By: Si Eun Lee
It has been almost two weeks since we have arrived in Bohol. During the two weeks, I feel like a lot has been happening. The first day I arrived at Nelly’s house, I noticed that our family was smaller than the rest. There were no kids in our house, Nelly was not married and only lived with her mother. As someone who enjoys being alone, I was glad to find that I would be living in a quiet house. However that night, I found out that it will in fact be the opposite.
During dinner time, cats and chickens casually walked into our house looking for some food to steal. Then later at night, neighbor kids gathered around the front porch, staring somewhere inside the house. When I asked Nelly why random kids were at our house, she told me that they are trying to watch television through the window. Although I have moved many times in my life, from one part of Korea to another, then from one part of China to another, and to Hong Kong, I have always lived in a place where one’s house is a private and closed place, somewhere that others cannot enter without permission. Thus, when I woke up by the sound of roosters early next morning and saw the little kids in Nelly’s living room and dining table, I was honestly a little confused an uncomfortable. That feeling didn’t last long though. After a couple of days, I found myself waiting for the kids to come so that we can take funny pictures together and sit down and watch the show “voice of Philippines”. Although they can barely speak English, they would continuously speak to me in their language and I would respond to them with random English words.
Now, every morning when I wake up, I sit on the front porch to say bye to the kids as they go to school and make them teach me Visaya words at night (although I forget them the next morning and make them teach me the same words again every day).
Eboi (I’m not sure if that’s the right spelling..), the boy in the front of the picture below, is the most outgoing out of all the neighbor kids. I call him “little monkey” since he keeps on holding onto my leg or arm like I am a tree. When he says “monkey!”, it means he wants me to carry him and play with him. Emma calls him her son and once even asked me if it would be possible to take him to Hong Kong with her. I hope she was joking but she looked quite serious when she said it so I’m a little worried.
Although we are here to work, I also wanted to have a lot of fun during the weekends. I wanted to meet local people, get to know them, and look around the places around the village. But I didn’t know how to approach them or to start a conversation. I was worried that I will simply end up staying in the house all the time. On the second day morning, however, Emma and I were taking a walk and saw Vish and Tom’s house. In front of their house, local boys were hanging out and Emma and I approached them to see what they were up to – that’s basically how I got to know the lovely people. That day, we ended up eating coconut and going to the beach together. We played in the water till it was dark and I realized that with this group of people, I will have more fun during the three weeks than I had in the two years of HKU life. Almost every night, I watch them play basketball and sometimes share Tuba (coconut wine) with them in Marizza and Popeye’s shack, listening to music, singing, and chatting till late.
Although there is still ten days left, before I go to sleep at night, I think about how much I am going to miss spending time with these people. I wish that time wouldn’t pass as quickly as the last two weeks has been and hope that I will cherish every little moment left in Bohol.