So, I’m in the Philippines.
Actually, I am, and I’m not–we landed on Saturday evening, late, and since then we’ve been doing Initial Orientation (IO) at a resort. There are lot of us in the training batch (142, I believe), so we haven’t really been able to go anywhere, which means that I haven’t really had to deal with anything yet.
So . . . it’s really weird, and it’s actually a lot like being back in college, right down to the communal meals and long meetings. But I’m meeting a lot of cool people, and now that we’ve been here a few days, we’re starting to have great conversations.
On Friday, we’ll all disperse to our training sites in small clusters, to live separately with our host families (something which carries with it a whole set of separate anxieties), but we’ve been provided with cell phones, and texting is incredibly inexpensive and pervasive, so hopefully keeping in touch with the friends I’m making will be fairly easy.
(Sadly, texting the US is NOT cheap, but I can receive texts and calls for free. So, if any of you want my cell number, drop me an e-mail. You can call me, if you want to pay the international rates, and it won’t cost me a dime. Or peso, as the case may be. Also sadly, Twitter does NOT have a Philippine number I can send texts to. Alas–I’d love to be able to tweet.)
Officially, these few days are for long sessions introducing us to our project sectors (exciting), policy (boring), and other information about what to expect (useful). We’re also taking care of medical stuff–vaccinations (both my arms are sore!), malaria meds (which have made my stomach rather upset), and other things. I finally weighed myself for the first time since graduating college–I’ve lost 16 pounds, about half of what I gained in college.
That’s actually kind of annoying, because I realized literally the night before I left that NONE OF MY PANTS FIT. So, I basically don’t have any nice pants to wear to work once that starts, and sadly, even though I have dropped a pant size (whoo!), I still can’t find pants here in the Philippines. (I knew these hips would be a problem!) I’m going to write home and beg them to send me pants.
Otherwise, I’m just kind of waiting. Before long, my training will start in earnest–I’ll keep you posted!