Sunday, March 22, 2009

23

This weekend, Connie arranged a birthday party for me at her house in Inopacan. She prepared an unbelievable epic of a meal, worthy of the Philippines, including a killer buko salad and a make-your-own halo halo buffet. Sean and Cassie came up from the depths of Southern Leyte, and Syd was there, whom I haven’t seen since we were both in Manila for different reasons in January. She brought Matt, a volunteer from batch 266 who also lives on Leyte. It was amazing to reconnect with everyone together. In classic Pinoy fashion, we ate our meal and snacks and desserts over a six hour period and went home clutching our bellies, satisfied.


Connie cooking up some bean sprouts



Me, Sean, Connie, Cassie, Connie's feast and a kind of inverted tapestry of the Last Supper



Me and some key halo halo ingredients before this gorgeous group of PCVs sang Happy Birthday to me. Who needs cake when you have halo halo?



Syd, Sean, Matt and Cassie building their ultimate halo halos



Syd digging mightily on her halo halo


On my actual birthday, it was like the universe had decided to take it easy on me. At school, which is finished for the summer at this point, I only collected tests, and the Ruby students were joking with me and making me laugh. I got an order of one of my favorite Pinoy snacks, puto cheese, which is like a cupcake except made of rice flour so I can actually eat it. It’s not always there, so when I saw the little stacked mountain of them at the bakeshop I inwardly rejoiced. I got three packages I’d been waiting for, and a series of letters from my World Wise Schools students in New Jersey, which were very pleasing to receive and read. I'm preparing a response to almost 20 common questions the students have about service and the Philippines. I’ve been introspective about service lately, and I’ve also been having to write about it in various forms, and having to do that makes me articulate my challenges and successes and helps me to navigate them. That evening after work, I ate as many puto cheeses as I wanted, had pad Thai for dinner, and waited to feel 23. I’m still waiting.

1 comment:

Tim said...

You all look so great. Not like my days in the Peace Corps. We suffered. Lived in little huts with no tables, much less tables with Coca Cola on them. We hacked our way uphill through the bush all the way to work every morning. By evening, the jungle had grown back and we had to hack our way, uphill, all the way home.