I do things now that I’ve never done before. They are things that at first I didn’t even realize I do them, but I would catch myself and say, “Huh, that’s new.” Here are some of them:
1. Holding my breath- People are pretty devoted to raking their yards. After they rake though, they’ll burn the leaves, or I should say they smoke the leaves. They’ll make piles in the yards and then let them just smoke for an hour until the leaves eventually turn to ash. This does two things, gets rid of the leaves and helps control mosquitoes. It smells bad though, so I’m always holding my breath until I pass the smoke. This was one of the ones that I really didn’t know I did it until I caught myself not breathing.
2. Daydreaming- I can literally sit for an hour and not have any idea of what I’ve been thinking about for the past 60 minutes. I blame this one A) having so much free time that I can actually sit for an hour with nothing to do, B)I have to sit through so many meetings and masses where I just don’t know enough of the language to follow along and it’s not an appropriate time to ask for language help, plus I’m not really involved in what’s being discussed, so I just kind of tune out, and lastly C) sometimes I do vaguely keep track of what I’m thinking, and it’s usually about what to do next, and thinking of the future helps with the present.
3. Umbrella, hankie, and 5 pesos- I can’t leave the house without your umbrella, a hankie, and 5 pesos or I feel lost. Umbrellas are probably one of the most useful inventions ever created, whether it’s to keep the rain off you or the sunshine. Hankies are just to help with the sweating, and 5 pesos will get you a put-put (bicycle taxi) ride around town. Never leave the house without them.
4. Oy!- It’s my new favorite word. Oy can basically be used anytime and in any situation . It can be a “No Way!” “I don’t think so!” “I can’t believe it!” “Are you sure?” “Oh brother.” And the list goes on and on. The Filipnos will always laugh when I say it, not because I say it incorrectly like all the other words I say, but because I actually say it like a Filipino. I probably say oy about 25 times a day… it’s out of control.
5. Thanks for the little things- I’ve really become more appreciate of the little things. The country that I live in is not as tough survival wise as other Peace Corps countries. I don’t have to haul water into my house, electricity is readily available, even cable television is pretty normal, but I’ve become more aware of how these things make our lives easier and more enjoyable. I hold my breath in anticipation every time my computer comes on, hoping it will all be alright, I say a big “YES!” when my umbrella opens all the way, and I say a blessing before every meal I eat. I really am so blessed.
6. Overwhelmed- Quantity overwhelms me now. My parents sent me a huge box yesterday, and inside were books for the library. It was so exciting, but so overwhelming at the same time! I can’t imagine walking into Publix and seeing so many types of canned corn or half an isle worth of different types of barbeque potato chips. Isn’t one type enough, or maybe two or three for price competition, but surely we don’t need twelve or thirteen brands of one type of canned vegetable. Simplicity is the best.