Friday, November 28, 2008

God Of This City

It's Friday morning here in Dallas and I'm sitting here in my patio drinking coffee tying to get over jet lag. It's dark and it's cold and my heart feels very heavy. During the 12 hour flight from Korea to Dallas all I could hear in my head was Jordan singing the songs he's learned from Sunday School. The first week I was in Cebu I had him watch and listen to Arnel Pineda on YouTube singing Faithfully. Jordan immediately told me "I don't like it" even before Arnel finished the first line. How dare you not like My Arnel? but I didn't say it out loud to him. "What do you like?" trying to be more indulgent to his childlike honesty. "Hosanna" he said. I like Hosanna too but not all day long with Jordan singing it.

Then last Sunday at church during the worship service led by Jordan's adult friends Jerry, Joshua and Gil, I heard this song for the first time and I told Jordan I really like it, so Jordan started singing this again all throughout the week until I left Wednesday night. Well, not really singing because Jordan doesn't really know the words but he makes up his own words anyway.

Later that afternoon I came back because my friend Tom asked me to teach the kids because their teacher was unable to come. I keep saying I don't do kids, but it went well with us discussing Genesis 39 about Joseph, one of my favorite Old Testament stories.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Think or Not To Think

I woke up this morning startled because I just realized that my flight is tonite and not tomorrow night. This was how I missed my flight in Singapore 2 years ago. Leaving at 1:30 a.m on the 27th means I have to be at the airport at midnite tonight November 26th. Chat said I need therapy more than I need to travel if I had a hard time figuring this out.

What can I say? Well, I actually have two brains but one is lost and the other one is looking for it. Chat doesn't think it's funny that I had to call her to tell her that I have to leave tonite not tomorrow night. "Everyone knows that mom. Even the Korean pilot who hardly speaks English." Well, am glad she reminded me that I am flying Korean Air.

So I scrambled to get things done this morning, like : One more massage, one more pedicure, get my hair washed and massaged again even though I just had it done yesterday. And then eat more real food.

So let me post this now so I can concentrate on what I want to eat. This I will never have a hard time figuring out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

To Leave or Not To Leave

I have 5 days left here in Cebu and I have mixed emotions: part of me wants to stay longer, another part of me wants to just get out quick. I like to tell friends that I have an addiction to aviation fuel reason why I like to travel a lot, but the diesel fumes and the chaotic mode of transportation here in Cebu is about to do me in.

I want to stay longer so I can eat all these real foods, but I am also weary of counting in the thousands all the time like it's play money. The other day, instead of taking a taxi, I took the *trisikad just so I can justify dumping all my coins to the driver without just giving it to him. Also, because I always believe in wealth distribution. But definitely not like Obama's or my relative's idea of wealth distribution.
I learned this from Chat, when she vacations in Mexico or other 3rd world countries, she always make sure to tip everybody that provides services to her to make a few natives live better even for just a day while she's there.

Also, I better leave soon or Jordan would beat me in the grammar and spelling contest. What with all my friends and families texting me like this : Gud pm, eat na ka? C U tomoro.
Then this guy that I had a big crush on heard that I was in town and he texted me : Wer r u I wil col u. Did I say I was in love with this guy? Thank God, that was when I was ten. But I was nice and didn't ignore him - I texted back. No, I col u. Dnt col me.

*Trisikad - pedaled not motorized tricycle

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To Eat or Not to Eat

I am here in Cebu, Philippines and normally, I get over my jet lag in 2 days. I have been here a week and I am still struggling with the pesky hunger in the middle of the night like I need my breakfast already. Since I can't go back to sleep, I get up with the intention of exercising but my postage-stamp- size apartment prevents me from doing that so I pace instead. And eat. Like I do in Dallas. Except that here, I eat real food. I don't put any restrictions on my eating, especially here. I only have one rule to follow here: if it's still it is food, if it moves, it's a cockroach.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my friends Armand and Pastor Leo. Filipinos (in the Philippines) thinks that gaining weight is a blessing from God. If you're a stick of bones and dying from cancer yes, of course. First thing Armand said to me when he saw me, with his eyes gleaming and a big smile: "Ooh, you gained some weight." Even when he said it in that sensual Ilonggo twang, I felt the spear jab my rib. I said, "Yeah, I prefer food over men." He meant it as a compliment but my brain still thinks called me fat now I need a psychiatrist.

We finished lunch and moved on to Bo's Coffee and I was going to order a chocolate cake with my coffee, but Pastor Leo guided me towards the low fat carrot cake. He was not only concerned about the welfare of my soul. We had fun but as soon as I got home, I got on my scale and it said, "One at a time please." Oh well, I still prefer food over men.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hello and Goodbye

I am here in Manila now but will be flying back to Cebu in 4 hours. I came here mainly to meet two friends that I have known through emails but we bonded like we had known each other all along. We connected because the last 4 months we had all chosen the same opiate for the moment; our drug of choice - Arnel Pineda.

My trip back to the Philippines would not have been complete if I did not get to meet them.
Over lunch we reminisced about the last 4 months - the intoxicating high that was brought on by the Arnel Pineda phenomenon.
We wondered how the "bug" came upon us and rendered us helpless - helpless to stop ourselves from acting like we had lost our minds with our brains replaced with jello. But we didn't try hard to justify or apologize for the momentary insanity. Like I said, never regret anything that made you smile. And we not only smiled, we also giggled like Jello.

Are we still crazy? Of course we are, though not with My Arnel anymore. I am not sure how to conclude this but all I can say is that I am really glad I came, and I felt sad when I had to leave, after all we only had 3 hours of bonding. I better get going before I miss my plane.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello from Incheon Airport

I'm here at Korea's Incheon airport after a 15 hour flight from Dallas. I have to wait for 6 hours before I connect to Cebu, so I had a massage --70usd but very much needed. And I am now using the free internet which is all over the airport.

There are 4 floors and the 4th floor is where you can get a transient room for 60 dollars for 6 hours, there's a shower for 8 dollars and really comfortable sleeping lounge chairs.

Right now, I haven't slept so I can't think. It's now 330a.m Dallas time and I am very groggy.

So I better quit before I start sounding like I'm hallucinating.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ties that Binds

My friends have accused me of not being a typical Filipino because of 3 things :

1. I don't travel with boxes splitting at the seams containing cans of spam and a bicycle.
2. I don't want my tribe and the neighboring tribe congesting the airport to meet me when I arrive.
3. I don't want my tribe and the neighboring tribe congesting the airport to send me off when I leave.
Why? because I don't like it. When I say I travel light, I mean it to include people too.

In my childhood I used to hear my mom complain when our relatives from the mountains would come to our house and they came in droves. "*Nidulhog na, nagpanon pa gyud," she would say and then proceed to get busy taking care of them nervously. And because of lack of space, I was always relegated to sleep on top of the pig pen. Now, I always equate the sight of lots of people around me as a sign or a cause to get busy and go crazy. (I know, I need therapy for this.) Just as I like to do things alone here in the US, I do the same thing in Cebu. I don't like the idea of lugging my family around, or anybody for that matter - until I saw Arnel Pineda at Malacanang.

I thought it was so cool. Watching Arnel with his family in-tow was so cool I started planning to lugg my family to the mall next time I come to Cebu. But scratch that idea because I can't afford to hire a bus. I know, you're saying that I am always biased when it comes to Arnel, that he could not do wrong in my sight. Of course he can and he did do wrong. Why did he strain his vocals for Gloria? and for Sonny Belmonte? Arnel Pineda is a rock star, you don't call him - he calls you. Excuse me, I forgot. That is My Arnel. No arrogance; just a simple lead singer of Journey and humble father to Cherub.

So let me proceed to my next complain. Why was Gloria so prim and proper sitting next to Arnel? Why didn't she jump up and down screaming -Knellskyyyyyyy!!! The plokkers do that and they're half way across the world from him. The least she could have done was lean over his ear, giggle and say IDOOL!!! But I understand, it would be un-presidential for her to say I drool.
There goes my manners again.

*Here comes the herd descending on us.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

11 Ways to Avoid Jury Duty

The people have spoken and come January we will have a black and white president to sit in the White House. Voting is a priviledge and trial by jury is a gift and I appreciate both. But serving on the jury is not my idea of a day off from work.

1. Ask the judge, “Cool if I take pictures for my blog?’

2. Bring fried lumpia (egg rolls) to sell at breaktime . If the bailiff stops you, start screaming –“You’re anti- Asian”

3. Address all the other juror loudly: "Who among us here will not kill for a date with Ross Valory?" if they roll their eyes start crying and keep blowing your nose on your sleeve.

4. When everyone is quiet, giggle and ask the bailiff : So, what do you think of Arnel Pineda? If he shush you and gives you that look like he doesn't know Arnel, start screaming - "You're a Steve Perry die hard and you're anti-Asian"

5. Breast feed your 7-year old. (Like my friend in Cebu)

6. Breast feed someone’s 7 year old. (Like my friend in Cebu. I know, I wonder too why I keep friends like this)

7. Act like a woman with PMS who cries a lot and keep crying until everyone is sad.

8. Keep winking at the lawyers and ask, “Can we hang him quick, boss?”

9. Always end your answer with : " But back in the Philippines if you have money….”

10. Insist on speaking in *Taglish like : ‘Lam mo kasi judge, I am a good citizen, kaya Im’here,
pero against my will talaga.

11. If none of the above works try this: show up wearing a t-shirt that says " I Want to Break Free " with Freddy Mercury's picture dressed like this .

*sentence interspersed with English and Tagalog