Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Last Half of May:

Lately I have been going to the beach a lot to catch a break from the heat, search for creatures under the sea, and let my body stop sweating for a short while. Whenever I go there I bring my journal and a book to read so I can do both after I take a swim. I am writing this because I actually have been doing a lot of writing, just not on the computer! I felt like I had already written down all of my life happenings this last half of May to be posted on my blog BUT turns out it is only on private paper. I wish I could just copy it all but we all know that posting some things on the internet is not a very wise choice.

Random fact coming your way- My blog posts are a totally of 16,379 words! Oh, now, 16, 384! Ha. That is a lot.

During the week of May 8th- 12th I spent every day in Boac working on an English module. Shea, a volunteer on the island who I have probably already talked about organized a team to rock out some awesome English activities, exercises, etc. There were four Peace Corps Volunteers and four Filipino English teachers. At the end of each day my eyes hurt from staring at the computer screen but it was all worth it. We picked at our brains and remembered our experiences and compiled a giant resource of useable, workable, interactive activities that English teachers here in the Philippines can use to help them transfer all their knowledge to their students in a fun, interactive, engaging way. We did experience on slight, well giant actually, ‘OH CRAP’ moment during the development process but we stayed positive and figured out how to transform what we had. I think I was dreaming about this module the entire week.

The following week I had a few days to bike, swim, watch rocking new movies, read books (Denise, another volunteer, had about 1,000 e-books that I now have on my computer. I was able to put them onto my Nook so I have been reading away. Just finished Why do Men Have Nipples.) After that, it was time to think about the module again and put everything together so that we could print, replicate, and deliver to the teachers. Shea applied for a grant that provided us the funds to make about 50 copies of the module so that every high school on Marinduque would receive one. Shea spent the night at my house for three nights and we worked tirelessly to edit every activity, every page, about 5893208523 times. I have no doubt in my mind that we missed something but I do that we did our best. That editing stuff is difficult. The finished product is pretty spectacular. I think Shea and I both wanted to cry when we printed the first copy. Now, I am exceptionally excited to start the new school year so we can use this new resource, nothing creates a smile like a fun learning activity.

In the midst of dreaming about the module I also held computer training at my school. It was a week long course, three hours each day. I had 18 students, first year students and members of the school parent teacher organization. It was a great mix of students and parents and I even got to try out some of my new morning wake up dance videos with the group- nothing like acting wild and crazy before getting down to business. Each day I had an activity that would help them learn basics about different computer programs. We made invitations (one of the parents was actually planning to print hers and use them which is exciting!!!), posters (Do not litter, Ice for sale!, etc), we had typing races, and made PowerPoints showcasing the marvels within Marinduque! Each day we would work together to create something and then they could explore the programs on their own and ask me questions along the way. It actually worked our extremely well considering that every participant was at a different computer literacy level. At the end, everyone passed the test, received certificates, and thanked me for teaching them a thing of two about computers. I would say it was a success.

Last Saturday was May Flower Festival. This is the parade that my friend Tita Ritz asked me to walk in as a Sagala a while back. Signing myself up for something where I did not really know what I was getting myself into gave me a peculiar feeling when the day of the event arrived. It all started with a cup of milo (like hot cocoa) at Tita’s house and with an unexpected long conversation. Another Sagala (her name was Mona) was also there with her family. They live in Manila but were in Marinduque for the festival. An awkward hello turned into a friendship and the conversation lasted almost two hours. I plan to visit them next time I go to Manila. After lunch, I had to get my hair done at the request of Tita. This made me feel like I was getting ready for the prom only my hair looked horrible afterwards. There was just too much hairspray! Later I realized that my hair did not matter because I guess when you are a blue eyed blonde wearing a fuchsia pink dress covered in roses nobody really looks at your hair. Saying yes to having my hair done was one thing but I did battle the bright blush and Barbie pink lipstick. Even though everyone told me it would make me look more beautiful I suppose that the lover or natural colors in me had to turn down the opportunity. I actually did end up wearing lipstick though. Another lady had a less vibrant shade of lipstick, so I dabbed a tiny amount on my lips. After hair and makeup, I put on the gown. Next up –shoes. Tita actually found a pair of small wedges that fit my long wide feet. It was a miracle that they fit my feet.

Then, we went to the cathedral to line up for the parade. There were many angels and sagalas that would walk in the parade to celebrate Mary May Festival. We each had a different name, “Queen of Peace,” “Queen of all Nations,” etc, and I was “Mystical Rose.” I was happy that Gemma and some of our students were there to walk with me. Two of the boys had to carry the ark of flowers that went over my head. I have never had so many eyes looking at me before. There were many familiar eyes though which helped me remain comfortable. Guess I have my talkative personality to thank- helped me recognize random faces in the crowded streets. The ark and bouquet of flowers that were made for me were breathtakingly stunning! Filipinos have a true talent in adding a touch of beauty. We walked around town for about 1 ½ hours. About half way through a Grandmother and a little boy started to walk with us. He reminded me of the little boy from Big Daddy. This is because he dressed like him and was wearing sunglasses. He was so shy at first but by the end of it we were high fiving and sticking our tongues out at each other. This kid, even though he may never know it, helped me smile the entire way!  It got dark while we were walking to one of my students had to carry a flashlight gone spotlight so that everyone could see my dress. After the parade I really regretted wearing those wedge shoes. I have not worn heals in over a year and walking so long in them up and down hills made my feet hurt really bad. Ouch!  So, after avoiding the glowing pink lipstick, the parade, having my picture taken a gazillion times, gaining a foot ache or two, meeting new friends, the day was over. I actually had to repeat the process two days later where my principal lives. She invited me to be a Sagala in her town, so I spent all of Monday at her house.

Now, I am a busy little teacher preparing everything for the first day of school- June 4th! I hope you all have a sweaty, fun summer just like I did! 

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