Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Books, Books, Books

I knew that I would have a lot of free time on my hands, but even so, I had only brought one book with me. I had heard that books were abundant and I would easily pick up a few here and there from other volunteers...not to mention my mom sending me boxes and boxes! Ok, not really that extreme, but about 3-5 books in all of my care packages. Since arriving in country, I have read 34 books. Take out the first two months of training, and in the past year, that's quite the average, huh??? I want to dedicate this entry to my amazing list of books...well, I think it's pretty amazing! I've read everything from classics to romance to books that try to answer the meaning of life. So here is...

1. All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell
2. Now You May Weep by Deborah Crombie
3. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
4. Rising Sun by Tom Clancy
5. Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut
6. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult ***
8. Smart Women by Judy Blume :(
9. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
10. Mixed Blessings by Danielle Steel
11. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
12. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy ***
13. Three to get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
14. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd ***
15. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas ***
16. A Painted House by John Grisham ***
17. Mother of Sorrows by Richard McCann
18. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry ***
19. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood :(
20. Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult
21. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
22. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
23. The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer :(
24. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom ***
25. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
26. Vahalla Rising by Clive Cussler
27. The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder
28. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ***
29. Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
30. The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
31. The Water Method Man by John Irving :(
32. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon ***
33. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon ***
34. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon ***

The books with *** are must reads, at least I think so. They were by far my favorites and left an impression with me. Forget about the books with :(. I felt they were worthless, but at the same time, I did finish them so that counts for something.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Entertainment in the 'Pines

I thought that this week I would share with everyone the many different arts/entertainment events I've had the privilege of attending...

I think I've easily doubled the number of movies I've seen in theaters since being in the Philippines. It is soooooooooo cheap! As you all know, movies are around $7-10, and that's not including the pop and popcorn. Here, I can go for 65 pesos...that equates to around $1.50. How can I not go?!?! I admit, if I'm lacking something better to do, I'll go to 2-3 movies a week! When I do that, I ask myself how much am I really sacrificing in being here, HA!

BUT, and there is a big but, movies are very different here than back in the states. There are specified movies times, but again, they are only suggestions. Filipinos have no problem going into a movie at the middle, staying through the end, sitting and waiting through to the next start time, and seeing the beginning at the end. This means that people are coming in and leaving throughout most of the movie. At first I couldn't believe it, but I have actually done this one time! Who would have thought it?!

Yes, I have had the pleasure of going to a musical. It was performed at one of the local artist hangouts here in Baguio. The name, "Once Upon This Island" and was an adaptation, of an adaptation, of "The Little Mermaid!" At times I felt that the actors were over-acting, but the songs were fun and animated. The only thing I didn't like was the ending. You all know how "The Little Mermaid" ends...Happily Ever After, right? Well not this play. The rich guy and a peasant girl fell in love, but in the end, the rich guy told the peasant girl that he couldn't marry her even though he loved her and had to do the right thing which was listen to his family. So he married another rich girl and left the peasant in the streets. Then she died from a broken heart, grew into a tree and destroyed the rich guy's hotel. Was a "mouth hanging open" type of ending.

I've attended several art show and pottery mostly. They are always fun, full of people, and the artists are very approachable. It's especially nice being in Baguio where there is a huge art scene. There are many small artists' spaces around the city which are full of native Filipino works.

CONCERTS...actually only one concert
While in Manila one time, I had the opportunity to go to a free concert by a well known Filipino band called, Bamboo. I really enjoyed their music and have since bought both of their cd's. It's more rock than most of the bands in this country and their live performance is great. I certainly have had the chance to go to more concerts as bands and artists are always on what they call Mall Tours. Since there is an SM City (SM is the biggest mall chain in the Philippines) here in Baguio, there are artists here all the time. Usually I don't really understand how big they are so I avoid the nights they are at the mall because it is a HUGE mob of screaming kids and teenagers...not really my scene at all!

So you see, I'm not bored out of my mind here. I always have something to do and other PCVs are coming in and out of the city to keep me company if my Host Family is busy as well. In fact, that's what I'm doing right now...waiting for a volunteer who should be here in the next hour and a half. I'm trying to figure out what to do while I'm waiting since I'm at SM and that's where we decided to meet. There is a mob of people here right now because they are trying to stay dry. Take care! Agingat kayo! (You all take care!)