Jian and Jaylord are twin 6 year old boys. The moment Nicola and I heard about them (as we were driving to what was to be our home for the next week) we made eye contact, expressing to one another the excitement we felt. The one thing we both wanted in our homestay was kids to play with. When we arrived at our home, we tried to interact with the kids and in return we received a pair of identical, blank faces.
It is not uncommon for kids to be wary of strangers, but this particular situation presented a few more barriers. First, we were told that we were the first white people they had seen, so in an obviously unracist way we were funny looking to them. There was also the fact that we only spoke English while they mainly spoke Tagalog and Ilocano. Finally, they were quite shy. The process of breaking these barriers was slow, but it worked. On day two, Nicola made them laugh with her dancing while on day three I coloured with them, communicating through pictures. We quickly found out that it was the little things we did that were most effective in engaging these little boys. By the end of the week they were dancing and playing with us, hardly giving us a moment’s rest.
Adventuring through Asia has brought me face to face with a lot of barriers. This has been only one yet it has taught me a lot about the importance of not giving up as well as in taking small steps. Sometimes the barriers (whether its the food, the people, the situation, etc.) are difficult, sometimes they’re frustrating, sometimes they’re fun, sometimes they’re funny; what my experience here has taught me is that it is worth getting past them. My heart soared when in the moments before our bus left for the airport, Jian gave me a hug and said “I love you Ate Laura”.