I think I’ve reached an important mark in my service as a volunteer here.
The first few months in country were stressful, not only because of the rigorous training schedule but everything was new and overwhelming. New language, new food, new customs, new friends, new host family, new experiences. Then as I began to adjust I was sworn into volunteer service and started a new chapter here in Baguio. The first few months here were also stressful but in a different way. I was trying to find my place at work, meeting new people constantly, trying to remember countless of names of students, parents, and neighbors. Eventually I became used to the daily routines of my worksite even if it was still a struggle to pursue projects I hoped to accomplish.
The change has been so subtle, but this month I suddenly realized that I finally feel a part of the life and the people here. I feel at home. Things like bugs and bucket showers, brownouts, hand-washing my own clothes, they don’t bother me anymore. It’s just part of life. I finally feel like I have developed good relationships with my co-workers, my host family, my neighbors, and other friends within Baguio. I look forward to events or chances where I can meet new Filipino friends.
At my work, we are gearing up for the new school year and I have some upcoming projects I’m excited to work on. And life outside work is just as fulfilling. These days, usually every evening, I hang outside my house with some of my neighbors and we jam on guitar and sing. Or sometimes we just goof off and chill. My neighbors have become my new family.
For a long time my upcoming trip back to the States could not come soon enough. I needed to be back in familiarity, to be where I felt comfortable and knew what to expect. But then suddenly I found that I am in familiarity right where I am now (most days lol). And although I am immensely excited to see my friends and family members in just a few months, I already know I’ll miss my friends here when I’m gone.
As for now, I finally feel like I belong. And that is a good place to be.
a girl who dreams