Sunday, July 16, 2006

We are starting to get pissed

Ok, I'll keep this brief so the entire post isn't just me bitching. But you see, we belong to this organization that is drowning us in arbitrary and ridiculous rules. We like our host family a lot, the kids are fun to hang out with, but it's just them. The mom works in another town all week, so grandma next door and the housekeeper take care of the kids. We also cook our own food, seeing as how we're 24 and fairly capable of taking care of ourselves. We have also found a really nice house, 2 bedrooms, tiny kitchen, bright airy upstairs that we would really like to move into because living with other people is, quite frankly, starting to drive us fucking nuts. However, we are not allowed to move because you have to spend 3 months with this host family as well (for a total of 6 months living with families). Now, the reasoning behind this is that living with a host family helps your language, it helps your adjustment and it helps to integrate you into the community. As I've mentioned before, we don't really live with a family. It's more like we rent a (tiny) bedroom from them. We also live in a city of 100,000 people and plan on living in a different barangay anyway, so the community integration issue is a moot point. We also have friends and co-workers who we see everyday, and so far have been about %98 of our social contact. Not the "family." So why then are we not allowed to move? BECAUSE THEY HAVE A RULE! And if you have a rule, it can't be broken.

So anyway, we almost literally can't stand it anymore, not having our own space, our own things, so we're telling our regional manager that we are moving. We're not going to stay in a situation that's making us unhappy (and apathetic might I add), and the house we found is really awesome. It's going to make a huge difference.

Everything else is going really well, saw some friends this past weekend, which was a little breath of fresh air. Two weeks ago I went out to a rural barangay to help commemorate the launching of a fish sanctuary, and it was a real trip. The only way to get to this place is an hour boat ride, or a half day hike through the mountains, which means for people who can only justify using their boats to fish, every time they need something from town, it's a day long journey. We went out with maybe 12 coworkers of mine and we also inexplicably brought along 5 thoroughly bored looking, heavily armed guys. 4 with M-16s and one guy with an uzi. Now, I'm not sure why we had to bring along 5 guys with guns, but we did. The event itself was pretty fun. They had a table set up on the beach, loaded with two giant smoked, rainbow colored fish, and about 6 cases of beer and a dozen bottles of gin (we arrived at 9am). The ceremony was brief, consisting mostly of people acknowledging the other people who were there, and then we were able to get down to some serious business. After the speeches the women all made themselves scarce and we broke out the booze. The fish was delicious and the beer, well, it was warm and flat. That's ok though, you can't blame them, they only get electricity from 6pm until 9pm when they turn on the town's rickety diesel generator. Being the celebrity that I am, I was given both my own fish and my own bottle of beer, instead of sharing communally, which actually just made me feel like a leper, so I kind of worked my way into a circle. Since the beer is warm, and people want to drink, you fill your glass up, pound it, shake it out and pass it on.

Meanwhile the gun toting dudes are hanging out, leaning on their guns, and then the guy with the uzi sends his loaded gun clattering across the rocks on the beach and I took that as my cue to get up and move far away. I sat down next to one of the M-16 guys who had taken his clip out and was performing a delicate operation on the safety of his gun by bashing it with a rock. I won't say I was afraid of getting shot, but these guys didn't make me feel any safer from the invisible threat.

So as we said goodbye to the increasingly drunk fisherman and set out on our dangerously overcrowded boat, a school of flying fish sailed ahead the bow of our ship. The sun was beating down and the frothy waves reflected millions of points of light. It had been a good day.

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