So I'm sitting outside by the swimming pool, wondering WHERE HAS TIME GONE?
I read back on some of my blogs today, and oh my god, some of the things I have completely forgotten about! And I even spoke about things I was shocked with in the Philippines, and now I think it's completely normal?!
I've now moved out of my host home, and leaving the family was emotional. I came home the other night with Krispy Kreme donuts and that definitely put a smile on their faces! Last night we bought them a cake, with writing on it to say thank you. We all had some wine and dinner together - it was lovely. Talking about the last 3 months together was unbelievable, it feels like ages ago but time really has flown.
We had a farewell party for all the host home families to gather together yesterday, and it was so nice to hear some of the families making a speech. I made a speech to thank my host family, and that's when I realised how much they've done. If it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't have made it through the three months, this hell of a rollercoaster.
So leaving them was horrible - am I ever going to see them again? I'm leaving them here in Cebu, and I'm returning back to the UK, where I have things which I know they would love to have. Guilt - all the way.
Today is the first day of our debrief, and we've spent all day playing games and activities to reflect back on the past three months. It's like it's being back at the nunnery, at the beginning of the three months where we met all the Filipinos and had our training. Except now, it's in a villa with a swimming pool and we know all the volunteers inside out. We can sign perfect FSL and there's no miscommunication. When you look back, that's when you see the progress you've made.
And my counterparts. I look back at when I first knew them, to now, and they've changed so much. They've gained so much confidence, they're blunt when they need to, and it's just amazing. I bought them both t-shirts to remember me by. I never thought I would have such a close bond with them, a bond where I get defensive when people say something about the that I don't like.
And then I start to think what to say when people say 'how was the Philippines?' You can never answer that question in one answer. No way. You go live in the same city in the Philippines for three months with a Filipino family, and you'd understand. But one word to describe it? A rollercoaster.