Because I am still jet-lagged, I woke up at around 4am for my 9:30 am orientation. I kept trying to go back to sleep but to no avail. At 4:30, I heard my roommate, Boom’s, alarm. She was getting up early to start her training sessions for basketball. Once she left, I still laid in my bed, staring at the wall because the internet in my room is the worst. I barely have service to text in my room. At around 6am, I decided get up and get ready for orientation. I hung out in the lobby for a bit, because that was where my internet was the best. I had made plans with Marco, my friend here at Ateneo who I met at my school last year, to meet up at my dorm so he could show me the building but he called me and said he was going to be late. But he then called me and told me he was going to be a bit late, so I decided to go out and find the building myself. I asked the lady at the front desk of the lobby if I could have a campus map but she said that I would have to go to the main office to get one. Since I didn’t know how to get to the main office, I decided to just walk around then. It was a good thing that I left early because it took me more than an hour to find the building. Ateneo’s campus was not only A LOT bigger than I thought but the buildings all the looked the same. I was circling the campus for a good hour. I would have asked someone but school only started for the exchange students, so no other students were around on campus. And I guess the other exchange students haven’t gotten up to go to the building yet.
Below: Ateneo school map that I tried to follow. And the actual building I was looking for – Faber Hall.
Finally, I just decided to call Marco for help. It turns out the sign for the building’s name was all the way at the top and not on the bottom like all the other buildings, which was why I couldn’t find it. It was 8:30am then and Marco said he would meet up with me there. When he arrived, he was giving me a a quick tour of Ateneo and then he got another call saying another exchange student was lost too so we went back to go pick them up. When we arrived to orientation, I was welcomed by a nice air-conditioned room. I sat next to 3 Brunei girls, who were very friendly and we talked for a little bit until the presentation started. The director of the OIR, Mr. Glenn de Leon introduced and made people stand up by country. When he called my name, he told me that I was the only one that he met in person. After his presentation, he went over to me to make sure everything was okay for me.
Right: Orientation schedule for Day 1.
Afterwards, we had a quick snack break downstairs, where I met 3 Singaporeans (one is named Radiance, which really fit her personality) and 1 fellow American girl (Kim, who’s half filipino and from Pennsylvania). I was glad to know that they also stay at my dorm. For lunch, I ate out with them, Marco, the Brunei girls, and some other people followed us. We ate a Persian restaurant called, Fat Persian, because the Brunei girls needed a place that was halal.
Left: Finished eating our Persian food. I forgot to take a picture of.
We were supposed to be back at around 1pm, but ended up being late because the restaurant was a far walk and the service took a little longer than expected. This day of orientation was mainly the information part so we just pretty much sat down and listened the whole day. Radiance and I along with other exchange students had to stay afterwards to talk to Ms. Bu, our OIR assistant director to talk about our schedule. While waiting, I met a lot of French exchange students, who’s names were all so similar that I would not be able to distinguish them without their name tags. Afterwards, Radiance and I met up with Marco and ate at Xocolat, a small cafe that sold everything with chocolate like chocolate milkshakes, chocolate cakes, and had some meals like chocolate chicken – which we have yet to try. I was so happy this place had free wifi so I got to text my family and friends that I was still alive.
Left: Xocolat milkshake – Mega Fudge. Chocolate milkshake with brownie bits.
Radiance wanted to go shoe shopping, because she only brought flip flops which weren’t allowed in Ateneo classrooms. We invited Kim and Sebastian, one of the other Singaporeans, to meet up with us to go to the mall. They met us near the cafe but Sebastian decided not to come with us. We decided to take the tricycle to the *LRT, their trains here, to go to Cubao, where they had a nice shopping mall. *I told my uncle and cousins that I rode the LRT later and they themselves have only ridden it once and were surprised I already rode it.* Lucky for us, there was a good deal on shoes. I found a pair of flats that were on sale for an equivalent of $12 but they were offering a buy 2 get 20% off so with Radiance and I each bought a shoe and got an additional 20% off. After shopping for a few hours, we ate dinner at the food court. My stomach was still too queasy from yesterday so I passed on dinner and just ate crackers when I got back to my dorm. Radiance actually ate Rei Rei Ken ramen for dinner, but she was okay. And Kim ate Wendy’s because she wanted something familiar. Afterwards, we said goodbye to Marco because he had to go the other way of the LRT to go home. When we arrived back at the dorm, we said goodbye and went straight to bed because we were all so tired.
Right: Tricycle ride.
Below: The flats I bought. 🙂 Since I also don’t have any close-toed shoes here because they’re all in the Balikbayan box that I shipped a month ago.