Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Something to Remember the Philippines by

It turns out I brought back more than I thought with me when I returned from the Philippines. I picked up some nice bacillary dysentery among my souvenirs. I'm still pretty weak from it, but at least I managed to eat actual food today (I've been living on popsicles and juice since Sunday).

One of the really lousy things about dysentery is that it apparently causes and worsens lactose intolerance, so right now I can't have any dairy products. I tried some before the "popsicle diet" and it made for a pretty ugly evening. I have next to no energy, so I'm really having to push myself when I'm with my students. By the end of each day, I'm so worn out that I come home, take a nap, and then have my liquid dinner while watching "Monk" (one of my favorite TV shows, and one of the few things I can enjoy right now).

Tip for people planning to travel to the Philippines: DON'T DRINK THE WATER!!!! I can't believe that I'm such an idiot to have forgotten that cardinal rule of travel. I know better than to drink the water here in Korea, yet I was stupid enough to drink it in Manila.

Aside from trying to get over dysentery, not much else is going on this week, which is a good thing. Cate decided to change my schedule, so now I start classes an hour later and get a two-hour gap instead of a three-hour gap in the afternoon. I'm delighted, since I now have the most agreeable working hours ever. I love having that extra hour in the morning. Also, one of my "behavior-problem" students is going to be on a trip with his mother for another three weeks, so my most rambunctious class is now behaving a lot better. I appreciate that now more than ever, considering my significant drop in energy.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"