Where's the sunscreen!?

Trip Start Jul 27, 2011
Trip End Dec 14, 2011

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Sunday, August 28, 2011

By the look of my arms and stomach you sure can't tell I had any with me today. Burned to a crisp at the pool, the finger streaks at my ankles are the only proof that I had actually tried to shield my skin. This weekend didn't include any trips to far away locations, just some down time in good ole Bliss. It was nice to enjoy a relaxing weekend at home while getting to know some of the other volunteers better. Now that the summer is passing into fall, volunteers are leaving more often than new ones are coming. Of the small number that remain, some went on their own weekend trips while Michelle, Holly, and Erin (our newest volunteer) stayed behind. Michelle and Holly are both from England and it is so interesting to hear how their cultu forgiveable re differs from ours. 

Things I have learned:
Our Jumper is their playsuit and their jumper is our sweatshirt.
I absolutely adore the phrase "we didn't get on" (as in we don't get along), and plan to incorporate it in my everyday language. 
University or "uni" only costs a mere 2,000 pounds per year, that factors out to be about $3,270 USD . Better yet, if your salary is below 22,000 pounds you don't have to pay back the loans until you reach that pay marker. Um...Grad school, anyone?
They have managed not to get sucked into the world of Jersey Shore and all its guido-ness, but Michelle uses "Baked Beans" to reference what I take to be a guidette's British equivalent. 

I've had a lot of fun hanging out with the girls, and frankly it's nice to have someone to talk to other than Elsa. haha. Not that I don't Elsa's company, but we know each other so well that I find myself repeating stories more often than should be forgivable. It's nice to expand the bubble a little bit. 

On Friday, after our placements, Elsa and I visited Olot. This is the former dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' beach property. The beach resort has been deserted for quite some time now, only a few workers remain to "maintain" grounds. I would have liked to have seen this place in its hey day, wow!  The property is so expansive, a golf course, basketball court, pool, giant house, a handful of cottages lying on a beautiful beach, and all of this silhouetted by the ocean. Now all that has deteriorated with the passing of time and lack of occupants, leaving behind only pieces of what used to be. 

Following the beach and another fine Filipino meal we were downtown bound for a show Michelle and Holly had heard about. We were all a little skeptical about what the venue would entail, but were pleasantly surprised when we it turned out to be a trendy little sushi place. Stereo Sushi's walls were decorated with painted various anime figures and it boasted some of the best live entertainment I've heard in awhile, the US included. The acts for that night consisted of a female vocalist singing popular covers remixed in her own style. She had a beautiful voice (and dreads!) The act to follow was a tribal band, with a sound that was unlike anything I have heard before. Percussion chimes and drums, mixed with a wooden flute, some acoustic guitars, and wordless vocals all blended together to create something in a category all of its own. Please watch the video uploaded to this blog, and trust that they are better than the video will give them credit for.

 The next morning, we suppressed our lazy urges and rose early to help paint the new VFV center for the dumpsite community. It is wild how much the construction has progressed within the last week even. The new center's intent is to help build up the community near the dumpsite the way the original center has in Bliss. It will be a place for the children to participate in volunteer and staff led programs, for tutoring sessions, for sponsorship feedings, and a haven for the parents as well. While we were busy painting the window grates a local volunteer cut coconuts from a tree outside for everyone to drink. I popped in my straw and sipped the sweet coconut milk, a delicious first experience indeed! 

Today, as I said was spent at the pool with the great gift of a sunburn to show for it. Lesson learned: apply your sunscreen thoroughly and frequently!!!
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