By Amina Hui
It’s been nearly a week since I first arrived Guimaras, a lot of feelings crossed my mind. Though it’s only the first week of our learning journey, we have already encountered many challenges, but with our lovely homestay family, mostly are solved.
My homestay family is lived in Cabano, Guimaras. As a girl, the first thing I worried about is – of course – accommodation and shower room. The homestay family are super friendly and nice that they are very eager to help us to take our luggage and hold our hands, then guided us to our room. I am quite impressed as it’s only the first time we met. At first, they asked if me and my roommate can share one single bed. As we both are not so slim, we did hesitate in responding them. To my surprise, they seemed to understand our concern or observed our slight hesitation, they offered to give us one more folded bed. This absolutely make my day! Under this hot weather, it is really quite challenging for me and roommate to share a single bed which is obviously too small for us. There were two wardrobes in our room on the first day. Yet, those wardrobes were all gone on the second day! Sarah (one member of the homestay family) thought that our room was too crowded for us and they managed to get rid of those wardrobes and get us a small table! Noted that they ‘rearranged’ our room when we were away from home! They always offer to show us around or bring us to visit their neighbours. And when we are back, the room setting is all done! I am deeply moved by how considerate and nice they are, even if we didn’t mention anything bad to them. All they want is us to sleep well and feel like this is our home, they want us to feel cozy and relax. And of course, the living condition and the environment of the facilities are very different from that in Hong Kong, but we managed to adapt to it day after day. I feel like it is a great chance for me to experience the life of the villagers and my grandparents’ childhood, as they mentioned they actually took bucket shower and lived in a little hut back in time!
To be frank, this is actually my first time to stay at a homestay family for nearly a month and I was quite worried that I cannot communicate with them as I cannot speak Filipino at all. Fortunately, some of them do communicate in English quite well, and we managed to use some gestures along with some common English vocabularies to communicate rather effectively! Our neighbours are some families with several lovely kids. Though most of them cannot communicate in English or only have limited proficiency in speaking English, we do play merrily together! Those kids often come to find us and actively greeting us. We sing, we dance and we play! They even taught us some Filipino games that they play in school. To my surprise, those games greatly resemble the games I used to play when I was a primary school student! Some of the girls sang a song called ‘Mr Right’ (whoa!) and I observed their slight shyness as their face went red. I can’t believe that I can learn how to find my Mr Right from these little lovely girls (haha)! Another 7 years old boy who cannot speak English at all is also super cute! He often comes to my room and want to play with us. He often imitates what I did and eager to see the stuff we brought from Hong Kong, e.g. my little fan.
Another thing is that my homestay family is really friendly and care about us. As here in San Lorenzo is even hotter than Hong Kong, they always prepare iced Coca-Cola for us during lunchtime and dinnertime. Honestly, I rarely drink softdrinks in Hong Kong, yet I find that Coca-Cola tasted super nice here and helped me to cool under this hot weather. Also, as they heard that we love to eat mangoes, they really prepared mangoes for us for a consecutive three days! I am really thankful for having that and the mangoes are really sweet! As they are so generous in giving us mangoes, we also share some mangoes with our neighbors!
The last thing I would like to mention is how we spend our free time with the homestay family. We have chatted a lot! On the second day of our arrival, Sarah and her cousins took us on a ride on motorcycle to the beach and see the beautiful windmills in San Lorenzo!
We picked a nice time to go out as it is not very hot and with some cool breeze. Riding on a motorcycle and rushing on the road is very chill! And of course, the amazing pictures we took made our day! This is certainly memorable and make me feel much better after the electricity suspension these nights. I realized that the fan is of utmost importance for us to sleep at night, as the heat is nearly unbearable. I’m looking forward to next week and knowing more about this tranquil city! Hope that the stable electricity supply will be stable!