Saturday, August 29, 2009

God I hope they don't like apple pie :)

My students and I have a game that we play called "Ask a Question." We play it when class ends short, or I can't get them to stop talking (which lately feels like is ALL the time). It's pretty simple, I ask a question about the Philippines and then they in return ask me a question about America. The first time we played, I got questions like, "What does 'biotch' mean?" "Why do kids get kicked out of their houses when they're 18?" After almost a year of playing, we're starting to learn more about each other's cultures, and the questions are more about abstract topics, like respecting authority and democracy. Ok, they don't use those words exactly, but they're the ideas that we're discussing!

One thing though, that has remained a popular topic, and I hope continues to be, is food. I love learning how the kids cook and what's for dinner in their houses as much as they love to hear what's on the table for Thanksgiving dinner or my favorite fruits in America.

This past week we took the game to the new level, and actually made one of my favorite snacks. I felt I definitely owed my students considering the feast they prepared last month for nutrition week, so I got a group of about 10 students together from my second year class and had them help me make guacamole. Avacados are in season, so some kids brought them from their homes and I supplied the tomatos, onions, salt, and kalamansi, plus the spring roll wrappers that we baked for chips.

The American's opinion: guacamole was AMAZING.
The Filipinos' opinion: "Ma'am Connie, it's too spicy. Do you have any sugar?"

It wasn't a big hit, but I think they had fun making it, and they asked that we make another "American Treat." So now I got to come up with another food. So far we've made spaghetti with Italian spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese (big flop with the kids), peanutbutter and jelly sandwhiches (huge hit), Kraft macaroni and cheese (the one that I hoped they wouldn't enjoy so I got eat all the leftovers, but unfortunately ended up only getting a spoonful), coconut shrimp (mixed reviews) and microwave popcorn (another big hit). I'm thinking grilled cheese, but I refuse to use Eden cheese, I just can't do it. Maybe apple pie would be good. I'd just need to find some cinnamon and figure out some type of crust, but that's doable. I wonder if they'd like it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Scat Goat

so, back to more examples of how i have changed since coming: i chased goats out of the library today and it wasn't until they were running out of the door that i realized I'M CHASING GOATS OUT OF THE LIBRARY!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

would it be insensitive to wear earplugs?

well, for the past month basically our school has been getting ready for Intramurals. That's like a two day sports celebration at school. All kinds of sports are being done, as well as a beauty contest and disco. Basically this has been put at the forefront of priorities, and I can't wait for it to be over. The school has been doing classes on a shortened schedule so that there are 2 free periods at the end of the day for students to practice their sports. They're going to hold competitions in lawn tennis, table tennis, boxing, volleyball, ballroom dancing, and a few other things I can't recall at the moment. I'm in charge of the lawn tennis competition...which should be interesting since we're supposedly not allowed to use the one tennis court in town.

During this "training period" for intramurals I've had some revelations. A) I've been in the Philippines a year B) I'm slowly but surely changing and not even noticing it. Case and point, I am incharge of typing the MC's opening remarks during the beauty pageant. As I was typing down what the judge's are going to be critiquing, given to me by the school, I texted my friend, asking, "Would schools in America ever have a 'best body outline' category in their beauty pageant?" She quickly responded with a, "No. But more importantly, they wouldn't be having the pageant in the first place!" haha, so very true! It never even entered my mind that only 2 crowns are handed out a year at public high schools, and neither of them are based off of "best body outline," ...well not officially at least.

Anyways, Intramurals isn't until next week, so yay for more band practices that seriously leave my ears ringing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

30 minute boatride from Paradise

Last weekend was super fun. Some friends and I rented a pumpboat, with a driver :), and island hopped around the 4 islands off the coast of Inopacan. The day was beautiful! Sun everywhere, fish jumping, snorkeling, and white sand were everywhere. The islands are pretty small, but they're right out of a travel brochure. Low rocky cliffs on some of them, coconut trees, thatched huts, fishermen in banka boats; it's all here. Amazing.

My host mom packed a HUGE lunch for us. We had fried chicken, rotessorie chicken, rice, pineapple, biko, coke, and enough water to fill a swimming pool. So much fun to have a picnic on a tropical paradise with fun friends!

By the end of the day we made it to the last island, Digyo, and set up camp. We had a bonfire, more food, watched the fishermen unload their nets, and watched the most amazing sunset. It was great...till 2 am when the rain started. Nothing like nonstop rain in a tent that leaks, but oh well, stuff happens.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A is for Absent... Almost

The high school helpers that were going to help at the pre-school I wrote about yesterday were supposed to be at the school at 7:30, and then the kids at 8:00. When 8:30 rolled around and nobody was with me in the library, I was thinking yeah, so much for that apple!

Kids eventually came though, and between the time of 8:30 and 11:00 there were 25 people who attended. There were about 7 high school kids who came and read to the children and I was really excited because the community adult volunteer came. He's a volunteer teacher at the other high school in town, and he seemed like he had a good time. It's so much better to have a willing partner in these projects!

The schedule was obviously way out of order, but that's not that big of a deal. We did our calendar time, practiced the days of the week, and covered the letter A, and of course had snack!

All hesitance of this project is basically gone. I'm really excited about all the different things we can cover in our classes. Next week we're moving on to B, so definitely going to make monster bubbles.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A is for Apple

Another school week down, and now I'm thinking, what was I THINKING?! My next project at site is a 2 hour pre-school on Saturday mornings for 3-5 year olds. So really, school week, NOT done.

I've got mixed feelings on the project.

A. Why did I give up all of my Saturday mornings?

B. I really love working with little kids!

C. Are people going to come?

D. I like being able to use all the pre-school experience that I've been able to get.

E. I miss the di-cut machine ALOT

F. It's fun to have a challenge to use what I have and make it work. Examples: Reuse every piece of paper, Use the boards that were in the balikbayan boxes as little bulletin boards, Cut out things by hand instead of using stencils or THE CRICKET

So I'm not sure how many kids to expect, or how many high school helpers will actually end up coming to help, but I have the snack money that all the teachers at the high school donated and pages to make the A page for alphabet books, so I'm sure it'll be quite a party no matter what!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Time's Woman of the Year, 1986

This past weekend Filipinos had to say a sad good bye to their loved former president Corazon "Cory" Aquino (pronounced uh-key-no). She passed away early Saturday morning from colon cancer and by the time I had woken up at 6, the news stations were alreadybroadcasting tributes to her and showing her son, who is a senator here in the Philippines, announcing his mother's death. They said she died with her family around her while they prayed the rosary.

From what I've gathered from my host family and others here, most Filipinos greatly admired Aquino. She was had a very active political past here, including being the wife of an exiled senator who was one of the leaders against the famous Marcos' autocratic rule in the 1980's. Ninoy, her husband was later assassinated in Manila when he finally returned to the country. From there Cory continued the fight for democracy. Eventually Aquino was nominated President in 1986 and was able to keep a peaceful presidency from 1986-1992. People say she was an icon for freedom and democracy, and as my host mom said, "She was a very, very good president."

To honor Aquino there will be a HUGE mass and memorial service for her in Manila. I can only imagine the millions of people who will turn out for it. Flags are also being flown at half mast and school will be canceled on Wednesday to honor her.