Things are settling down internally. I am not constantly questioning my motives for being here. I more often, am just here.
Language training is hard as hell. We move incredibly quickly but I know we need to move at this pace because after our Tagalog test at the end of August, we will start learning a different language, the one used at our permanent site. It could be Tagalog, or Cebuano, or Ilocano…or like 5 other languages. Interesting fact: many smaller Filipino languages were incredibly well preserved throughout history, due to the horrid fact of the Spanish colonizers not wanting them to be able to speak to each other or internally mobilize large rebellions. But I think I’m learning Tagalog pretty well for only being a week in to CBT (community based training). Technical training is moving a little slower at the moment, but the Community Organizing workshops we’ve had the past two days have been amazing, and have made me extremely excited about getting to site. Which site? I have no idea. Could be northern Luzon, could be southern Visayas, it’s all in question until site placement announcements at the end of August (and changes often still occur after that).
I was asked about my days and nights so here is my typical day: I wake up at 5:15/5:30 and contemplate doing yoga in my bedroom while drifting in and out of sleep or reading until about 6:05- I have yet to practice since arriving at CBT. Then I have breakfast with my host Nanay (mother), sister, and sometimes Tita (aunt). I get ready for training and head out at 7:30 to the staff house about a 10 minute walk from my own. Language training all morning with my “cluster” of 5 other trainees and myself until lunch at noon. Then, technical training in the afternoon usually with all 30 CRM (coastal resource management) trainees in the Philippines. My language and technical trainers could not be more wonderful. Then, home at 5/6 to do homework or talk with my host family until dinner at 7/7:30 and right after, I’m so tired that I take my tabo (bucket and ladle) shower, read or listen to music and/or cry, and go to bed by 9:30/10. Right before sleep I think “maybe I’ll do yoga in the morning” and the process begins again.
Mom- yes, I am making wonderful friends. It does smell different: the air quality is worse, but I can smell the sea which is always worth it. The air is hot and humid and I am having trouble adjusting and not profusely sweating for hours at a time but I will adapt. I was able to borrow a book, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Nietzsche (thanks Jon).
Training is difficult. I get very sad. But I am getting enough sleep and eating delicious foods. Also, I hear the bullfrogs and cicadas at night and sometimes I pretend I’m home. Sometimes, I love that I’m not.