My Residence, Tacos, and Pete Cocco

I realize that I’ve never shared my living arrangements here at IRRI! I live in a comfortable room with one roommate and we share a bathroom and closet. We get our laundry washed and sheets cleaned once a week. I’m also very thankful for the air conditioner and wifi 🙂 Here’s a picture of one side of the room: IMG_3540.jpg

After walking down two flights of stairs, I come out of the front doors of Swaminathan Hall (my dorm) and head to the cafeteria for breakfast. Outside of the dorm is a basketball court and a football (soccer) field:IMG_3434.jpg

Almost each hour, a coaster (bus/shuttle) departs for the U.P. Gate which is the end of Lopez Avenue. U.P. is the University of the Philippines which is one of the best colleges in the country and is also a partner of IRRI. This street is similar to Veterans Parkway in Bloomington where there is a huge line of restaurants and shops:IMG_3471.jpg

Because the street is so long, it is common to ride jeepneys from one end to the other and any stop along the way for only 8 pesos (16 cents). Here’s a neat view from the back:IMG_3499.jpg

On U.P.’s campus, there are a lot of palm trees lining the sidewalks which reminds me of California:

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In other news, I have an update regarding my food hunt. For weeks, I have been craving Mexican food and have been searching for any kind of taco/burrito/quesadilla/etc. Well, it took me six and a half weeks, but I finally found some!! It’s at an outdoor restaurant called Fat Yards. The burritos and nachos were amazing and hit the spot:IMG_4483.jpg

Filipe from Brazil had never had Mountain Dew before so we opened his eyes to possibly the most sugary and caffeinated soda that exists. He really liked it:IMG_4441.JPG

Switching gears, I wanted to share a really interesting story. Back in Illinois, Megan and I both attend a campus ministry at ISU. We had heard that the lead pastor of the organization had spent some time doing mission work in the Philippines and so we asked him if he had any tips for us as we prepared to go. His name is Pete Cocco and when we said we were going to live in Laguna for two months, he became so excited. He told us that he was leading a group of college students to the Philippines for a two week trip this summer. I could not believe it! What a small world! We coordinated a meet up in Los Banos, and a local church sponsored the group from ISU to visit and hold a worship night just last week. It was so neat to see familiar faces from Illinois brought together halfway around the world through different situations:

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I am still in the middle of my research at IRRI as well as filling out secondaries for medical school back in the U.S. Time is flying by as I only have 10 days left here. However, I can see the end coming and feel a little uneasy. I know that it will be very hard to say goodbye to all of the friendships that I have made here with people from all over the world. Hopefully on day, I will be able to meet up again with my colleagues and friends because like I said, it is a small world after all.

 

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