Well, my first blog entry: my first country on this trip, my first week, my experiences, and only 200 words.
There is so much to take in here, culturally, academically, personally, and spiritually. All of my preconcieved notions of how I have defined the Philippines have either been enforced, reconstructed, or completely turned on its head-mostly the latter two. It is one thing to hear and learn about a country that is totally removed from your own (on the other side of the world, no less!!) and another to submerge yourself in that country’s culture, learning through experience and interaction with it. Trying to describe Filipino culture is like trying to untangle this knot of many different strings, so knotted and tangled, yet each a different colour, completely unique. It can be very overwhelming at times, trying to grasp and internalize what is going on around you, but wondering if you ever really can. You can only grab at a few strings, hoping to hold on. There are some aspects of life that appear to be straight on and simple, and others that you just try to keep up and not get lost in the dust.
Take the street traffic, for example. There is a whole different mindset that you have to take on when driving down Filipino roads; you have to find the calm in the chaos, the pattern in the abstract art. Is it there? There is a kind of rhythm to the way that people drive and interact with other drivers. Honking and beeping takes on a whole different meaning, the rules of the road have changed. There are jeepneys, trikes, bikes, buses and cars. If you are walking, only a few vehicles will slow down for you, let alone stop. It seems to be a gutsy yet very laid back way of driving, I cannot understand it, yet alone be able to describe it adequately. It just is.
This is one small piece of thread that I have grasped, I only hope that I have a good grip.