Living, learning, and expressing...

What good are ideas, thoughts, analyzations, opinions, emotions, lessons, and experiences if locked in one's head. They're as useless as a roll of film that will never be developed or photographs that are trapped inside a hard drive never to be exposed to the world. A stranger once told me, "We are not human beings here for a spiritual experience, we are spritual beings here for the human experience." Why not share and express what we're learning, living, feeling, and seeing?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In the motherland...but not quite...

I am in the Philippines right now, but it doesn't feel like it. The program that I am staying with is informative and it's nice to be part of a group that is structured, but at times I feel as if I'm just a tourist. And I hate that feeling. I want to immerse myself with the people, "my" people. Staying in a five-star hotel that has a television right above a bathtub, bathrobes, and slippers and being driven around in a bus, is all too comfortable for me. Today as I was looking out from the bus window, I watched people as they biked, walked, worked, laughed, slept, and waved. Even if I am in the Philippines, the glass windows disconnected me from everyone.

One of the first things I did when I got to the hotel, was look at the view from the pool deck down to the streets below us. I see the traffic, the tin roofs, the pollution, and the crowded shacks piled on top of eachother and compacted next to eachother. I look behind me and I see the clear blue pool, jacuzzi, bar, and "soothing" music playing in the background and I thought to myself, "Where am I?"

I know the program is only looking out for our safety, and i deeply appreciate it. But there's something within me that is yearning for something more. Don't get me wrong, I am learning a lot from the tours and the lectures. Yesterday we went to Intramuros, Fort Santiago, Rizal Park, and Casa Manilla. I saw what was left of the prisons where Filipinos were held, tortured, and executed by the Spanish. I learned more about the country's hero- Rizal, his intelligence, and the revolution he started. I heard about the Spanish era, the colinization of the Filipinos, and the major influences they had on the Filipino culture. And today we went to the Malacanan Palace. It's almost like America's White House, but is associated with the Marcoses era, so it has become a museum. The history of politics in the Philippines is a twisted one. A very interesting one though. And everything I'm learning, I'm just loving.

So even if I feel like I'm a tourist, I still feel as if I'm re-learning my roots. The more I learn, the more I learn about myself, my family, the importance of these lessons, and what I plan to take from all of it. Besides, I got two weeks after this program to really immerse myself...


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