Monday, February 18, 2008

Week 1

So I am going to try to update this blog on a weekly basis. We will see how this goes.

Monday, Feb 11
I arrived in the Philippines right before midnight. I was thoroughly confused as to where and what I should do in order to meet up with whoever was going to meet me. I had tried e-mailing my office manager before I left the US in order to see what was going to happen but I didn't get a response back so I figured just go with the flow. Once we arrived, immigration was a breeze took about 5 minutes. The only problem was that I couldn't understand a thing the immigration office was saying... the real pain came when everybody and their mother was pushing and crowding around the luggage belt. After 40 minutes, I finally lugged my 70 lb box of food + my 70 lb suitcase with more food and some clothes. It was kind of crazy but I had arrived.

Thi, the office manger, Co Hue ,the office cook, and Niem, a local staff volunteer, met me at the "waiting area." Basically, they have a couple of signs for grouped letters of the alphabet and people line up under their respective sign. Then across the street the people picking them up are suppose to spot them and wave. However, things were easier for me because Thi snuck across =P

Then we got into a shady taxi that wouldn't go all the way to our city so we kept asking him to pull over and let us out but he ended up dropping us by a gas station with more taxis. So things worked out from there.

The office is basically a mini house. We have a little front entrance where we do our laundry and stuff. Then you enter the door and there is a living room type area that serves as our office. Then a door connecting to a small kitchen/dining room in the back of the house. Then in the middle of the living room is a staircase that leads up to 4 bedrooms. One small bedroom is for Chu Thai, our most senior local staff volunteer. Then there is a larger room where I share a room with 4 other boys. Then there is another room that had the majority of the expats. Then the last room is for Co Hue and her family. It is really cozy.

K more update for week 1 later. =)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Time is Now

I am not the most spontaneous person in the world. However, I have been recently given an opportunity that I could not pass up. Right now I am typing this from Manila, Philippines.

I boarded a plane yesterday at 11AM in LAX. It was a difficult goodbye because I feel so guilty for leaving my mom and my dad at home by themselves for 6 months. But I think what really hit me hard was that on Saturday my dad's side came over to my house and I could see my grandma's eyes water. It was really heart wrenching because I know as time goes on I will have less and less time to spend with my older family members. I don't know if it was the Johnny Walker or the myriad of Chinese films but periodically throughout the flight from LAX to Hong Kong I would be overwhelmed with sadness when I realized I would be gone for so long. Then I thought of how little 6 months is compared to refugees who left their homes not knowing how much time would pass before they would see their loved ones again... some have been separated for decades and I realized the luxuries that I have been afforded in life. I am going to try to call home once every couple of days.