Philippines/On my way home

Published: May 24th 2010
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Hello, all!

So last month, I went to the Philippines with my good friend Lauren. It was a total blast! The island we were on was gorgeous, it rained for maybe a total of 10 minutes the whole week, it was never below 75 degrees F, the ocean looked like it was made of turquoise and sapphire, and I never wanted to leave. Our island was Panglao, just off the shore of Bohol. Getting to our resort was tricky, but we managed just fine. We took a 4-hour plane ride to Mactan Island, took a (ridiculously expenisive) taxi to Cebu City on another island, took a ferry to Bohol Island from Cebu, and then another taxi from Bohol to Panglao (another island). Sheesh.

We spent most of our time lazing about on the beach, reading, sunning, eating, sunning, swimming, sleeping, eating... you get the picture. There were two days when we were legitimate tourists, though. Day one was our Bohol tour. This involved a river boat lunch tour of the Loboc river (gorgeous), the Tarsir Sanctuary visit (smallest primate in the world, only about 100 left), tour of the oldest building on the island (a VERY old Catholic church), a gift shop, and the Chocolate Hills (a series of mini-mountains that are all shockingly uniform in size/shape). It was an exhausting day, but totally worth it. Our tour guide, Arnold, was very helpful and sweet.

NOTE: If you are taken to a road-side "TARSIR VIEWING", tell your driver to keep going. Ask for the sanctuary. Otherwise, you see dying tarsirs kept in tiny cages with broken bones and the saddest little faces you've ever seen in your life.

The other touristy day was spent partly on the ocean watching dolphins be adorable. It was also partly spent on a tiny little island I can't pronounce being accosted by a dozen women with baskets full of handmade jewelry. They are extremely pushy and invasive of personal space. Lauren and I each bought a few small things and ran for the boat to go back to our beach. It was ridiculous. Very reminiscent of China.

Our friend, JT, joined us for the last few days of our stay and the three of us had an excellent time being lazy and getting sunburned. We all rode the ferry back to Cebu together and then Lauren and I went home and JT stayed to venture to a different island and have various misadventures there.

NOW to get to the present. I am looking at a countdown that says I have 11 days left in this country before I touch down in Columbus Port International Airport at 7:55pm, June 4th. I have WAY too much to do before then, so I suppose I should get cracking on that instead of writing a travel blog update. Oh well! I'm stressing about packing, getting to the post office SOME TIME before I leave to send boxes home and get a stamp for my lovely Aunt Jo, saying goodbye to this country and the amazing people I've lived with for a year... It's bittersweet because I love and miss my family and friends like crazy, but I know that leaving Korea is going to crush me. I adore this place. I'm learning the language, I can effectively communicate with natives, and I am totally self-sufficient. I'm not looking forward to coming home to no job, no place to call mine, no public transportation, and no adorable Korean students. It's going to be a rough transition for me, so I think I'm going to have to find some Korean markets and restaurants near home to keep my sanity. I know that I will be coming back in the future, but I don't yet know what for.

I've applied to several states, high schools, etc. at home, but haven't gotten a whole lot of feedback yet. I'm holding out hope that when I get home, getting a job will be easier when I can bug administrators and HR offices in person instead of through email and the like. If anyone knows of a high school that needs an English teacher, let me know.

My plan for the week following my arrival at home goes as follows:
Friday: SLEEP
Saturday: Zach's graduation
Sunday: Family cook-out at Mom's
Monday: Oxford to see Josh/ get my License application signed by the Dean of Education
Tuesday: Still in Oxford
Wednesday: back to Mommy's
After that, I have no idea. If you want to see me, let me know. My phone number will be the same as ever.

Love to all of you!!!,


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