In Which I Refer To A Fictional Character As My Significant Other

There are many lists floating around of best places to eat in Cebu. I always take these kinds of list with a grain of salt because different travelers, depending on place of origin and travel experience, have varying degrees of “You should totally go out of your way to eat here.” It turns out a lot of the reoccurring names are within a short distance of my apartment, so half of it is just getting out. Tonight I went to Casa Verde, which is listed as ‘American’ food and features a couple of Filipino items on the menu. I was skeptical. ‘American food’ is normal. Unbeknownst to me, I have apparently really craving tortillas like a fiend as I got the chicken fajitas, and I have to admit, there were pretty top notch all things considered. Most of the tomatoes are green here and Filipino chickens just taste better. This is what happens when chickens run and aren’t stuck in cages for days on end. Was it memorable? Yes, but only because I saw a couple cats, and a rat did run across the stepping-stones into the bushes. I swear the cats are getting lazy.

Our dinner conversation was memorable too. There was a beautiful little parrot/ parakeet in a roomy cage that started singing while we enjoyed our meal. I’d gone out with HR who’s been my ‘tour guide in residence’ whenever we go adventure. I’m almost twenty and she still gets nervous to let me cross the street on my own and usually hangs on to my shoulder bag as a precaution. I’ve been adopted. It comes in handy when I get distracted and look around at buildings and people and take everything in. There have been a couple close instances to a “Game Over Frogger” where I was reeled back onto the sidewalk with only minor whiplash. Coincidentally, this is why my parents dressed me in overalls when I was little. Before the eyesore of backpack leashes for toddlers were a thing. Anyways, I kept watching the cat who was sitting on the stone railing watching the bird and I was asked, “Do you like birds”? to which I said Enough. If I’m trying to sleep and they’re making noise, I want to shoot it. To which she laughed and said, “Your future husband better watching out.” I was dying of laughter. It was a well timed line for both of us.

And speaking of romantic interests-

Romantic Inquiry Number One: Saturday we went to Tops. This was the crazy motorcycle adventure. My guide had asked if I was married. I was honest and said no. This was rookie mistake number one. By the end of the conversation I was under the impression by guide was trying to play matchmaker on behalf of his son. With my experience in the US, we tend to avoid personal awkward questions and stick to general small talk like, “What do you think of the weather?” And “What brings you here?”

Sunday I ventured to the cat café. Which I thought sounded promising. It was a twenty-minute walk from my building and I thought it would be a good chance for me trek on foot and explore. The café was underwhelming. Despite being on a bunch of “Must go” lists, the cheesecake was pretty good (and adorable) but the cats were mean. I followed the rules, didn’t disturb a sleeping cat, approached the furbies like wild cards, and one of them bit my hand. Not hard enough. I was disheartened. I miss my furbaby back home, beautiful Gwin, and I was hoping a few kitty pets would make me feel better. Instead I got to deal with a sourpuss. All in all, it was a wash, but worthwhile for the fact I trekked out on my own and because I took a taxi back, by myself, for the first time ever (look at me and all my firsts this week, I’m adulting).

Romantic Inquiry Number Two: My cabbie spoke broken English. Conversational, but it was slow going and sentences weren’t quite structured traditionally. The first question was where I was from. I felt like an outsider and an obvious standout. I would bet my cab driver didn’t get a lot of white tourists. West Coast United States. North of California. I said, guessing that California had enough landmarks that it would at least provide some idea. And no sooner had I finished ‘California’ I was asked if I was married. Second time in two days. While I was hung up on trying to guess how old I came across here, I decided to play up my answer and spin a tale. I hesitated before I answered and then said, Uh, no. Boyfriend back home. And BAM rapid fire questions, being asked the next as soon as I finished. He’s, uh, British. And we’ve gone to school together for the last six years. I was thinking of all the times I’ve been teased about my love for Harry Potter. I figured might as well. At least it’s a conversation and my driver won’t think I’m rude for not answering the questions at all and sitting here awkwardly. So I went on. He’s tall, dark hair and green eyes. There was a pause for the next question. He and I travel when we aren’t in school. Pause for the next question. He plays Quidditch and has a pet snowy owl.

And before I could explain or answer any more questions, we had arrived at my destination. I paid for the cab and went on my way. In all fairness, Harry was the first boy to break my heart. I grew up reading the series and got book seven as a midnight release on July 21, 2007. He was a childhood friend and I grew up with all the characters and actors as they told the wonderful story crafted by one of my personal heroes, JK Rowling. My freshman dorm room had Harry Potter posters and I’m sure my room in the fall will too. Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family is a holiday in my book and an excuse to veg out and work lazily in front of movies I’ve seen countless times. My mom knit me a Gryffindor scarf when I was itty-bitty so I could be Hermione for Halloween. Harry Potter taught me about the importance of friendship, about the evils oppression andcorrupt government, and that growing up is hard no matter your situation and walk of life. I wrote a post a while back about my parents reading aloud to me when I was in grade school and Harry Potter is what helped me enjoy reader in elementary school. JK Rowling inspired me to write and she’s the kind of person I want to be like as I age, because she’s an all around badass. [Link to a tweet calling out a jerk who was trying to put down Serna Williams after Wimbleton].

Do I feel bad for fibbing? A little. But I also know it would have been an even more awkward taxi ride if I said no and danced around questions. I do know only a little bit about the Philippines- Tarsiers and Manny Pacquiao and some of the more touristy spots I’ve been to already. For the most part I don’t remember the local names for food so that rules out a whole conversation, even though over half my conversations usually involve food or eating. Did I feel like a huge nerd for answering legitimate questions about a literary character? Absolutely not.

It’s certainly not the worst white lie I’ve ever told. I’m now in that awkward age where I still have to play along that Santa and the Eater Bunny are real for younger kids and if that isn’t lying, I don’t know what to believe any more.

I’m sure somewhere back home some of my fellow nerd friends are proud of me for saying I was in a relationship with HP, or at least would sake their heads, chuckle, and say, “Ya nerd.” Harry Potter is my life though. If someone is flipping channels and I hear any part of the movie I drop what I’m doing and run through the house just to power slide into the room and dive onto the couch. I deliver death glares if they change the channel. After all, Hogwarts will always be my home wherever I am in the world, at whatever stage of my life I’m at. Always. Until the very end.

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