Thursday, October 27, 2011
I Never Stop Smiling, I Never Stop Learning
Hello Again! Quickly after opening my word document where I type blog posts previous to posting, I realized that it has been quite a long time since I have updated all you lovely people on my life here in the Philippines.
A lot has happened in the last month!
Here are some of the highlights:
One of the first weekends here I spent in Buena Vista. Shea Johnson, a Peace Corps Volunteer invited Catherine and I to be speakers at her Journalism Conference at her school. She has been here for two years already and extended another year, exciting for me because hopefully I will have more opportunities to work together with her! My topic was Photojournalism. I honestly believe that I learned just as much as the students I taught learned, always nice when that happens! The conference was all weekend and each volunteer worked hard to prepare an interactive, engaging lesson plan to help the students fulfill their commitment to their best content area. Competition is popular.
I was chosen to be a judge for the Mrs. Agham and Robotics competition at my school (I have photos of all the participants on facebook). Mrs. Agham means Mrs. Science. I was so impressed by my students work that I had to focus on keeping my mouth closed because my jaw kept dropping! From dancing, to choreography, to uniqueness, and beyond, each group and individual really did shine in this competition. It was difficult to be a judge. I think the next program is the search for Mrs. Math so I am anxiously waiting this day!
All schools celebrated World Teacher’s Day October 5th. The day started off early and full of excitement. Everyone gathered in Mogpog, when I say everyone I mean every teacher from the cluster of schools in the municipality of Mogpog. I am not exactly sure how many schools there are. The festivities began at 9am with street dancing. This is very similar to a parade back home. There were colorful costumes, props, the elementary students were the stars on the instrumental music, and lots of onlookers to watch the teachers dance around town! After the street dance, there was a short presentation and then a lunch buffet. There was a break after lunch. I actually came home and took a nap. Dancing around in the heat made me sleepy and my lips got sun burnt! Later that night we went back for a formal dance. My energy level was low which was unfortunate because I would have loved to dance the night away; however, my runny nose and cough sent me home early to rest.
On a more personal note, I started my jogging. Two students even joined me this morning! I am not prepared to commit to a strict running schedule like I was back in the states, but my first stride has been taken on the streets of Capayang. I am going to Manila in a few weeks and hope to find a ½ marathon or 10k that I can sign up for to help motivate me. Jogging or doing some sort of physical activity each day helps me in so many ways- more energy and better sleep just to name a few. I watch the sunset occasionally on my afternoon run, the view changed from the waves of Lake Michigan to an endless site of mountains and the ocean shoreline at the distance. I am constantly talking to new people during my run which is an added bonus to the activity. The more people I can talk to and meet the easier it will be to implement projects that may come my way in the future. I also am hoping to get some students interested in running/walking to I can incorporate this life skill into a youth camp in some way shape or form. These are all just magical thoughts in my head right now but hopefully they turn into reality in the future.
Another personal tidbit of information… are you ready for this??? I found Reeses AND Yogurt in Boac. Boac in the largest municipality, I only have to ride on a jeepney for about 15 minutes to get there. I was super excited to find these two amazing delights. I actually have been taking calcium pills every day because I do not really have any calcium in my diet. My current host family does not have a fridge so I would not be able to keep products cool. I did find chocolate soy milk too which will come back into my life once I buy myself a fridge.
I went to Santa Cruz last weekend to visit Catherine. It was a great weekend and one of the highlights was our halo halo date with a couple that we met randomly in town. They were from Marinduque but they lived in Canada. They were home for the holiday season. They showed us this adorable little café/bakery that is hidden from the street. We talked all afternoon. On my way home the person I sat next to worked for the mayor. His name is Ruel and I am happy I casually met him because he was very interested in my mission as a Peace Corps Volunteer and was willing and able to help in any way possible. I told him some of my ideas and he expressed his excitement to work as a team. I am eager to see how this develops in the near future. Networking and meeting new people are going to be an essential piece in my work to complete projects with the community. The more people I can talk to the better! J
Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Celebration- This will be in Manila on November 4th. I am currently busy practicing the dance steps for the Flash Mob.
Teacher’s Day Out- October 28th We are having a teachers day at the hot springs in Buena Vista!
I have a new found gratitude for the meaning of happiness. Happiness is one of those emotions that I used to think would come and go; however, now I know that I am in control of my own happiness. Why? I had some time a short while ago so I began thinking about things that make me happy- long warm hot showers, my morning run, having my favorite foods in my pantry at all times, keeping in touch with friends, using facebook, having a toilet seat, being able to throw my clothes in the washer and dryer… the list continues. My point is that my current journey has allowed me to adapt, creating a life without many of these things that made me happy and I am still happy, perhaps even happier. I am in control of my own happiness. If I can give myself a boost with some positive self talk when I can’t go for a run due to the typhoon or extreme heat, I can still supply myself with a source of energy. I guess I really understand the quote, "The best things in life aren't things."
Alright Folks, Thats all for now! Phew. I really feel like I could write a book. Maybe this will be one of my future goals!
I love and miss you all so much. I hope this finds you smiling, and if you weren't, then I hope I was able to make you smile!