Monday, November 22, 2010

well, it was kind of like a durian...

You ever notice how you don't know how much you miss something until you get it back again. It's happening to me. Right now. I didn't know how much I missed the Philippines until I found an Oriental store, and located Nagaray's Cracker Nuts and Filipine mangoes for sale. Those two things in itself would be a lot...but wait, there's more. The store also held the precious durian fruit, whole, frozen, and only a few hours of defrosting away from being the smelly mess I came to love. YAY!!

I think it's this line of thinking that will wrap up this epic blogging that's continued for over 2 years. So often you don't get the full picture of something or really know your true feelings on something until you look at it differently. Perhaps you see it from somebody else's perspective, or you lose it and then are able to find it again, or maybe you just let yourself really think deeply about something for more than 5 seconds before you are off listening to your iPod or checking your email; no matter what is making you see things in a new light, acknowledge it and let it change your life.

Durian was a smelly disaster, and now, it's seriously a delight that just made my night.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Post COS Travel

A part of leaving Peace Corps, it seems, for many people is the post-service travel that many go on. I guess it makes sense to take advantage of the readjustment check that you get and the lack of employment that you suddenly find yourself in to travel while you can. I chose to travel to China, Italy, and then Paris. I know, your stomachs are probably growling already, and I'll admit, my scale is showing the results of this trip!

While making my way through China I was able to see the Expo in Shanghai, the Terra-cotta Soldiers in Xi'an, and the Great Wall in Beijing. And yes, of course, eat some amazing Chinese food! I think it's always interesting to compare different countries of Asia to the Philippines. Probably one of the first things I noticed, particularly while I was in Beijing was the cars.
It felt so wasteful to watch all the cars go by us on the highway that held only a single passenger. I never really thought of it before, but after seeing jeepnies, busese, and multicabs packed the max, it was obvious how lonesome the person looked as they drove. Favorite part of China? GREAT WALL! The entire time I was walking on it, all I could think was, "I'M ON THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!!" It was like a soundtrack on repeat in my mind. "GREAT WALL, GREAT WALL, GREAT WALL." Too cool.

The Great Wall of China. Waaaay steeper in parts than I ever imagined!

Terra Cotta Soldiers!

The Chinese Pavilion at the World Expo.

The next day after the Great Wall I found myself in Italy. I'll probably never get to say that sentence again, but while I could, it was awesome. :)

I met up with my friend Kindie in Italy, and we hit all the big places that we've always heard about and always wanted to see. We began in Naples, took day trips to Pompei and Capri, went on to Rome, Pisa, Florence, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Milan. Favorite parts? Probably just hanging out in quiet Lucca and definitely seeing the Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan. The whole experience of visiting the masterpiece was like none I'd ever had. They take you through several secured areas until you get to the door and hear a loud siren that tells the previous group it's time to vacate the viewing room and our 15 minute viewing session is about to begin. Was it worth all the trouble? Absolutely. I'm pretty sure I'm a better person for having seen it. Haha, joke lang :)

Hillside homes on the island of Capri, Italy.

And finally, our last train ride took us to Paris. I guess I had a lot of preconceived notions of what Paris would be like, most of which were not the most positive, but I gotta say, I really enjoyed it. Aside from the freezing temperatures, which my last 2 years of living in a sauna didn't exactly prepare me for, it was waaay cleaner than Manila, the metro system was color coded and even I could navigate it, and the sites that you always see on tv or in movies were there, in living color! Best part of Paris? Eating the crepes. OH THE CREPES! God bless Nutella and bananas. Amen.

The light show on the Eiffel Tower.

So the last 25 days of living ou of my backpack are done. They were busy days, which probably was a blessing because it kept my mind off the missing of friends back in the Philippines.

But now, on my second day back at home, I've got all the time in the world. EEKS. I find myself trying to find cheap quotes on car insurance and trying to figure out how to fit a resume onto one page and then trying to find people to send said resume to. Oh, right, and trying to walk off Italy and China. Well, on the bright side, if I can't find the cheap quotes for car insurance, at least that will help me with walking off the sad leftovers of ravioli, wine, and spicy tofu. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Just to make it "blog official," I'm done, finished, humana, completed with Peace Corps. :) More to come later.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


During my time in Peace Corps, my thoughts have often wandered to the past; not my past, but the past of Peace Corps. What were the first years like for those young trailblazers? Obviously electricity and running water were not guaranteed components, and living conditions on a whole would have been austere, but what about relationships with the nationals they meet?

In one of the last blogs I wrote, I said that saying goodbye was made easier by knowing that my friends at site are just a quick e-mail away...and I'm not even out of the country yet and have talked to some of my students more on the Internet than I have in the past 3 weeks. Facebook, it changes everything. While living at site, I didn't accept my students as friends on the social network because I didnt' think that would be the wisest thing, but now that I'm done teaching, I addressed the 300 friend requests that had accumulated through my time at site. EEKS, sooo many! Some I didn't know, I think the wow factor of seeing a foreigner prompts people I don't know to request. I'd like to think it's because I'm just SO cool...but nah, I know better.

So now I leave the Philippines tomorrow, with lots of new friends, and glad that leaving doesn't mean waiting months for a postal reply as it would have in the past.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Good Times.

My host mom and I, attempting to sing videokee.

My host family hosted a big beach party for all the students and teachers at my school to say good bye. I know, they're big on hosting! :)

Delicious chocolate cake from Michelle... and videokee in the background.

Second year students... I'm going to miss them!

First year students... I'm going to miss them too!
Check out their plates, banana tree trunks and leaves. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

A beach party wouldn't be complete without the beach, and a boat.

I had such a great time being able to just have fun at the beach with the students and teachers. My host mom once again went above and beyond my expectations when she put together this amazing lunch for so many people. Good times.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Despedida Season

Despedida: a farewell party. Yep, it's time to say goodbye, and that's just a little crazy. I think saying adios to all the students and coteachers is made easier by knowing it's not goodbye forever. With things like Facebook and e-mail, not to mention the ability to fly back once I save a lot of pesos, I know that I'll stay up to date about all the current events at my site. But still, I'm sure going to miss talking with my coteacher in between classes, joking with students, watching kids read in the library, and listening to the school's hymn every morning. So, a big thank you to INHS for having me the last two years, and letting me join the INHS family. And you're right, "It's not goodbye, but till then..."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Last Supper

Since the beginning, I've been having students over to my house to share dinner.
It's one of my favorite things.

This past week we shared our last dinner together
We had rice, chicken, green beans, salsa and it was good.