I’d like to blame my lack of posting on a poor internet connection or a hectic schedule, but even though both are true, I know they are weak excuses. I could be drafting posts before bed, or jotting down notes throughout the day when an idea strikes but instead I mostly daydream about what I want to tell people and think “maybe tomorrow”. Well, I’m finally writing one which is a good sign. On the other hand, I make no promises that the cycle wont repeat itself after I’ve posted this one. After all, if you look back on all my posts so far, I’m usually apologizing for taking so long to post! Procrastination apparently still exists after college.
In my last post, I asked if anyone had any questions about my experience, since I would like to write about things you are interested in knowing. Apparently people are shy or maybe don’t know what to ask yet but I did get two questions, so thanks to Sherry and Kathy for asking!
Sherry asked “Would you say that in general people are more “open” in their conversations about themselves?” This is a great question!
In America, when we are introduced to someone new, generally the conversation goes something like this..
“Hello, my name is Emily”
“Nice to meet you too! Where are you from?”
“I’m from Rockport, Massachusetts, how about you?
“Oh I have some friends that live there, beautiful place. I’m from Florida.”
“That’s nice, what do you do for work there?”
“I work for a PR company, how about you?”
“I just graduated from UMass.”
Introductions in the Philippines…
“Hello my name is Emily, nice to meet you.”
“Hi Emily, where are you from?”
“I’m from Massachusetts in America.”
“Oh wow, how old are you?”
“Are you single?”
“No, I have a boyfriend in America”
“Do you have Facebook?”
“Can I have your phone number?”
I’m not exaggerating.
The Filipinos I have met are very open about asking personal questions, and so far as I’ve noticed they don’t mind answering them either. However, I still feel hesitant to ask personal questions too early on. On the flip side, as straight forward as they are, we have learned in cultural sessions that confrontation isn’t common and saying no or being critical should be handled like a very careful chess move. The contrast can be confusing at times.
Kathy asked, “As far as what you are eating, is chicken and vegetables part of their daily life?”
I think my host family has picked up on my love of vegetables, so I have seen them in my meals more recently than I did in the first week or so. Rice is served with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes the meal is just fried fish and rice. Pork seems to be more common than chicken in my house, though we do have it occasionally, and hot dogs (that are red here and sometimes filled with this weird cheese stuff) can be found at the table frequently. My biggest adjustment to eating meat in this country is that they usually use the entire animal including fat and bones. The other adjustment has been eating more fried/oily foods than I’m used to but miraculously somehow I’m pretty sure I’ve actually lost weight so far.
I am feeling a lot better than I did last week, so things are looking up, for now. Which brings me to my current anxiety about site placement!
I truly feel that I am adjusting to my life in Olongapo. I love my host family, my counterpart (co-teacher) is super nice, and the class that I will be team-teaching until November is eager to learn. And as soon as I feel that I can call this place home, I will be thrown into a new place with a new host family, new counterpart, and new school. This is both an exciting and daunting thing to think about. So far my life has been pretty comfortable in comparison to some other trainees and the adjustment to a more rural place with less resources could be a whole other set of culture shock to adapt to. We find out where we’re going on October 4th. Many of us are counting down the days, not because we want time to move fast, but because we’re so anxious to know where our home will be for the next two years.
Any more questions?! I love hearing from people so please shoot me an email with updates about your life! email@example.com or my personal email if you know it!
P.S. Every trainee and volunteer has a unique experience, so I encourage you to check out their blogs! Lillian is also in Olongapo City , and she often takes the words right out of my mouth about this place! Also, the picture below makes up for any bad day I have here.