Saturday, November 10, 2012

When one gets sidetracked from life...

November 5th- 11th:

“It is good to get sidetracked from life.” Those are the words that best express why I have not written in a month. Honestly, I have been procrastinating sitting down to write this with fear of being overwhelmed by my own thoughts. But then, I have never really been one to be afraid of a challenge, so here I am, ready to write. However, now that I am sitting here, prepared to type and type and type some more I am having trouble pinpointing where to start.

How am I feeling these days? I am feeling great. Lately, a lot of my mind energy is focused on home. How excited I am to see and hug the people in my life that I miss so much. The rest of my brain power is going to developing a way to help my sports club become sustainable and my new found project of developing an Awareness Club to help educate teachers and students in my community of things in life that really need to be widely known facts. Topics like teen pregnancy, human trafficking, bullying, domestic abuse, suicide. These things are never talked about and it is mind boggling to me. Karen has some contacts in the states that have given us some great resources which will serve as our starting block as we jump into this race to be aware. I have also been talking to a Peace Corps staff member who has been helping me get my hands on some materials that are going to be useful in the months to come. Yes, this will take months.

Where have I been? My weeks away from site started at MST (Mid- Service Training). Yes, we have now officially crossed over the half way mark and into the world of second year of service, the place where we talk a lot about our projects and gossip about miscellaneous nonsense instead of about each other’s sites. The most effective MST talk for me was one about volunteerism at site. I realized that I was already doing things that can classify as volunteerism; I just did not know what to call it! How cool. So, now I have the manual and hope to use it to help my students in sports club realize that they are doing more than merely exercising their mind and body. My students who are leaders and teaching others about sports and encouraging them to join are actually practicing ideals that fall under volunteerism. I have known for awhile now deep down in my soul that I have a great group of youth that I am working with. Before I go off on a tangent about that let me stick to the “Where have I been?” After MST, we all went to Manila for our medical- dental and physical. I thought that I was going to escape out of the dental office without having them tell me I need to floss more but then… at the last second, “Oh, and please try and floss more!” Seriously?!?! I almost made it! I floss every day. I thank everyone around me for that. The site of decaying teeth has lead me into the life of regular flossing. But, apparently I still need to floss more. After medical and dental I met up with Karen, Pam, Ed, and some other volunteers and we went to Howzat for two nights. Howzat is a sports bar near Manila. I felt with every particle in my body that I was in America. We were slamming beers during the all you can drink hours and eating cheese sticks, burgers, and nachos. Howzat was the beginning of the “I am spending way too much money” journey that consumed my life for the week to follow. More on this in the photo section of this post. After Howzat I went to Lipa with Karen for a few days. This is when we started our talk about the awareness club and started to gather information. Then, it was off to Puerto Galera, Mindoro! We were ready to enjoy beach, sun, beers, friends and everything that comes along with that great combination of awesomeness. The first night we were bound to stay with another volunteer but miscommunication of some sort put us on the wrong boat. We got dropped off in the sand a few hours away from where we were supposed to be. NOT the worst place to get dropped off at. It was already dark to we changed plans and met up the Ben, the volunteer, the next day for an all day excursion under the blistering sun. The beers started early and ended early, I think we were all in bed by 7pm. We spent a few days enjoying delicious homelike food, laughing, and swimming. The whole time I was in awe about the fact that I had only met these people one year ago, and one the day prior, yet somehow they are like family to me.

How did I feel once I was back at site? I felt like I need to detox. It is hard to write out every detail here displaying exactly why I felt this way. At site, I eat relatively healthy because I really have no alternative, I exercise, and I drink lots of water. During my sidetrack, I ate really good food but probably a little heavy in the cheese and fat category, I did not exercise as much, and I drank lots of beer. There is a splurge if there ever was one. Good thing my mother taught me how to not diet. I love the fact that I enjoy living a healthy lifestyle; however, when moments come into my life that drive me to eat unhealthy and live without restrictions it feels good to not feel bad about it. I did just start doing P90X again. Triple whoa, my body immediately felt better. Now, if only I have some recovery drink mixture, one thing on my list of to get when I am back in the land that has everything. In other news, seeing the students and teachers and neighbors at my site was great. Those kinds of smiles are really magical. Especially from the people who thought I had gone home forever and then they realized I was just on vacation. We have two new puppies at my house too. Just more chaos. I may live on a farm. Oh, we also had a consolidation drill for Peace Corps. It is a drill that ensures that all volunteers are accounted for and safe. We would use our consolidation point in an emergency situation. I got home Sunday night, and had to pack up an overnight bag again on Monday to head to the consolidation point. We had to stay overnight together- Catherine, shea, and myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the hot shower and night of wi-fi once last time. Now, I am back into the way of life where internet happens only once a week. Today, I was completely overwhelmed again, my mind was racing, and I really felt like I was going to fly out of my seat and I was not even drinking coffee.

So, cheers to normalcy again and detox! Enjoy the photos, xoxoxo.
My first sailing race. It was neat to see the race boats blowing by after they turned around at half way pt. The journey was pretty intense. A 3 hour adventure with lots of beer breaks. Every time the crew jibbed or attacked or whatever else, a beer was the reward. 
The moment when I thought to myself, "I am so lucky." I found myself thanking my family and friends who supported my crazy but heartfelt decision to join Peace Corps. The sole reason why I am where I am today. 

With the captain and other crew members. Dale, the captain is from Australia so we had lots to talk about straight away. They are sailing around Marinduque soon so I hope to catch up with them for part of their trip. Another crew member was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the '70s! We really enjoyed sharing stories and it was great to have a good listening here, someone who understands without explanation. Volunteers are really all connected in such a special way. 

Some more new friends that I met at the hostel after the sailing race. I had to stay an extra night (no complaints about that). It really felt good to  be on my own and simply enjoy the beauty that lies in meeting new people. Some would say it is strange that we can connect and take jager bombs all within on only hour of meeting each other... I say it is awesome. Bong, the one at the far left, invited me to sail with him again Dec. 8th! I can't wait. 

I would me lost in this part of the world without these two! 


Beach. This is the beach we did not really intend on going to. OOPS! We happily excepted the wrong turn.  

I <3 YOU!

Howzat. The sports bar we started at, open 24 hours with great food and drink. I took a lot of pictures of the food but I figured I would save those for my own keeping. I will definitely go back!

I took this picture yesterday. My mother sent me this awesome book about seasons of the north. I brought it to school because we are studying poety and a lot of the poems are about seasons. The pictures really helped me to teach my students about why poets write about the wonders of a changing season. After living in summer for their whole life, it is hard to imagine the changes so I really enjoyed showing them. More books are on a boat heading to my school AND  I can't wait. After seeing their eyes grow big and the questions spill out over ONE book, I am not sure how I will handle the fabulous happenings that will soon come from having like MORE THAN ONE book. 

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