Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting My Tan

As soon as you stepped off that plane you instantly became a rock star. Just remember you're not actually hotter than you were in America. -Host PCV Grant
I am two days away from being away for a full month. To think about the changes that I've made to myself and my habits in the last 4 weeks I get a little dizzy. One of our main goals as volunteers is to integrate as much as possible into local culture. There are some obvious obstacles to meeting that goal like being taller than 5'4", not having black hair, not wanting to eat rice at every meal, and my skin. This week though I have started "getting my tan".
I didn't really take notice of the difference until people began to comment on it, but I am getting tanner. To my Filipino colleagues this is a sad state, because my beautiful white skin is being destroyed by the sun. Despite several "cultural moments" where I explain that tan is better in American they still say a little prayer for my complexion.
I had a cool experience yesterday when one of the ladies who ownes the store that is connected to my house said hello to me.
Her: Oh Justin? Is that you?
Me: Yeah! How are you doing?
Her: I'm good. I didn't recognize you. You look so slim and tan. Like us!
Me: Thanks!
Clearly the tanning is not enough to make me one of them, but it is a visible sign of the devotion that I have for my new position.
At home this has made me my host father's favorite toy. He loves to get me to try new foods. I've kept my mind open to any and all foods...even the ones I know that I won't like. So far I've tried:
Balut- A Filipino delacacy where an egg is allowed to be incubated for 16 days and is THEN hardboiled. The result is a hardboiled egg with crunch bits. Not horrible as long as you don't look at it.
Sisig- Chopped up and seasoned pig head.
Coconut- Not only do you drink the juice but also scrape out the meat.
Fish for Breakfast- Not my favorite
Generally the food is good. We eat a lot of pork and chicken. At every meal there is rice. Filipinos eat all the time, and could eat a meal's worth of food, but don't consider it a meal unless there's rice. Okay my hour is up. Hope all is well with you too!

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