Early Challenges (Week 2)

Thursday, 5/30/2019

First challenges:

Two challenges early on in this 10-week placement have been meeting new people my age and trying new restaurants. Other challenges, like figuring out transportation and my work with ANSA-EAP, have been easy to overcome because I’m a very independent person. But expanding my comfort zone to talk to new people and go to places which are very different than I am used to is something that requires more than just me.

So, I started with my fundamentals – places I knew I could connect with people like me. The Gold’s Gym down the street and the lounge streaming NBA playoff games in my residence building. I started small conversations with everyone I met and tried to make friends. Within two days, I knew several of the regulars at the gym and I even got wings for dinner with one of the guys from my hotel. Unfortunately, the university school year just ended in the Philippines, so many of the students I met have left the area for at least a month, but they will return in July.
goldsgym

For food, I found a Japanese-style curry restaurant in the food court of the building where my gym is located. Katsu curry is hands-down my favorite food in the world. It reminds me of my mother’s cooking and is just delicious. I also went down the street to a simple restaurant which serves good roasted and grilled chicken in an area which serves almost exclusively fried foods. These two restaurants have become my staples and even when I try new places and foods, I know that if I’m hungry late at night I can make a quick trip down the street and fill up on a decent meal.

My second weekend:

Again, I spent Saturday with my boss and we explored Manila. We started our day off taking a series of jeepneys and trains across the Metro Manila area. We visited the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene and explored the Quiapo market before going to the President’s Palace and the National Fine Art Museum. We ate lunch at Jollibee and got what my boss calls the “sweet, sweet spaghetti of the Philippines.”
presidentspalace3

presidentspalace2

presidentspalace

jollibee

blacknazarene

art

On Sunday, I explored two of Makati City’s giant malls with Camille, another one of the Freeman Fellows placed in Metro Manila this summer. We started at the Ayala Museum to learn more about the history of the Philippines before walking for miles up and down Greenbelt and Glorietta malls’ several multistory buildings filled with stalls, shops, department stores, and restaurants.
museum2

museum

greenbelt

My second work week:

This week was much more consistent than last week. I attended several meetings and spent most of my time coding in R to analyze the usage data for the new CheckMySchool App that we developed and have been promoting to school teachers, principals, and parents for the past few weeks. Though, I got a little caught up with the coding and ended up working as late as 7:00 AM in the morning on some days because that’s how coding works. When the motivation is there, I can code for hours.

Until next time!