Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Monday, February 19, 2007

Has It Really Been That Long?

OK, I apologize to those who tried to look at my holiday pics. The link is fix now and just click on the photo album called The Holidays 2006.

Time sure does go by fast, doesn't it? I know, a little cliche, but I can't help feeling it's true! I can't believe it's been a month and a half since I last wrote. I guess the biggest thing that has happened was my parents' visit!!!

We did it all while they were here! Beaches, mountains, caves, a lake, cities, country towns, etc. It was amazing to have them visit! I couldn't believe that mom and dad were here almost the whole time, very surreal.

We started out with a few days in Manila...not the nicest of places in the Philippines, but we made the best of it. The first night we had dinner at a restaraunt called Zamboang. Every evening there is a cultural dance show and volunteers are called up. No, mom didn't get up on stage, but a very drunk Japanese guy did. He hula'd right out of his pants! Thank god he believes in underwear!

There is an island in the middle of Manila Bay that all boats pass by when entering Manila. Corrigedor Island was the main military tactical position in the Philippines. The island offers tours daily and we took the opportunity to learn a little bit about the American/Filipino history.

Cebu was the next destination and we soaked up the sun (well, dad just got sweat soaked! Not used to the heat yet!) while taking a Cebu City tour and layed out on the beach a couple of days. There is a lot of history in Cebu...maily Chief Lapu-Lapu being intolerant of Magellan and chopping his head off! Magellan's Cross, several old Spanish churches, a floating book store on a ship as old as the Titanic would be, and lots of resorts. Our favorite was the Shangri-La Mactan Island really was a little slice of heaven.

After the sun and beaches, we headed up into the mountains. We spent one night in Banaue. My host mom was able to stop by the hotel for a quick visit. She was only able to stay for about 15 minutes, but I'm glad my parents got to meet my mom away from home. Mom and I really liked the shopping, some gorgeous carvings and wood sculptures. I was hoping that we would wake up to a spectacular view of the Rice Terraces, but the weather had a different idea. Luckily it cleared up and mom and dad got to see the 8th wonder of the world.

We then headed up to Sagada. I got my parents to hike to Lumiang Cave, the burial cave that I've visited once before. The cave holds the coffins of several of the deceased members of the community...some several decades old. I kind of forgot to mention that it was kind of a steep hike and there were quite a few steps. Mom and dad got through it like the champs I knew they were.

Our last stop during their visit was my site, La Trinidad and Baguio City. We enjoyed a dinner with my Regional Manager of Peace Corps and one of my friends. The next day we visited my center where the cook made a special snack of Pancit (fried noodles with veggies) and Fruit Salad. The took a tour of the center and got to hold some of the babies. Then we visited my host family's house. Just one of my host sisters with her new baby and my host brother were home due to a family event that my host dad had to attend. I was so excited that they were able to see where I have worked and lived the past 2 years. I think it was one of their favorite stops during the trip too.

I hope to get photos of the trip up soon, but i may be a month or so since I'm waiting on a disk from the states with all the pics. The mail is just a tad bit slower here!

Now I'm getting ready for my COS (Close of Service) Conference. This marks the last 3 months of service. I'm currently trying to figure what the heck I'm going to do after my service is finished. My plans are to go back to school for a Masters in Art Therapy. There are two programs that I'm interested in, one in New Haven, Connecticut and the other in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Before I can apply, I'm short several Psychology credits so I'm going to stay in Worthington for a year and take those courses. I'm so excited to see everyone in 3 months!!! As I said before, time goes so fast. I still can't believe I'm almost finished with this wild, up, down, and loopy rollercoaster ride that is Peace Corps.