It’s the closing of my first week here and I’ve learned a lot- at work, living on my own, and most importantly about the Philippines. The last two days have been the most notable since I arrived.
Yesterday was the work team-building event. We met at the office and went to Tambuli Beach, which is on a different island, very close to the island where I’m staying. Work and I are in Cebu, Tambuli was on Mactan Island where the airport I flew into is. The highlight of the day yesterday was the lechon, which is spit-roasted pig and hawt diggity dawg is was amazing. It was the best rendition of pork anything I have ever had. The skin is often considered the best part and to prepare you gut the pig (all the organs are saved and prepared) and drain some of the blood. I was not as bold to venture deeper into the anatomy of the lechon, as I was still getting use to the fact that lunch still had its face, something I have not been accustom to in the states.
It is also worth noting that karaoke is very popular here. You learn pretty darn past to have a canned go-to song to cue up when everyone wants you to sing. And you always sing. It’s better to sing badly than not at all. Karaoke came in two waves yesterday and the first was in Tambuli. After years of Mamma Mia (the Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep film version) I went with the first ABBA song I could find and called it good. Later in the evening we ended up at the karaoke bar in the basement of my building and we had over two dozen staff in a living-room sized room singing 80’s hits and popular American radio songs. I ended up singing more ABBA. But everyone ends up singing along to whoever’s ‘turn’ it actually is so it’s much more fun.
Today was Sunday and it was my first day without an agenda. I had left Oregon early Sunday afternoon, and landed late Monday night local time. It was three in the morning on Tuesday before I went to bed and when I woke up after four hours of sleep, I spent Tuesday going out a little ways from my building but not very far, mostly because of the utter zombified state of sleeplessness I was in. Wednesday through Friday I was at work. Saturday we had the team event. Today was my oyster I didn’t know what I would do.
I woke up late, lulled around for a while enjoying a slow breakfast and hydrating. Even though during the work day I drink about a liter and a half of water and more before and after work, I wanted to get all vitals as refreshed as possible now that I’ve been here a almost a week and hope to narrow down any future ailments to “dehydrated” or “shouldn’t have eaten that” instead of the base level of tired I’ve been feeling since I got here. About noon today I started feeling dizzy for no apparent reason and spent a decent amount of time trying just to feel better. And it seemed my day of adventure was coming to a quick halt. But I drank more water, rallied, and went to the market to get some things for my apartment- laundry and dish soap, more fruit.
As I was leaving the supermarket, the sky had opened up and water rained down in sheets. Most people stayed under the covered area to stay dry and I just charged giggling into the rain knowing that it was warm here, unlike the Oregon winters. I live less than a thousand steps from the market so I figured “How soaked could I get?” The answer is leaves a noticeable drip trail of water like I had jumped into a lake fully clothed. The building staff and doormen are likely starting to think I’m crazy since I just paraded through the lobby and to the elevator beaming. “Heavy rain outside today miss?” “Just like home but it’s warm here. And I couldn’t be happier.” Oregon has trained me well. No umbrella and all.
The rain was what put my adventure on hold and the fact it got considerably darker outside. It’s been raining heavily since and from what I have been able to notice, the world beyond slows down a little when it pours. I think the next time the sky tears open and I want to go somewhere, I’ll just throw on a raincoat over my sundress and trudge on in my Birkenstocks, but that was not today. I put my groceries away and realized that I had yet to set aside anytime since I got here to adjust to my living space. So that was how I spent my afternoon, with the windows open and the “cooling” breeze, organizing and cleaning. The rainy day and the slow afternoon to adjust and not need to be anywhere was very appreciated and I think next weekend I will go to the fort and some of the more notable churches.
Needless to say, I’m now feeling the best I’ve felt in over a week and probably since I finished my exams. I finally feel rested which is incredible. Compared to the timeframe after exams where I was just counting down the hours until I was here, I am relaxed and fairly adjusted to the day to day. After an exhausting week of just acclimating, Week 2 will be all about going out and taking advantage of everything I can. Jollibee, Magellan’s Cross, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Fuerte de San Pedro– I fully plan to take on a lot more of the sights this week. I think a rest day, timed with the weather there was no sweat, which makes a world of difference, really shifted my outlook on everything. I proved to myself I can survive and endure, all to make way for the real adventure.