I've decided it might be a good idea to keep track of what I read while I'm in the Philippines. This, then, will be a floating post that I update as I read. I will not include the kid books that I read with the boys that I tutor.
- The Magician's Nephew
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- The Horse and His Boy
- Prince Caspian
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Last Battle
- Out of the Silent Planet
- That Hideous Strength
- The Hobbit
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King
- Letters From Father Christmas
- Bridge to Terebithia - Katherine Patterson
- Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt
- Burying the Sun - Gloria Whelan
- The Golden Goblet - Eloise Jarvis McGraw
- Because of Winn-Dixie - Kate DiCamillo
- Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
- The Didache
- On the Incarnation - St Athanasius
- Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives - Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnika
- Wounded by Love - Elder Porphyrios
An email just came through announcing the departure of one of the couples in the batch. CYF has lost its first member, and 271 is now saying goodbye to two terrific people.
And then there were 62.
Peace Corps service is like a distance run. We're here for a long time, and every once in a while, we hit a wall, like any runner does. There are occasional hazards, and not everyone who starts the race finishes it. We were seventy in my batch, now we're sixty-four.
Today, we passed a significant distance marker. We have been six months at site. Twenty-five percent of our service is complete; only eighteen months remain. Unless, of course, we extend, which we each will be deciding about a year from now.
Another significant milestone is adjustment. I recently noticed that within the last week or two I have finally adjusted to the culture. There are still things I don't like, but they no longer drive me crazy. This is huge. I have not looked at the timeline of adjustment they gave us in a couple months, but I think the next hill, or maybe valley, will be at mid-service in six months.
Since our first six months are gone, it's time to dig in and change the world. Or, less ridiculously, to try to accomplish something sustainable with our respective agencies.
Now that I have achieved cultural adjustment, it's time for weather adjustment. Summer has begun, and WOW is it hot!
It started on Thursday, and now we're to the part where, to borrow my brother's phrase, I am Drippy, the Snot Girl. So, in between coughing fits and nose blows, I randomly decided to compose a haiku and post it to Facebook. Then I realized that "haiku" sounds like a sneeze.
Snot drips from nose and down throat
A pile of tissue
Well, one of the commenters asked for a "phlegmerick." How could I not oblige such a well worded request?
There once was a nose in Tarlac
That got just a bit out of whack
Its drippings were yellow,
Refused to be mellow
And led to a cough full of hack
And I'm stopping there, since more phlegm poetry would be excessive.
Tomorrow morning, I head out to Manila, yet again, for a church weekend. This is the one I've been waiting for. The bishop is here. There is one Antiochian Orthodox bishop in this part of the world- Metropolitan Paul of Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. I figure if I'm going to be here two years, I ought to meet the bishop, so I know him, and so he knows me! There's also that little detail of none of the priests here being blessed to do anything with confession yet, so I've been doing mine by email, which leaves me a bit in limbo in terms of absolution. Nearly seven months of that is quite enough, thanks. So, off to Manila I go.
But before I can go tomorrow, I had to run a few errands which required a trip into Tarlac City. I've mentioned before that it's an hour away, and that the transportation within the city is not exactly straightforward. Well, this morning, I hopped a jeep into the city and got off near Magic Star (a mall). I walked to McDonald's for breakfast, where the house music was an instrumental of "Memory" from Cats that lasted the entire time I was eating. As I left, it finally changed to an instrumental of The Beatles' "Yesterday." Perfectly lovely house music. I also accidentally ended up with a pop-out fold-up fan, emblazoned with the McDonald's logo. Oh, Philippines, how delightfully quirky you are.
Next was a one block backtracking to the print shop I go to. Ten or fifteen minutes later, I was on my way. Past the McDo, a left turn at the university, and on down the street for about fifteen minutes, with a brief stop in the 7-11, on to SM. On foot.
Why yes, I can now navigate the city on foot. Win! I'd say walking saved me thirty pesos, except for that 7-11 stop. They had one collector's slurpee cup left. I got it. So much for saving money. Whoops. But you'll understand when you see the pictures!
At this angle, it's Bilbo.
At this angle, it's Gollum.
Now I'm in Starbucks, where I'll get myself a whole milk hot chocolate, because people at my site are worrying about my weight loss. I'm almost right where I want to be, but they are convinced I am not eating and my health is in danger. They've told me so repeatedly in the last two weeks. Oh, Philippines. Really? I was thinner when I lived a block from work and walked everywhere.
A couple days ago, I was sitting in the library at work, and Kathryn came in and deposited these on my table.
She found them abandoned in a box somewhere, and she's already gotten them a new family. Apparently, we are a home for orphaned and abandoned children and house pets. I'm pretty sure the house pet rescue is unofficial...
Back at Rehoboth now, getting some work in before a staff meeting takes over my room and my life. After Starbucks, I grabbed Jollibee takeout for the road and walked back to the bus station. It's about a block. One trike driver on the way tried very hard to convince me that I wanted to go the opposite direction to who-knows-where for 50 pesos. I don't think so, sir. The first bus was running, which means it's leaving soon, and the sign said it would be going through Camiling, so I grabbed a seat. We left about two minutes later, and it wasn't yet noon. Sta Maria arrived so quickly that I decided to skip the trike and walk the kilometer to work. It's not so terribly hot today.
On the way, I passed my Tagalog tutor on her motorcycle. She said hi. Then my next-door neighbor went by on his trike and said hi. I think he was hoping I would take a ride and give him money. Then one of our boys went by on the back of someone's motorcycle. The guard guy at the guard house always says hi when I pass by. Integration. It's happening.
I only hope that with the McDonald's breakfast, slurpee, hot chocolate, and burger, I took in enough calories to offset all the walking and the fact that dinner last night was a cup of noodles!
I joke about the eating issue, but the reality is I'm doing great. I have lost twenty pounds that needed to go. I haven't gotten any of the classic Peace Corps ailments. Two of my batchmates have amoeba right now. All I've had in almost seven months is a couple of colds and a dehydration migraine or two.