in season, so guacamole is on the menu… now I need to convince my friends here that an avocado is not always used a fruit.
Enjoy your Memorial Weekend Americans…and take time to reflect on the real reason why you get that following Monday off…then you will come to appreciate why life in the
Happy Summer to you all!
Ayo-ayo, ingat, amping, hajogh-majogh, take care,
Birthdays had and to be had: Lindy, Moni, RPCV Nancy, Heather, Kristen, Aunt Bard, Upchuck Katie, Ant, Alex, Bern, Jeff, Mom, Sam, Courtney, Artur, Anna, Meri
Anniversaries: Lindsey/Nick, Andrea/Nic, Rhea/Craig, Steph/Brian, Mom/Dad #30