Day 17

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Has it really been nearly three weeks already?

I’ve been back in the Philippines for seventeen days. No, seriously, count them: seventeen. I still feel like I’m fresh off the plane, though I’m pretty sure everyone else would chalk it up to me putting on airs, pretending to be well-traveled when, “Seriously, girl, it was seventeen days ago. Move on. Get over it.”

I’m not sure I could, though.

It don’t feel quite at home yet, to be honest. Well, I do, but it doesn’t feel like the same home I left, even if, in many ways, it is. And maybe that’s a good thing, because didn’t I go on this adventure to make a change, in the first place? (Clicking that link directs you to the blog entry I wrote when I was planning to get up and go.)

For the most part, though, I’ve managed to settle back in, even trade out my more laissez-faire Brazilian body clock for the fast-paced Manila one–the one that thought twenty-four hours in a day was twenty-four hours too few?–hauling my miraculously still-tanned self out of bed to run errands, meet friends, and basically cram days full of activity. The past couple of weeks have been a montage of meetings, planning sessions, lunches and coffees with friends, and extracurricular obligations (even before the curricular ones have started!).

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I kicked off the beginning of my “homestuck” Tsinay status with three days of Ignite, Every Nation Philippines’ national campus conference, which happens once every two years, and always entails packing Cuneta Astrodome to the rafters with young people from all over the country. This year we were 9,700 strong: that’s 9,700 high school and college students from all over the Philippines (and, this year, some countries in Asia) shouting, jumping, cheering, dancing, and committing to a counterculture life of radical worship. Sound intense? You have no idea.

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The crowds at Ignite 2013, showing off their campus colors.

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Me with fellow UA&P Dragon, Glo Anne Guevarra.

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Me and fellow guitargirl/Dragon Paula Belo at Ignite Campus Night. Note the funky facepaint! (That totally melted off during worship.)

Of all the things I missed about being home, it was my church community I missed most, so to spend three amazing days immersed in the Spirit with them was probably the best “welcome home” this LonelyGirl could get. The lot of us Dragons got especially excited, especially us older ones like me, Esther, and Glo Anne, who had been at Ignite 2011. When we were last at Cuneta, there were probably only a handful of us scatter-shot around the dome. This year, we turned up as a respectably-sized, if still a bit small (compared to the other campuses) delegation, full of young blood: a sure indicator that the ministry is growing. Glo Anne is now working, but Esther and I have one year left on campus to help get the fire burning. Reaching people may prove more than a bit of a challenge, but one it’s one we’re all personally excited for.

(Get ready for full-on Dragon fire at Ignite 2015!)

After Ignite, I threw myself headlong back into org work, since keeping busy is the surest way to ward off “sepanx.” I’m now acting as a social media management committee member for both AIESEC in UA&P and Reverb (our music performance and production org), as well as dabbling in a few potential theater/writing projects, which when put together accounts for the aforementioned meetings, strategic planning sessions, and frantic scurrying about. Last Thursday (June 6; incidentally also known as Barricade Day to fans of The Brick and the (Les Mis) musical) was our Freshstart org fair, so I spent the better part of four hours sweating in a panda suit, trying to convince incoming freshies to join AIESEC. Discovered that talking to people, boys in particular, is much less awkward when dressed as a cute endangered Chinese mammal, though the probability of being taken seriously does go down a bit. (Someone asked to pet me in the middle of my spiel. I agreed. The things I do for the love of AIESEC.)

Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit on how busy I’ve actually been. After the Freshstart org fair, I pretty much had my days to myself, though inevitably to fill them I’d end up running an errand, taking a job (I acted as a voice over talent for the annual SAP Forum, along with a couple of my fellow Mellow 94.7 Student Jocks.) or going to an informal meeting. What free time I had after all that I spent sleeping–which I did a lot of due to a crippling case of jet lag–or trying to stay in touch with my co-interns via Facebook and Twitter.


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Also, I got a haircut.

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Also, I ate loads of yoghurt. Couldn’t help it, though. My favorite brand of Greek yoghurt, Fage, finally came to the Philippines.

In short, I’m settling in. Ish. Whether or not I completely “settle,” though, remains to be seen.

Erratum: June 5, not June 6, is Barricade Day. Celebrated by converting my FB Profile and Cover photos with Les Mis fanart. ๐Ÿ™‚

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