“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” -Lao Tzu
Made it to the Philippines! Traveling is always rough, but it is well worth it! My travels began with all the Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) meeting in Los Angeles where we had our Staging event. Here we briefly met each other to quickly overview the Peace Corps Core Expectations. Even arriving later than expected, I was still able to meet some epic people. After a quick night, we flew out the next morning to the Philippines! International flights and I do not get along. I probably should mend this relationship before I begin my next adventures, huh?
We had an entire welcoming committee once we deplaned! Well, it was more the Peace Corps Staff members guiding us all into one area before we went though customs. It definitely felt special to see a bunch of Peace Corps signs. Initial Orientation (IO) has been amazing thus far! Although the days are long and some of us are still recovering from jet lag, it has been quite an experience hearing everyone’s stories and how they made it to the Peace Corps. The first two days felt like two weeks. I had met a large majority of the volunteers by this time and it felt unreal that it had only been 48 hours. I am thrilled to continue on my journey.
During IO, we have been through some informational sessions on our upcoming assignments. It was incredible to spend time with my fellow volunteers. They are some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my entire life. I know I have already made some lifelong friends. It is sad that we are split off into our sectors so I will not be spending too much time with the CRM or CYF groups during our Community Based Training (CBT). Not to say that my Education group isn’t great, they are my family now! It was a summer camp type feel with all the activities and set schedule during IO, so it was nice to have a soft introduction to the Philippine while establishing solid relationships with our fellow volunteers. We will get to see them on Sunday for our water training, so we’re all looking forward to that!
We have arrived in Orani, Bataan! The first few days have been tough! However, I am with my first ever host family and they’re amazing! It is a Mom, Dad, their 2 sons, plus their grandson! They also have a daughter that works full time in Manila so I don’t know if I’ll meet her while I’m here. Communication will be a little tough over the next few months due to the language barrier, but I’m doing my best in learning Tagalog to better understand my family! Non-verbal communication never meant so much to me until now! As for the technical side, we are co-teaching at Orani National High School. It is a nerve wracking experience. I am co-teaching English, Inter-Communication Technology, and Business Ethics. It’s been crazy! Along with co-teaching, we are learning language, cultural mannerisms, and spending time with our host families. It’s only been about three weeks total here in the Philippines and I feel like I’ve been here a year already. The relationships I’ve formed plus the experiences I’ve had have made this trip worthwhile. I am looking forward to my two years here!!!
I don’t know what else to say!!! Everyone keep in touch with me. I haven’t had wireless internet since Friday in Silang. So I will respond to any messages/emails when I can! Bye for now!
Sorry for no pictures! Internet isn’t the greatest. Will post some eventually!