Friday, June 4, 2010
Being connected to others
On my Philippines field school there were people from all over in our group. I met and made friends with people from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and the U.S. This made my experience abroad even richer and I am so glad that we had the people that we had in our group. I think partnerships with a variety of different people is a smart way to collaborate and build on ideas of Archaeology. Different view points are what makes us keep asking new questions that can lead us to new methods and ways of thinking.
My first ever jeepney ride was exhilarating, sitting on top holding on to the sides as we ducked for branches going down the dirt road. Island hopping all day, having a BBQ on the beach and burying friends in the sand was a highlight for me. The way we kept living from "riches to rags", as Victor would say,was a brilliant idea. The first week we were in the Philippines was like a vacation as we stayed in hotels and resorts on the beach, following that we went to camping in tents at the Elementary school in Sibaltan. The camping was fine, I've done camping before, what I had to get used to was no in-door plumbing. The toilet situation took me a little bit to adjust to as far as going number 2. There was just a rim bowl that you had to squat over to go in and I always made sure to get toilet paper before I got in there.
The showering outside and dumping buckets of cold water on your head was actually really nice after a hot sweaty day of working. We had local people cook us food and I have never had so much rice and fish in my life, good food though and it was appreciated how much they cooked for us and did our laundry. After Sibaltan we headed to El Nido where we stayed in a resort for a week, amazing view and right on the beach. This is where we did our first cave excavation and it was a nice change because there was always a cool breeze in the cave. For our last week we moved back out to our tents by Ille Cave where we spent the last week of our field school, by now we were pros at digging and had made lasting friendships. This was also the saddest week saying goodbye to people as they headed off back home, being some of the last people to leave you could tell the mood had changed.
We exchanged gifts, emails and later photos, looking back now as people post more photos I realize more and more about this extraordinary opportunity that i had and I'm so glad I took advantage of it. This was by far the best learning experience and life experience that I have ever received and probably ever will for quite some time. I would recommend anyone to a field school like this, it will change your life.