A Peace Corps Volunteer on a Mystical Island

“Every ending marks a new beginning.”

So much has happened since my site announcement! After we were assigned our sites, we had to switch into our local languages to assist us in our integration in our communities. I’ll be switching from Tagalog to Visayan/Cebuano. We had a very limited time learning our local languages but the full immersion at site will help us learn more. The struggle of learning a new language has begun once again!

After we completed our Community Based Training in the Bataan province, we all packed up and left for Manila for a final debriefing. We had the luxury of staying at the Ciudad Christhia resort. Although we were stuck in sessions all day, we made time to go down the water slide and jump into the wave pool! It was nice to see everyone before we all departed to our permanent sites, but we will all miss each other over the next two years. We all have made friendships with our sector mates and with those in other sectors. I know I’ll miss everyone!

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Seven days at the resort felt like a month. I was always spending time with my friends and attending sessions when we needed to. Midway through the week we were introduced to our counterparts that we would be working with for the next two years! An exciting and nerve wracking time for all of us. Everyone was freaking out because this really meant our two years with the Peace Corps has begun. I was super nervous to meet my counterpart, but the tension was eased once we started attending sessions together. Good times.

Swearing-In Ceremony has finally arrived! With every ending, there is a new beginning. This never meant so much until this day. The day I turned from a Peace Corps Trainee to a Peace Corps Volunteer was a memorable one. So much to say yet I have no idea what to write. Look at the pictures and see it happen!

I made it to my permanent site! I have to admit that I never imagined myself making it this far into Peace Corps. Kinda weird to say when I have a whole two years left. Possibly more if I extend. When I arrived in Siquijor, it was surreal. I traveled with my counterpart, Jeralyn, and my site mate’s counterpart, Nancy. We were picked up by my supervisor/principal from Campalanas NHS, Ma’am Anna Rose. Her and her husband, Sir Alixter, drove me around the island a bit before taking me to my host family’s house. It was amazing! Seeing the coastline of Siquijor was stunning.

When I arrived at my host family’s house, I already felt part of the family. They cooked a huge meal for all of us to eat and enjoy! Even an awesome welcome sign was made. Since I had been slave driven during Community Based Training, I was finally able to catch a couple days to rest and do absolutely nothing!! J  After my lovely two rest days, I was able to attend some festivities the following Saturday for Siquijor Day! My school’s marching band actually performed in the parade! Too cool.

It was time to start being a Peace Corps Volunteer when I had my very first day observing/helping classes. I was able to teach Grades 10 & 11 English with Ma’am Jeralyn for my first day. I could tell the students were super nervous to have me in their class, but it was fun being able to co-teach. For my second day, I followed around Ma’am Vicky to help teach her Grade 8 & 9 English classes. They were really curious about American culture. I gave a little insight on American history and about American holidays. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell them more, but I couldn’t think of everything at that very moment. I still have two years here and it will be amazing!! I’m looking forward to see what will happen next!

Until next time! And if you want more pictures, I think there are more on Facebook that I’m tagged in!

 

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