Whelp..I made it! I survived my first three weeks out of the country (besides Canada). The biggest thing I am struggling with right now is getting back on the proper sleep schedule. My jet lag is quite bad and it is only day one…I am up early in the morning and falling asleep during the day, only to be up again once evening comes for the night. I try to fight and stay awake, but when my bed is easily accessible and I only think I am going to close my eyes for 30 minutes, it ends up being four hours later…OOPS!
The trip came to a close as I boarded a flight at 3pm on Wednesday, June 12th from Manila, stopped in Vancouver, and landed in Toronto around 9pm that same night. Then I had an hour and a half bus ride to cross the boarder back into Buffalo. The trip was about 18-20 hours.
I was home safe and sound around 1 am and chatted with my parents about my trip past 2:30 to tell them everything about the trip that I could remember off the top of my head. Just before 3 I could tell they were getting sleepy and I wanted to unpack so I headed upstairs and let them head to bed. All I could think when walking into my room and plopping myself on my bed was WOW this bed is soo nice and comfortable, and that my room would probably fit a whole family that I saw from one of the villages I had visited. I was up by 5 to shower and get ready for the day (full make-up, jewelry, and hair once again) and was at the office where I work by 8:30. I knew I would not make it a full day so I took a half day at the Dean’s Suite and was able to see my brother’s eighth grade enrichment program at his middle school with the rest of the family. By the time I got home I had to crash–after devouring some lunch from the fully stocked kitchen (oh how I missed home food–even my beloved Wegmans). Unlike most, I jumped right back into my busy schedule today and I do not know if it has hurt me or helped me yet. I thought jumping right back in would give my body no time to think, but rather force it to adjust. Well, only time will tell.
I am still digesting my trip and will keep you all posted about my reflection on the events I have experienced these past three weeks. The students and I talked about an ache after having an experience like this. The ache is that you somehow feel helpless when seeing others in their situation and feel like you come up short. I am overwhelmed with wanting to help, but do not even know where to start because the issue of poverty is absolutely HUGE. As I take these next few weeks to digest all I have done, I will keep you updated on what I discover as the first step towards helping the world become a better, more just place. I could come back home and pretend like the trip did not happen, because in a way my life still goes on and at home I have all I could ever need. But after being half way across the world and getting to know the compassionate people of the Philippines..I want to help, I want to make a difference. I stated in my last post that it would begin with awareness of the street children, and I think that is where I may officially start. Media has such a huge influence in society; it can be biased and give its viewers what it wants them to see or hear, leaving out core information, but media can also be used to shed light on topics less talked about.
Overall, today I would say my emotional state was thankful. Thankful that I am so fortunate to have the family that I have and be living in the community I do. Thankful for the amazing country I live in and the rights I am granted. Most of all thankful that I have had this opportunity to see the reality of the world and grow a desire to help make a difference. I can tell my mind is going to be going in a million directions these next few days as I get back into the real world.
I am going to leave you with some eye candy of my favorite meals I have had on this trip and also some pictures of the most beautiful views I experienced–Enjoy!