Yes I know it’s technically Tuesday here and I wrote a post yesterday (Monday) about Sunday. But Sunday when I did the last 5-Count required a little bit of reflection so I will just pretend everything is right on schedule.
- Today, Tuesday July 21st marks one month in the Philippines! I’ve lived here for a month solo, which is pretty cool and I’ve learned a lot at work and a lot about being a human being. As such, I’m 104% done with the bugs. It’s been four weeks of being bitten everywhere I go. After Friday’s adventure I came back covered in bites and most of the welts turned out to be just bug bites. I’m guessing fleas (all the stray mutts and cats don’t help) or else aggressive biting ants, because is a type of any there that’s the same size as the Pacific Northwest black sugar ant except they’re more of a grey-brown color and are everywhere. I can’t leave any crumbs or dishes around my apartment and the trash needs to be taken out every day to fight them. And I found another bug that looks an awful lot like a cockroach today. I found another one this micro roaches on Saturday and I’m just at the end of my rope. If I don’t see a bug, I still feel them on me and it’s exhausting. To be fair, mosquito bites are as much a part of summer as roasting marshmallows is, but that’s usually only enough to count on one hand for a whole summer back home. So, grr. Bugs do not make me a happy camper.
- Last week I was on my way back from the supermarket with a bag of groceries in one hand and a jug of water in the other. An elderly gentleman held the door to the lobby open for me. I then proceed to hold the elevator for him and as we both thanked each other I caught his accent. He said he was from Ireland and when I said “West Coast United States” he asked specifically where. I said Oregon and then he thought for a second and he said, “Mount Hood, right?” and I said yes. He then asked me if I knew how Mt. Hood got its name and I did not. Before he could relay they story we stopped on my floor and I carried on with my evening. What most curious is how an Irish man in the Philippines for whatever reasons knows more about a geographical landmark in my home state than I do. I did look it up when I got to my computer. The curiosity was killing me.
- The concept of refrigerating food in the Philippines is an odd one to observe. Most dairy is in the cold case, beverages are kept cold because it’s humid and cold drinks rock, the meat however at the market is kept in an open air case uncovered and unwrapped and it’s up to you to get a meat bag* and the appropriate animal tongs or spoon to scoop up your raw chicken necks or ground beef. You do no cross contaminate animals. I have yet to bring myself to free for all scoop ground beef yet, but I have inched towards the meat case. I bought a prepackaged and pre-marinated selection of chicken drumsticks with the tights attached and brought them home to cook. I thought how hard can it be. They’ve done all the work and I just have to make sure they don’t burn. So I put a pan on the stove with medium heat and threw the meat in and oh my goodness it was the best thing ever. It certainly wasn’t my cooking ability, but the fact that Filipino chickens are itty-bitty and look like toys compared to the sad excuse of American meat bird. This chicken was so good; it was a race to see how quickly I could eat it off the bone without burning my fingers or mouth on the straight from the pan yumminess. I could eat chicken like this for the rest of my days and be happy.
- If you are every caught in the cross roads between where a business is roasting the day’s meat while their neighbors are baking the day’s bread, stop and breathe deeply as you enjoy some of the best smells in the world. I do believe heaven smells like slow roasting meat and freshly baking bread.
- I ended up at the bookstore in need of new reading material. I finished Stardust not too long ago and didn’t want to end up without a book. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particularly so it was judging books by their covers or summaries or if it was a title I had been meaning to read (I did not buy copies of Harry Potter, I have those at home). I did, however, end up buying a copy of Eat, Pray, Love after all the jokes I got from my friends about being here and I thought why not and I bought a copy of Little House In the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As I wrote here, my parents read extensively to my sister and myself when we were little and the Little House books were on the list of classics. I felt it was only appropriate that I picked up a book I had not heard read aloud to me in over decade. I devoured it and finished it in a weekend and it was a blissful happy indulgence reading a book and not doing much else. I’m almost done with Eat, Pray, Love so I will likely be hunting down more books before I return to the states. Sometimes the best things in life are in fact the simplest. Here’s the Week 5!
*I never thought I would write something where “meat bag” was the appropriate terminology. I giggled.