Saturday, March 25, 2006

I saw a monkey last night. I was walking through the compound and I looked up and there he was, just hanging out. At first it didn’t register, I was still looking for squirrels and house cats, but it was one of those things that actually confirms for you that you are somewhere different.

Anyway, enough about the monkey. Everything has gone really well so far, and smoothly too. It’s been kind of weird, actually, traveling and not having to deal with any hang-ups or delays. Detroit was fine, if not a little boring. It had that “first day of class” feel about it, where you spend all of your time introducing yourself to everyone and talking about your only shared interest: the fact that you’re all there. It has been neat meeting everyone though, because I envisioned being surrounded by a bunch of 20-somethings who all wanted to change the world. It turns out that we have a very diverse (and large) group, with people of all ages and backgrounds. We have a surprisingly large contingent of older people, probably about 6 or 7 of them over 50. It’s been cool getting to know people better though because a lot of people have really interesting stories. One guy was recently over in Thailand teaching for 3 years. Another was raised in India. One guy was over in Melbourne waiting tables while he was going through the whole process. It’s nice to be with a group of intelligent, well rounded people. Not that there aren’t also people who are fresh out of college and have never flown on a plane, but hey, they’re here.

Right now we’re outside of Manila in this weird resort-y kind of complex with a “zoo” and giant pool complete with rickety water slides and various other strange diversions, but all in all it’s pretty nice. Never having been to a resort before I have nothing to compare it to, but I was expecting to just be in some hotel, so I really can’t complain. Actually, so far the Peace Corps has just been throwing money at us. I mean, we each got $160 for 2 days back in Detroit. Granted, we only got 585 pesos ($11) here for the whole week, but still. Yesterday about 5 of us took a jeepney into the nearest city center and walked around a little bit. There’s a huge mall here called SM (Shoe Mart), but we didn’t go in. We actually passed a lot of cool looking places though, a big market, little stalls of that sold various meats on sticks, that kind of thing. The resort is a little confining, so I imagine we’ll explore more since we’ll be here for about 4 more days. As you can tell from my incoherent thoughts, we’ve all had a fair amount of info to process so far.

We’ll have a lot more to do it sounds like, more orientation here, a visit to the embassy, training, etc. We’ll meet our host families in about a week and a half, which I’m very excited about. It’ll be nice to progress out of the confines of this initial orientation and actually sort of start our lives here. Well, I’m tired of typing and I’m not sure what the write next, so I’ll just save it until the next update.


David said...

Woot, the adventure begins!

Paula said...

Thanks for the great updates, Owen! Having been to Manila it brings back lots of memories. We never saw any monkeys, though, cool! Love, Paula