Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer really does fly by...

Second Half of April:

As I sit here, trying to recap things in my head of the last few weeks in April, I am stuck thinking about how summer is half way over already. I have been extremely busy; April just came and went in a flash.

After getting back home from Palawan I had some free time to simply enjoy summer vacation. I rode my bike a lot, went swimming (which was a great way to keep cool and get a break from the heat), ate lots of halo halo, made some bracelets to gives to some friends here, organized my room, and watched two seasons of Pretty Little Liars (PLL for short). I definitely understand why they have summer break during the months of April and May- the heat is intense and the sun seems to constantly be shining which is beautiful but on the other hand does not provide a second of refreshing breeze to each day. I will admit dumping that bucket of cold water over my head has never felt so good. Even when the sun went down, it was still hot. I do not know the exact temperature but I heard comments floating around that it was 98- 100! One day, I was with Shea and Catherine in Boac because we had to plan for an upcoming project. The aircon unit read 80 and it felt cool inside…

So, it’s hot! It is almost like trying to stay cool is a game, what will I do next to keep cool? One thing is I am constantly drinking water, and the neat thing about sweating so much is that even if I am guzzling water I am not running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. Also, halo halo has been a great treat. In Wisconsin in the summertime, children selling lemonade, kool- aid or any other flavored drink with ice is a popular and common site, right? Here- it is halo halo stands, they are everywhere. Families who have ice (because you need ice for halo halo) down every street, every trail, have turned their front yard into a halo halo stand. Halo Halo in Tagalog means “mix mix.” To make this summer delight you just add crushed ice, gelatin, corn, beans, ube, ice cream, milk, sugar and other various goodies into a cup and mix away! I am picturing the question marks floating over some of your heads wondering why corn? Why beans? I am not sure I have an answer for that but I do know that it is tasty.

Swimming in the sea also brings a cool sensation. I would just hop on my bike and ride to the beach (about a five minute ride). I became friends with a woman who lives on the seashore who has a lot of coconuts. Drinking fresh coconut water is one of my favorite treats on a nice summer day. It used to be a challenge for me to drink the water from one coconut but now I find myself wanting two! I will say without hesitation that I still have a little ‘fish’ in me. I remember growing up my parents would always call me a little fish. I loved the water then and I still do now. Something about putting on my goggles and diving under the sea makes me really happy. I wear my goggles here because the salt water burns my eyes. When one tiny drop stings, and out in the middle of the ocean I don’t have a towel within reach to wipe my eyes free of salt.
My host mother asked me if I wanted to go to the beach with her and some others too one day. I met my host family and their friends at the beach at 7am. Really, 7am. Normally, I would go to the beach between 10-2 because well, those are the best tanning hours of course! Everyone likes a little sun kissed skin every now and then. However, the Filipino people go to the beach early in the morning or after the sun goes down because during the day the heat of the sun is too hot. Sometimes when I go around lunch time I am the only person in the water. Of course it is not all about the tanning thing, I really do enjoy a nice refreshing dip in the ocean. So anyways, I swam and swam with my host family all morning. My host mom bought fresh fish from one of the fishermen when they came to shore and we make a small fire on the beach to cook our snack. I also tried a new fruit- tamis. I had to Google fruits of the Philippines to find out the name of what I had been munching on. They are small bell shaped fruits. My host mother called them strawberry bells. The taste is quite similar to an apple, mixed with a little dollop of pear.

So, after month of summer I officially have a tan circle on my back (reminds me of the good old days as a swimmer), a really white stomach, a greater addiction to mangos, motivation to lace up my shoes because I found a ½ marathon that I want to run, and made new friends along the way. May is off to a great start too and is going to be just as busy and fun filled as April! 

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