Meeting, Greeting, Fleeting, Eating, Seating,
Trip Start Apr 26, 2010
11Trip End Sep 17, 2010
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On Monday evening, the entire UK team traveled up to Birmingham all raring and ready to go! Everyone arrived around 5 or 6, however I had different ideas! I decided bravely to work the bank holiday (double pay, I'm no fool!) so arrived much later, by which time the team had already gathered in the local pub, and had a severe head start! Everyone was really enthusiastic, having already been delayed a week by some pesky Icelandic volcano!
Tuesday was the first day of training, and the true start of the exchange, as our Filipino counterparts were arriving in the UK! They arrived, after 16 hours on planes, and 3 hours by bus, yet were still really excited to see us all, and the friendliest bunch you will ever meet! Apparently this Jet Lag isnt such a big deal after all! In order to greet them, we had prepared a traditional British children's party, accompanied by a terribly embarrassing welcome song! Rapid facebook-untagging is in order!
Wednesday, and we saw the Filipino's weren't so impervious to jet lag after all, with a lot of the team waking up at 3 am or earlier! They were also shocked by the length of the days, with early sunrises, and late sunsets! Apparently things are a little different out there, with darkness from 6 pm onwards all year round. Everyone got to know each other properly too, and its not UK and Philippines any more, we are 1 proper massive team, united to make poverty feel foolish!
And then there is today. Today was a pretty massive day, with lots of important things happening, and decisions being made, which will affect the rest of the 5 months! So big, this may even warrant 2 or more paragraphs! First of all, our Counterpart pairs were decided, and I have been partnered up with an awesome little Filipino guy called Karl, and I will be spending the rest of the exchange living with him, which is pretty cool, and should be a lot of fun.
Next bombshell to be dropped was our host homes. I had naively assumed that we would all be put up by nice families with spare rooms around Hounslow. Big mistake! Only three of the 9 pairings are in proper houses, and two of those are sharing! Karl and I, and 2 other pairings are renting some sort of army barracks for the first few weeks, and then hopefully by rehoused in the area properly, but the 6 of us sharing should be a 'reet laff' (as some of the scottish guys would say).
Finally we ended the day with the Philipine team giving us a little presentation on there awareness-raising and fund-raising campaign, which is embarrasingly massive, consisting of a proper website, with flash animations, video blogs, and pictures of all the team, they reckon we will all be celebrities by the time we get to the Philippines! This also rallied an impromptu photo shoot, everyone has cameras, so there are literally thousands of photos of everything, team polo-shirts, and some major tagging work for some of the guys!
I will try to write on this about once a week or so, which for me is somewhat a devout commitment! Check out the Team website though, to see what all this fuss is all about!