Today, May 24th, marks my fourth month in the Philippines, specifically in Isabela my home province. Although four months is nothing compared on how time flies in the States, it does feel so much longer here. Thankfully, we have internet to keep me sane and keeps me connected to San Francisco at any given day or night. Being 7,000 miles away is not really that bad when you’re logged on your Facebook. Looking back from the moment I have embarked on that plane to the long trip from Manila to Isabela, I can pretty much say that I’m a very fortunate fella to have a place to go home to sans rent (just do chores), to have hardworking and loving parents around that pretty much leave you alone on your business, and to have a the world on my hand and the freedom to discover new places, new things and new friends.
Just for the sake of celebrating this sentiment, here are some selected photos and some random thoughts collected from the last four months.
In the plane enroute Manila from San Francisco, I drowned my mixed emotions with PAL’s stock of Courvoisier. I dined well and the attendants very gracious and super hospitable–it didn’t even feel like a flight. Or maybe because my emotions were so f*cked up and I wasn’t really paying attention on anything else. Parting was never an easy thing especially after 20 years. Suddenly, I was off to my new life just like that. I took my sweater and stuffed it in my mouth, put a pillow on my face and held it tight. I wailed. I screamed. I felt better but never really shook off that feeling until now.
Sometimes, I miss a lot of things about my former home but, I cannot deny that my heart aches for being so far away from my good friends, my brother Paul, his wife Junko, and my little boy (nephew), Paulo.
Oh, and don’t get me started with the dining scene that doesn’t really exist here in Isabela! I miss having a social sidekick.
And I miss my job. I miss Maria, Dado et al… and the greatest kitchen/dining team in the world!
But then, as per the Bouvier ladies:
Edith B. Beale Jr.:
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too in life.
Edith Bouvier Beale:
Oh yes I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted.
I had my cake in San Francisco and now, I have a different cake–it’s a rice cake! When I miss people, places and junk, I just have to remember what’s here in Isabela and I’m always given a sense of purpose.
There are lots of happy and grateful kids and many, many new friends, we have tons of Philippine mangoes and I have happy parents.