Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So the time has come. Time for me to write about the fact that we're leaving, and make a list of things I'll miss... This is hard to write about, I've tried before, but I'll give it a shot. It's not hard because I'm so worked up I keep crying on the keyboard, but it's hard to write about because I don't think I've ever had two years of my life be filled with such strong emotions, and so many of them. On tuesday my coworkers had a lunch for me: they made a slide show with pictures of me and us, sang me songs, said nice things about how hard of a worker I am (semi true) and how handsome I am (true), and they listened to my requests for food so we had Bicol Express (my favorite pinoy dish) and sweet and sour fish, and chocolate cake, and it was really nice. It was sad, and kind of heart-warming, and I just felt happy and all over good. Two hours after that I was screaming at the top of my lungs "I hate the Philippines!" as the torrential rain that came out of nowhere filled up our front area and proceeded to flood our house (but not too badly). So in that one day I experienced sadness, nostalgia, happiness, joy, frustration, and utter disgust and anger. So now imagine that for 2 years straight, where you'll be fuming about something retarded that just happened and then someone will do something nice, and you'll be happy again.

There are a lot of great things: the smell of frying garlic coming through our window, or the gentle splish-splosh of a neighbor hand-washing all their clothes. Huge lightening displays, the moon shinning through the coconut trees at the end of our street, the cloud shrouded mountains seen from our bedroom window, the utter quietness of such a loud country at night. Watching people on boats and buses pull an endless stream of food from their bags. The fact that you can make anything happen if you just ask enough, and nicely, because there really aren't any rules that's can't be broken. The ease of getting around without a car, once you learn the system. Living in a culture where people only buy what they need. Meeting up with other volunteers and getting to use all those jokes you've saved up for 3 months because no Filipino would understand. Drinking beers at Anthology after a meal at May Lin and ripping on Carrie for requesting a song that has a 20 minute drum solo in the middle of it. Being too lazy to cook and getting fried chicken and garlic rice from Wil's. Living an hour and a half away from an amazing white sand beach, and an Italian restaurant that serves Italian style pizza made with real mozz cheese. Being able to travel to incredible places like Bohol and Sagada. Being able to walk down the street to buy a beer, or beef broth cubes, or vinegar and not having to get in the car and drive to a huge grocery store. The sheer amount of free time we have. Being able to walk to the market, and buy things from people who grew or killed that particular food (most of the time at least...). Walking to the beach, albeit a crappy, dirty one, and having a beer while watching the sunset. Bootleg dvds. The incredible, sometimes overbearing generosity of people with next to nothing. Being cut off from pop culture and all that boring shit, but being much more clued in to world events, and just having a better understand of the world period. CNN, BBC and Newsweek are all way, way better outside of the US.

I genuinely feel that this experience has made both of us better people, and I'm looking forward to getting on that plane and taking all that I learned back with me so I can lead a better, healthier, well rounded and compassionate life, one that involves friends, family, community, living local and eating well, and tons of travel. Travel, travel, travel.


Carrie said...

whatever. you love bonham just as much as i do

Schellhase said...

I just stumbled upon your blog this afternoon, having received word earlier in the week that I'm heading to the Philippines with PC in August. If you have any packing tips or sage advice for preparing to leave, I'd love to hear it. Send me a note if you get a chance at