Current mood:cheerfulIt's Wednesday morning, a week since my last blog. I know I've been slacking but I really haven't had much time or energy to write in my diary, let alone make the effort to get to an internet cafe.
What have I been up to? Thursday we had the day off and Grace went with Lorena downtown to go and give blood. Why didn't I go? Because I'm a wimp, I don't like pain or needles and I've never given blood before - it's probably not a great idea for the first time to be in a completely different country where I would probably faint from the heat! Excuses, excuses I know... Anyway, the doctor wasn't there and Grace had to go back yesterday when they told her they couldn't accept her blood anyway because she's had a tattoo in the last year. She was a bit disappointed as she had planned to donate the blood to the orphanage as the staff said they are getting a bit low.
Then we went downtown and had lunch, then I bought a couple of tops from the department store - it's SO cheap here, I bought a T-Mac (basketball) t-shirt for 295 pesos (about 2 pound 95pence) and a Lakers vest top for 59pesos (about 59 pence).
In the evening, we had dinner at the store and hung out there for a bit. Nana Marlin's brother-in-law came and spoke to us for a little while and seemed fine at first, he was fairly good at English. His family is a homestay but they have no volunteers staying with them at the moment. Then he invited Grace and I back to his house to look at his photos from when volunteers were here. Shy-shy came with us, and brought her friend as well. But he was showing off his home like it was much better than Nana Marlin's, which was pretty insulting I thought but let it go. Then, because he studies history of different cultures, he kept lecturing Grace and I on history of Britain, such as how Oxford university was first set up by people from a different country and stuff about the royal family - and then laughing hysterically when he saw our blank faces, and then he'd shout "but you don't know that". I can be pretty tolerant and was smiling politely at first - but he must have done that about 50 times, no joke and our patience was wearing pretty thin. Grace even snapped back "Oxford's not actually in London - so YOU didn't know THAT!" and eventually made our excuses and escaped, dragging Shy-shy and her friend away as well. Lol.
On Saturday after working at the orphanage in the morning, we came back to the house where Nana Marlin and her husband John were holding a party as it was their 32nd wedding anniversary. Filipinos love karaoke and we had an 8 hour karaoke fest until we went to bed that night. Yes, I sung several songs including "Heaven" by DJ Sammy/Bryan Adams, "Build Me Up Buttercup", and "Let me love you" by Mario; even Grace reluctantly sung a few! And we weren't even drunk - although we had drunk a few glasses of tuba (which is coconut wine I think).
On Sunday we got up early and did some touristy things with some of our family and Ethel and the a couple of other volunteers Evan and Al - we went to a shrine (just a nice mansion), climbed a massively steep hill (and nearly died of dehydration) and then we went to the beach where I got a bit burned because I was in the sea for so long, teaching Twinkle and Shy-shy how to swim. Filipinos swim in their clothes but I really wanted to just wear my bikini so I would get brown but i felt so uncomfortable I had to put my top back on. At this rate, I will be coming home paler than when I left - so much for coming home black! Dammit...
So far this week, we've been going to work in the morning and chilling out in the afternoon. Yesterday we went downtown and ate lunch at Guiseppes, an Italian restaurant. I think my stomach has shrunk as I could barely eat dinner last night as I was still full from lunch! When we came back, Grace went to the house to chill out and I sat by the basketball court to watch the guys play. Then the local girls that we have made friends with, wanted me to watch them practise for the dance competition - they're really good dancers. My sponsor kid, Hazel is dancing with another girl her age Mia, and two guys, one of which is the teacher. They're dancing to a remix of a Backstreet Boys song that goes into Twista's Sunshine (with a sample of the old song "Lovely day"). The rest of the girls (about 6 of them) are doing a different dance to Beep by the Pussycat Dolls. But this morning, we heard it's been cancelled. I'm really disappointed, I was looking forward to that! So now we have a few hours free as we told the orphanage that we'd be going in this afternoon.
Bit more detail about the kids at the orphanage as I can't take pictures there: I'm definitely getting attached to them and, yes, I do have my favourites even though I know I'm not meant to. I like some of the older boys who are about 8, 9, 10 and 11. I was reffing a 3 on 3 basketball game in the playground on Saturday morning, and Eric is really good! He's 11 and can read, write and speak English well and is really bright. But yesterday I noticed he wasn't there and asked his friends where he was - I was told that he's gone home to his family. But I'm not sure whether they meant to his own family or whether he was adopted - as they can be adopted after they've been there longer than 6 months. I think. That's what I can gather from what one of the orphanage staff have told Grace.
There's Jobert, whose eyelashes are sooooo long I actually did a double take when I first saw him. They're about 3cm long, no joke! He's older, about 10 I think. Very intelligent.
There's Ronnel and Ronneil - twin boys who are about 9 or 10. I can't really pronounce the difference in their names as they're so similar so I kinda just call them both the same name! They're very smiley boys who love bball and I think it's good that they're in the orphanage together as at least they have each other.
There's Francisco and Rafael, two more older boys who are both quite light skinned and very cute. They're about 8, I think and Rafael is one of the lucky ones that is allowed to go to school in the mornings. Yes that right, going to school is a priviledge here...
There's a smaller boy called Jesu (around 3 or 4) who I have given the nickname "cheeky monkey" which he says now, whenever he sees me. I've also taught him to say "I'm funny" in a sing-song voice!
There's another set of brothers, one is about 4 or 5 and the other one is 2 or 3 and still in the baby group. The younger one's name is Michael but I haven't figured out the older one's name yet so he's another "cheeky monkey" to me.
Then there's Thomas. Probably my absolute favourite. He's soooooo cute, in a naughty kind of way. He's got a mischevious grin and does bite the other kids (and me in the first few days) but I overlook that because he's so cute! I think he's about 2 or 3 but most of the kids here are small for their age, compared to the UK. So he's probably about the size of a 12-18month old. He's not clingy but does like his cuddles and I've managed to get him to sleep a few times (a very good feeling, I can tell you!). If I was going to bring a baby back in my suitcase, it would be Thomas!
I've noticed that I tend to prefer the boys as I think they're funnier and more entertaining, and the girls are usually quite clingy and whiney. Grace on the other hand, usually prefers the girls and has one favourite who she wants to adopt!
It is so tempting to constantly pick up these kids as soon as they demand attention by holding out their arms to you, tugging on you or simply wailing their little hearts out. But I'm starting to see that that is not going to be a good thing in the long-term, as the kids will get used to all the attention and cuddles that we're giving them, and as soon as we go home, they'll suddenly be without all that attention as the staff there just do their job and don't often play with or properly interact with them. I'm starting to dread my last day at the orphanage as I will probably cry as I won't want to leave them there. Well, maybe some of them - the more naughty ones!