© 2014 Lindsay Cope

An exceptional day

(I wrote this yesterday, October 16, 2014, but couldn’t post till today)

Today was a good day.  Let me qualify “good” as a new peace corps volunteer.  Today was not a smooth day, today was not filled with activities or adventure, today was a pretty run of the mill mundane day as a volunteer.  But is was GREAT and there are four reasons why.

One.  I got an earlier start to my day than usual.  At 5 a.m. (!) I was roused by a delightful earful of giggles and love from my amazing and dear girl friends in Paris.  It was so nice to talk to Katie and Jessica!  Just hearing their voices alone improved my disposition today.  We chatted about my life and theirs and it was marvelous to enjoy the fluid conversation, in which there was no confusion of meaning!  It was a

This diagram shows the emotional fluctuations of peace corps volunteers throughout service.

This diagram shows the emotional fluctuations of peace corps volunteers throughout service.

moment so familiar and revitalized me in a way I didn’t know was possible  Lesson learned for all you readers: call me, whenever.  Even if it seems like you are inconveniencing me, there is never a bad hour of the day to make me immensely happy.  My Filipino cell phone number is on the contact page – use it!

Two.  This morning, I rode my bike to Barangay Santo Rosario in a light drizzle for FishR, a government program to register fisherfolk.  The purpose of the program is to assist the government, both national and local, to improve programming and best utilize funding for the fishing community, which is a major livelihood industry here.  Come members of the community are hesitant to register and I have heard stories about volunteers who arrive to Barangays for FishR and no one shows up.  I was early, I still don’t have a knack for Filipino time. It wasn’t long after my counterpart arrived that a stream of people flooded the Barangay Hall.  Fisherfolk and their wives filled out registration forms which asked for their Name, DOB, Address, Education and what their occupation in the fishing industry is and what gear they use if they are fishermen.  It is a very simple survey and it costs nothing to be entered in the national database.  Amid the chaos I helped many people fill out their forms, in my limited Kinaray-a/Tagalog.  By the end of the morning we had finished 165 registration forms!  Despite being completely unorganized, it was a success!  Also, my counterpart gave me the afternoon off because we had such a productive morning. 🙂 So I went home and did yoga and made grilled cheese for lunch (you don’t understand how amazing a grilled cheese was when all I ever eat is rice) 🙂

Three. My kinaray-a language lesson was from 4-5 pm.  I rode my bike to the Poblacion (town center) and met with my teacher, Mrs. De la Cruz.  Her students crowded around the door of the classroom to watch the kana (American), smiling and giggling at everything I said.  Sometimes its fun being the novelty.  Despite the adorable children, language class can be rough!  Adjusting to my teacher’s style is challenging and I am learning to be flexible (though still assertive).  That said, I am getting better and today’s class was an improvement, we are falling into a good rhythm.

Four.  Kids here are sort of afraid of me.   Even if you address them in Kinaray-a good luck getting more than a stare in return.  For example, I smiled at a little kid this morning in Santo Rosario and he burst into tears.  It was hilarious, don’t get me wrong, but he was terrified of me.  Anyway, riding my bike home from the Poblacion I encountered a group of boys who were racing up and down the dirt road.  They saw me coming and waited for me to ride up, as soon as I reached them they burst into a sprint and ran beside me and ahead of me.  I gave them high fives and cheers as they accompanied down the road, and when they were exhausted they stopped and gave me the biggest grins as I kept riding.  It was such an abrupt change from my usual encounters with kids, sometimes they are curious, usually they are scared, but today I got to play and it rocked!

As I said at the start of this post, my days are usually pretty mundane.  Work is slow, I am just getting adjusted to my community, and I don’t have a social life to speak of, so a day that accumulates enough enjoyable moments is instantly elevated to an all-star day, like today.  It was my first truly good day at site, not to say all days have been bad.  But it was a good pace, with enough achievements to warrant a sense of accomplishment.


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