“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” — Anatole France, French writer and Nobel Prize winner
- I was never one of those kids who knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. I still don’t know and I’ve decided that that’s okay.
- I have lived in the Philippines (where I was born), Canada (where I grew up), Japan (where I studied for a year), and I currently live in Huancayo in the Central Andes of Peru.
- I don’t particularly enjoy traveling and I’m not much of an adventurer. I prefer to make a cozy nook for myself in a new country and live it from the inside out.
- I am constantly negotiating between my natural perfectionistic, organized, planning self and the relaxed, wandering, rose-smelling self I want to be and can more easily be in Peru.
- I’m proud to be a Bangayan. My family and extended family are very important to me.
- I have a special interest in developmental disabilities. Some of my family members have been diagnosed with autism, which piqued my interest in scientific research.
- I like anything that makes me feel cozy, including hot water bottles, cats, and small spaces.
I’m a fan of all types of music, but if I had to choose a song that I have continued to turn to in my life, it would have to be Alanis Morissette’s “That I Would Be Good.” Lyrics in English and Spanish in the video below:
How did you end up in Peru?
I participated in a 6-month international youth internship and was sent to Huancayo. Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, Coady International Institute’s Youth In Partnership program sends selected recent grads to work with development organizations around the world.
Can you speak Spanish?
I can converse well, but I’m nowhere near an academic level yet. If I don’t speak too much (and don’t have a chance to make a mistake), many people think I’m native because there’s a large Chinese population in Peru. I think that my Filipino background also helps my accent because the Filipino language was highly influenced by Spanish, the official language of the Philippines until the late 1900s.
Where did you learn Spanish?
I studied Spanish for 4 years in high school, but I’ll always remember my teacher saying, “I’m disappointed in you” after my final oral exam. We didn’t learn to speak; we learned to memorize. I never thought I’d use Spanish again, so I forgot all about it during my university years. When I arrived in Peru, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone. Instead, I surprised myself when I was able to pick the language back up again within a few weeks and it developed from there. They say it’s relatively easy to learn Spanish here in Peru because people speak clearly and enunciate.
What other languages do you speak?
I can really only speak English and Spanish. At home, I hear both Minnanese and Filipino — I can understand most of both languages and can speak basic Minnanese. I would sound ridiculous if I tried to speak Filipino.
Where else have you traveled to?
You might be interested in this map of my travels.
How long do you plan to stay in Huancayo?
Until I feel like moving elsewhere. =)
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