This Time I Wore A Helmet

All things considered, it’s been a very low-key couple of days. It was a short work week (Friday is a holiday) made shorter by the fact I needed to renew my tourist visa so I don’t create an international incident next Thursday when it actually expires [I kid]. My workday ended at 4 and one of my co-workers who is from Austria originally, took me to the immigration office. I would have gone on my own but it turns out the Bureau of Immigration is actually in a big mall in uptown and most taxi drivers know the mall but not that immigration is there (things I learn in hindsight.) So it was another adventure by motorbike. And this time I wore a helmet.

I have mad respect for people of motorcycles. They weave through traffic, and there seems to be no traffic laws here for the most part, and tend to dominate the outside of any lane and just squeeze by. I was convinced my knees were going to scrape along the concrete barrier as we crept past a semi truck. Much like the cat saying, “If I fits I sits,” the motorcycle equivalent is “If I can slide through I ride through.” I’m getting over my nerves of being on a bike and didn’t close my eyes this time and fear for my life [slight exaggeration, it is, after all, very safe]. I was even a little silly and put my arms out like wings and pretended I could fly (There’s a lyric by Death Cab For Cutie that I’ve always been fond off that mentions it so I had to try it).


Anyways, I got my stay extended and there’s now a neat little sticker with my name on it in my passport. I have stamps for June 21st in Japan, and June 22nd for the Philippines and now I have a nifty sticker from Immigration with my name of it that allows me to stay until August 23rd. Granted, it’s ten more days than I need but it’s certainly a cool accomplishment- I lived somewhere long enough this summer I had to extend my legal status to stay. I got a lovely piece of paper stating I do not exist on any ‘Hold Departure, Blacklist, Watch list, and/or Intelligence Derogatory Records.’ Cool souvenir? Do I plan on faming it when I get home and hanging it in my dorm? You betcha.


Aside from the passport renewal, nothing interesting has happened because this weekend will be three jam-packed days of adventure. My day starts at 3am tomorrow (Friday) (noon, July 16th, in Oregon). I know we’re going to the southwestern end of the island, and it’s at least a three-hour bus ride. This trip is a work/play excursion so I’m not in much of a rush for anything and as long as I make it back to my apartment at some point, I can’t say that I care what happens in between departure and return home as long as I don’t have some disaster story of “This really shouldn’t have happened to us.” No international incidents while I’m here. Saturday is up in the air and Sunday we are working at the business’s philanthropy in the afternoon. Friday marks the half way point for my trip and it’ll be down hill from there, two final weeks of work (I just finished week 4) and then two weeks of ‘vacation’ which is still family/friends/adventure and being a sometimes tourist.


Work is amazing in more ways than I could have imagined when I left Oregon almost a month ago. I’ve gone from not thinking I was qualified or interested for working at technology based companies like Google and Twitter to bookmarking summer internship forms and their announcement schedule for the next round of recruiting. I’ve also looked into Marvel Inc (I do love me a good superhero flick) and Lucas Film (STAR WARS COMES OUT IN 153 DAYS). Interestingly enough, I wasn’t just looking at West Coast United States locations and was looking at positions all across the globe, which is not necessarily where I was a month ago. It was more of just a lazy daydream of It would be really cool if and it never took off from there.

Less than a month from now I’ll be back in Oregon, probably sleeping off the jetlag. Here’s to a kickass weekend.

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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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Have Passport, Will Travel

Douglas Adams writes. “A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.” While I would agree, having proved it when I first got to my apartment and appreciating a shower to get the gross sweaty travel vibes off, the towel I brought also comes in handy with catching minor drips when I hang clothes up to dry and is particularly handy when it comes to wiping a coating of sweat off your face.

I would have to say the most important thing for a global traveler who isn’t leaving planet earth is carrying a half roll of toilet paper in your day bag. Riding around in the jeepneys, you inhale a decent amount of exhaust and city gunk so your respiratory system is always playing catch up so your nose is always slightly runny. But most importantly many of the restrooms are BYO toilet paper. After spending a couple runs at Warped Tour and a summer at Lollapalooza and Sasquatch, I learned how quickly TP ceases to be present. It’s a precaution that takes an iffy situation and turns it into the popular, “Come at me, bro.” Because like a Boy Scout, you’re prepared; it’s a small step that takes you from being fearful to fearless.

When you add a wet wipes to remove a layer of “I don’t even want to think about what I touched today” before a meal as you think of tourist spot door handles and railings you touch while hanging on in the jeepneys, you just feel better about everything. It’s very common I’ve noticed for locals to use a diluted form of rubbing alcohol as a catch all for “hand sanitizer” the wet wipes are a 2 for 1 since it is customary to pick meat off bones with your fingers and eating street foot with your hands is very common.

Throw in a couple hundred pesos and as long as you stay hydrated, you’re ready for just about anything.

After Saturday’s motorcycle adventure to Mountain View, I’ve been thinking about useful skills to have as I daydream about the next international adventure, which for all I know could be winter break, next summer, or later in my college career when I spend a term abroad for my degree.

  1. Have a better understanding of the metric system. For the most part, I understand that a kilogram is 2.2 pounds. But Celsius and distance leave me clueless. I know 0 degrees C water freezes and I know it boils at 100 C but beyond that, I am regularly question why Americans are so stubborn of not adopting the Metric system. Liberia, Burma, and Antarctica are the only places where Metric is not common, and Antarctica is heavily populated by science inclined people so Antarctica pretty much does.
  1. Be motorcycle savvy. I’m not saying I go home, become certified, buy a bike, and use it as a main form of transportation. After all, being aware of cyclists is a huge public policy and social movement, but I think at least being competent in something like a moped or similar scooter would make future travel fun. I can see having an idea of what I’m doing and not being afraid of someone asking, “Do you want to drive?” only opens the door to more adventures.
  1. Become open water dive certified. This one I can do through OSU. Open water, advanced open water, rescue, and even up to dive master. To a certain degree, I have to take a minimum number of credits to get my degree, and a certain portion is elective and whatever catches my interest. Considering that I’m less than half way through my stay here and I’m already thinking about when I could feasibly come back next (Maybe when the less than pleasant Oregon winter is in full swing), the Philippines has some of the best diving locations and reefs around the world. If I wasn’t working full time during the week and was somewhere a little closer to a dive location, odds would be good you’d have a hard time keeping me on dry land. I did the PADI training a couple years back and never finalized the training (some regrets). And unlike Luca Brasi from the Godfather, I would be swimming with the fishes by choice.I would make a bucket list of all the places I want to go, but the list would be pages long. There’s more of the world I want to see than I think I don’t.

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Week Three 5-Count

This post is a hodge podge of small incidents and events that have happened in the last couple days that made it on to my prompt list and did not make it into an initial post:

1) Miranda wants to make tea. Instruction set A calls for one liter of hot water and X number of tea bags but Miranda only has a five liter container of water and an empty four liter container. Set B of instructions calls for a gallon of cold water for sun tea and Y tea bags. How does Miranda convert American instructions to units used by the rest of the world?

To be fair, I did realize the juice I’ve been buying comes in one liter boxes so I poured the last bit of juice into something else and filled the box with water, which I poured into the smallest water container I had and marked the outside with a sharpie as a make shift measuring cup. “Good enough” for what I need it for. In the end, I did avoid the more complicated means of coming around to my end goal of a liter of liquid. Ingenuity at its finest.

I am almost done drinking my first round of tea brewing so hopefully I will get the ratios figured out tomorrow when I make more. As for this round, a previous conversation with my mom resulted in “it’s so bitter. I just summon up the courage and drink a glass as fast as I can without trying to taste it.” To which my mom says, “You know, that is a skill that will come in handy in about a year’s time.” Count down to 21? 433 days.

 2) I recently saw the Confederate Flag painted on a jeepney. While these vehicles are blank canvases for pop culture and easily recognizable icons, seeing a painting of a flag that has been a hot bed issue for the US and resulted in the flag being removed from the South Carolina Capitol, was infuriating. In one of those instances of coincidence, I found out about the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shortly after it happened as I had a friend who was blocks away and was relaying information (the college he was at was under lockdown). I read up on the incident on international news sources before any domestic outlet had uttered a peep and all I could think was “Dear God i hope everyone is safe.”

With the state of affairs, skirting an incident like this was a relief in the sense that as soon as I had found out the shooter had been taken into custody, I didn’t have to worry about the safety of my friends on the other coast. The June 17th event happened between accidental deaths of two students who went to my high school and I felt very luck to not have lost someone else. It’s just one of those instances where the details come together enough where you can sigh in relief that everyone is okay before the Internet erupts in stories and you mentally preparing yourself for what this means for your job in a few months (social justice, current affairs, race, etc).

Seeing the Confederate Flag so out of context, half way around the world made me wonder if whoever painted it was aware of its meaning, or just went with it ‘because’.

3) The heat is back for the time being and the humidity is at a tolerable level. To combat the sweat, I put a couple of bobby pins in my hair every morning to keep the smaller curls at bay and I’ve reached this balance where sometimes more pins come out of my hair than I remember putting in and vice versa. I’m also finding them in unusual places around my apartment so it’s like a treasure hunt. Go figure.

4) One of my trips to the 7 Eleven yielded a Vitamin Water like drink that was strawberry-kiwi in flavor and the closest thing I could think of was liquified Otter Pops. Nothing says summer like Otter Pops and I was always fond of Strawberry Short Kook and Sir Isaac Lime and would sometimes enjoy two at once to mix flavors. The drink was amazing. And a nice find but I don’t think I will return to the brand. It was more sugary than I like my flavored water to the point I think I was drinking liquified Otter Pops. Oh the things that symbolize summer.

5) While I will likely never look cool walking away from an explosion in slow-motion (See T-Swift’s Bad Blood music video), I did feel cool as i fought to walk against a headwind this past week in a downpour wearing my oversized rain jacket as people all around me ran for cover of hit me with their open umbrellas as they walked by. In Oregon we tease we can spot who’s an out of stater by the fact they’re carrying an umbrella in the rain, I thought about how you could spot the foreigner because I didn’t have an umbrella like everyone else. Comparatively, the rain was a ‘drizzle’ and clothes dried within in minutes. The benefit of the raincoat was more or less the perk of pockets as my dress didn’t have them and I didn’t have my shoulder bag with me to throw coins and cash in as per usual. It’s more or less shower temperature anyways so it’s always refreshing. That is, until the dust sticks to you and it becomes sludge and grime.


There’s a decent chance there’s anther 5-count post in the next short while. I feel an “Apartment appreciation post” is over due. And I waiting for crumpled bills to flatten so I can go off on how cool I think pesos are.

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Oh! Brave World

As the ever wise Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Some days are scarier than other in my undertakings, and today’s was equal parts “I hope this isn’t how I die” and equal parts “awesome.”

It’s worth mentioning that one of my best friends has a personal vendetta against people who are not appropriately equipped to ride motorcycles and scooters. So much so it always comes up in the car on our adventures and has for the better part of three and half years, rubbed off on me. He was a combat medic in the army and whenever we see someone who’s under dressed, we say, “job security” and keep a running tally.  I fully believe if you’re going to zip around on a mode of transportation that has a higher horsepower than my first car, you should wear a helmet and dress appropriately, but you do you. You and your choice are keeping people employed. And to my friend, I’m sorry, look away now. This was not the case today.

Today was a late afternoon start where we went to the coolest fort in the Philippines, Fort San Pedro. It’s a triangular fort, very small, very cool, and worth the visit. A wedding was setting up and some European sounding guy wearing cargo pants and Chaccos was filming a documentary. There’s a good chance my company ended up in photos/ video for both. The fort is one of the top things to do in the Cebu. I have now completed some of the top things to do in the city. The fort, like a lot of things here, is over 500 years old. So old, that trees are growing on and around the walls. This raises “tree fort” to a new level.

We ended up back at AA’s barbecue for more meat on sticks. Last weekend I said I would in fact go back before I went home and that was not a promise I had to keep for long. After food we decided to go to Mountain View, which to the best of my understanding was a lookout point in the hills that overlooks the city, best to see at night. So we set off by taxi for the part of town that would end up to be our launch point to take motorbikes up to the overlook. Our taxi driver claimed the road was too steep and windy for a cab, which is a lie because when we got there, we saw dozens of tour groups in passenger vans, jeepneys, and those like us who got there by motorbike.

If I had been competent in operation, I would have had my own bike. But something told me the Philippines is not the place to learn on your feet how to operate something that outweighs you and kills hundreds of people a year, mostly by user error, in crazy traffic. So my group of six divvied up with guides on bikes and we were off. I thought “How bad could the journey be?” and I quickly learned.

It’s a six mile (roughly nine and a half kilometer) twisty, windy, mountain road with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. Apparently it’s a common route for motorcycles as at one point we were part of a pack of over two dozen. It’s also worth mentioning I had never been on a motorcycle before. Everyone else in my group had.

As we were taking off, the nerves and adrenaline brought me to the realization that I was hanging on for dear life wearing Birkenstock sandals (foot wear of choice), a sundress, shades, and my shoulder bag. Hindsight says this was not the wisest decision, but locals wear flip-flops and survive. The ride up was more terrifying than the ride down. At one point I saw my reflection in the rearview and thought of James Dean. “Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.” I certainly had the smug, rock star level of cool going with my Wayfarers despite my fears. Fake it ‘til you make it. I’m sure the van of Korean tourists behind us thought I was a sight for sore eyes.

Every ounce of panic and fear was worth it though. The sunset and the view were amazing. I could see all of Cebu City where I have been living for the last three weeks and Mactan Island across the channel where I flew in; I could see trees and hills below me and the sky felt closer than it does back home. The last bit of the ride over looked the setting sun and valleys with beautiful houses and the view at the top was breath taking and the last mile and a half of that ride will likely be the view of the summer. It was one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. The photos I took don’t do anything justice.

The ride back down was easier and less nerve racking. I could actually look around me and see people living their daily lives. The businesses that had three walls that opened to the street or no walls as they were little street vendors pushing carts. I saw a chicken cross the road.

My guide spoke decent English. It was a bit more challenging to understand as he asked me questions on the way up and way down to take my mind off the fear. “Are you married?” No. “Boyfriend back home?” No. “Ah so Philippine boyfriend then? My son is about your age.” Silence as I looked out over mountains and noticed cows grazing on the side of the road as I tried to keep bugs out of my mouth while I answered his questions. They say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but I think today was one of those exceptions.


Oh brave world with such people in it.

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In Which I Get “Schooled” In English and Enjoy Snack Time

I’ve been drinking tea in place of coffee for the better part of my three weeks here (*DRAMATIC GASP* THREE WEEKS?! I know. This trip is flying by). Today I thought if I could drag my body out of bed in time and get out the door with a few minutes to spare I could get an iced coffee as a treat to celebrate it being Friday. Little did I know that three weeks is all it takes for the brew to go from “Yea I can drink this with just a little half and half” to “If drinking coffee is what makes you an adult, I don’t want to be one.” I’m being overly dramatic but that’s what it felt like.

It’s a very common occurrence for me to talk to someone at work and for someone in a conversation to switch from English to Visayan and back to English. Usually to decide what the best English word to describe something is, particularly as I get more and more curious about the world around me. I’ve been saying for weeks, “You speak better English than I do.” And no one believed me. Yesterday, to the embarrassment of my high school diploma and spending a year in college (and having a fascination with language and words to begin with) I was schooled.

The word was “Viand”. I had to look it up. I thought it wasn’t English, but it was.

vi·and ˈvīənd/ noun literary

An item of food. “An unlimited assortment of viands”

The context was “things you put on rice”. It’s worth noting that that rice is a staple. As I’ve noticed, you have rice with other things for a meal here more times than not. Needing “viand” spelled twice for me to look it up was a split reaction in my head between “I told you so” and “Spend more time looking at words in a thesaurus before you really embarrass yourself.” It turns out it is “late Middle English: from Old French viande ‘food,’ from an alteration of Latin vivenda, neuter plural gerundive of vivere ‘to live.’”

Food and to live. I don’t think there’s a more fitting word for Filipino culture I’ve heard all week. Food, after all, is the center of every day here in the best way possible. In fact, some people from work and I went to Jolliebee (McD’s rival for Filipino customers) for dinner tonight. Between the three of us, I ended up dipping French fries in mashed potatoes and gravy. And yes. It was awesome.

If I thought Oregon’s weather was indecisive I had another thing coming. Like I said on Monday, I’ve been getting these minor headaches at work. Nothing major. Just inconvenient. I am fine. If it’s the weather (we’re getting outer bands of tropical storms making way for China, bringing with it heavy winds and rain) that’s causing my headache, I would be happy. If it’s the fact I’m not drinking enough water despite my efforts, I would be relieved. To try and get my head out of the fog this afternoon I ran down the 7 Eleven near work and got a juice box and a packet of chocolate cream filled Kola Cookies. It did the trick and I felt better almost immediately.

Was a lack of whimsy in my Friday the cause of my headache? Would the problem have been avoided if I skipped to my destination? I do not know. But I do have this half-baked theory that college kids are grown up kindergarteners in a lot of ways. We love naps and snack time. Sleep a lot. Love to color. We’ve reached the cusp of our lives where we watch some of the old shows and play some of the old games on generations old platforms for the nostalgia. Pokemon is cool again. Disney? We love it. Glow in the dark stars and pinwheels for giggles? Maybe that’s just me. I turn 20 in about two months and after today’s protest against coffee and leaning towards a juice box and cookies for snack time, I think my inner child is throwing a tantrum to get out. Peter Pan is coming to my window tonight to take me to Neverland. It’s also common for us to take cat naps on the couches at work during breaks.  I think I’ll take the Friday shenanigans and claim “I’m trying to reconnect to my youth” and maybe doodle a little more on my legal pad at work while I think.

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Remember, Remember

On my way to my desk today the notice board caught my attention since it had been updated recently and a page in particular caught my eye. Next Friday had been declared a holiday for Eid’l Fitr (the end of Ramadan, where the fasting ends) within the last few days. Enter a conversation about work holidays in America between my work supervisor who sits next to me and myself and it really got me thinking.

What really stood out was what being asked what traditionally happens on the anniversary of September 11th. I was almost six years old when the towers fell. My sister had just turned four. I still remember the morning and watching the news with my parents and my kindergarten knowledge of what the impacts of what I saw ‘meant’. I remember the 10th Anniversary less than I remember the actual day. But out of our whole conversation, the most interesting part was hearing about the event from someone on the other side of the world who shared what it was like watching the event unfold half way around the world.

It’s not an event old enough to be in middle and high school history text books and I have yet to take a college class that would mention the event so most of my knowledge comes from reading in the years since. I shared the photo of then-president finding out about the Towers by the Secret Service and Ground Zero that has since opened. For the summers I spent a week or two as volunteer staff out at camp, it always lent itself to time to think when I spent time with kids who were born after 2001 who will learn about the event in textbooks and were born into post-September 11th America. I was five. I don’t remember much of the 9/11/2001, some generations have “Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated”, my generation has this date and interacting with kids who were born after the date is the closest thing to “feeling old” I’ve ever experienced. If anything, it puts your own life in a timeline of perspective- a generation that will live in a world of the side effects without having witnessed the cause.

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A “Today in Adulting” entry

On my Facebook page I have this running commentary, “Today In Adulting” where I recount little things that happen as I edge into being a full fledged adult (to be fair, sometimes I realize I made it through my first year of college and still look around for a “grown up” and then realize I’m completely unsupervised. Scary, I know. Usually the posts recount things like “I just wrote my first check ever. Tuition and all that jazz is officially paid. I FEEL LIKE A GROWN UP” [October 2014].

Today, in the next entry of “Adulting” I struck my high school education from my resume to make way for my current internship. The rule of thumb I was taught this past year is that by your sophomore year, most of high school should be off your one page first impression, and I’m still holding on to two elements until something better comes along. 1) my first real job I had working for my dad. It was over three years and it’s the foundation of everything that has come after and 2) the music project I ran my senior year of high school to provide a space for teen musicians to play for an all-ages venue in my bar-heavy hometown. This, undoubtedly, was the first ‘big’ project that got me into business and set my on my current college track.

When I got home from work today I realized that where I’m living is my first ‘real place’ post high school. I say ‘living’ because this is the longest I have inhabited any one place other than living with my parents. My first year of college holds the ‘record’ but prior to my time in the Philippines, the longest I had lived anywhere was two back-to-back weeks I spent at summer camp as part of a leadership program. I guess as you get older, summer camp and sleeping bags get traded out for internships and resume lines. I spent ten years going to camp every year and I look forward to what the next ten have in store for me).

While many of my peers are moving into first apartments off campus or moving into a house they share with 3+ people, I realized my ‘first front door and key’ is in a country I wasn’t born in and by myself. (Look at me adulting). While it’s only for six weeks total, I am living here for an internship that I love. Prior to this position, I never thought about jobs at companies like Google or Twitter, but with everything I am doing, doors are being opened faster than I can map them. Sophomore year of college I have a job that has me living in the dorms again so this international adventure is a nice “in between” place.
Every day some thoughts just hit me and I’m mesmerized by where I am geographically or in my high school career. If I weren’t here, I would likely be at home taking a full course load and finding new shows on Netflix to marathon. Instead, I am where I am dividing my time between work, homework, reading for the joy of it (I’m pages away from being done with Stardust by Neil Gaiman), adventuring around, and sleeping. As I wrote here in May, I was hoping to splurge and read “for fun” like I did before high school and college leeched the fun out of spending hours upon hours with an open book.

While it’s 11:30pm local time and I have to be up at a decent hour for work in the morning, part of the being an “adult” is setting your own bed time. But seeing how I have a chapter left in my book and I don’t have to sneak a flashlight under the cover to read any more, bedtime doesn’t happen until the grown up is finished with her fairy tale. And this one has one of the happiest endings ever.

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Taming of the Mew

I made a Philippine cat appreciation post but this one is probably the one I’ve wanted to keep the most.

I am still amazed at how different the cats are here than back home. My fury baby is probably four Filipino cats combined in weight. This will fluffy thing caught my attention 1) because it was sitting so still despite the loud street traffic and 2) this is probably the most photo friend cat I’ve ever seen.

Since I unfortunately can’t take one of these four legged fluff balls back to the states (keeping a cat in my apartment is probably a bad idea), I’ve been watching cat videos to fill the void. The link is to one of my favorites, “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats.” I think I have a problem.

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In Which the First Part Comes Second

Today was the World Cup Final between USA and Japan. I managed to get a live stream going after the fourth consecutive goal was scored by the US. Four points in the first 16 minutes. I was certainly glad I woke up when I did and didn’t sleep through it. By the time the half rolled around it was 4-1 and the US showed no signs of slowing down. It was already the highest scoring Women’s world cup final of all time. It was a legendary game just for the first 48 minutes.

It’s worth mentioning that in my little apartment there are two sliding pocket doors that I love to keep shut and locked to help keep the cool AC air in and the muggy humid air out. Even when I leave the cold half of the apartment I slide the doors mostly shut to converse the air.

Well today in all it’s glory, I left the icebox during the half to get a glass of water because you’re constantly dehydrated here, and you can even feel it in your skin. So staying hydrated is an active participation event. Well, lo and behold I slid the doors closed behind me just to go about ten feet and when I returned, the lock had settled itself in the other half of the door and I was locked out of my own bedroom. Through the glass I could see my computer playing the game and hear the commentary, saw my phone, workbag with my cash, and my keys.
While trying not to panic as I thought, well at least if someone breaks into my apartment they may have an easier time looting the place than I do getting in. So I take ye old handy kitchen knife (the same one I’ve been using to break open cans for the last two weeks because at this point it’s just fun). And try to leverage the lock so it opens. No such luck.

I then realize that the screws for the lock casing are on the smaller side and think I can use the knife as a screwdriver to unscrew the hardware around the lock. The whole time I thinking, “I’m too stubborn to go get maintenance, I’ve dealt with much worse I just have to be patient”. I more or less tried to work from the inside of the locking mechanism to try and get the door open. I was going to curse everything I knew if I missed the second half of the game. I eventually get the lock turned in the right direction to open and slide the doors a solid 12 inches apart set on not repeating what just happened as I replaced the hardware and screws and locked the door behind me, this time on the side with the actually lock key. All in all, I worried more over my math final than the door. The Doctor (Doctor Who) has his sonic screwdriver. Gandalf had Glamdring, the Foe Hammer. And what do I have? A kitchen knife that under normal circumstances labels me as “thrasher film villain”.

I finished the game, in all it’s 5-2 glory and being in such a good mood from the win and over coming my door, I left my apartment remembering to take out the trash because a funk had developing of various fruit skins and tuna cans. I also remembered my bankcard so I could get more cash but forgot tea for a caffeine hit, breakfast, and my lunch in the fridge. But the Portland’s men’s, the Portland Timbers won today. So it’s was a win-win as a soccer fan.

After episode of a morning, I had a headache for most of work and I never figured out why. I’m pinning it on the crazy sleep schedule from the last couple days: back-to-back days of sleeping in past noon and then getting up at 7am. A little relief came this afternoon when “Special Friday” happened. We had the quake close the office early on Friday so I was unfamiliar with this. Apparently it happens twice a month and it apparently involves food (I told you, reoccurring theme here). “Special Monday” turned out to be Jollibee, the local version of McD’s that beats the pants off the Golden arches. Filipino Spaghetti, with hot dogs of course, and sweet sauce, fries, and a Coke. The caffeine from the soda was a relief. I don’t drink much soda at home. It usually takes one of these instances where I feel like my head is going to split open if I don’t. It sounds like a lot of food but the portions here are perfect. Just enough salty French fries to satisfy palate and just enough sugar and caffeine from the soda you don’t feel guilty. And this was just the first half of my day. The second featured an event that justified its own post.

Made my Monday better.
Made my Monday better.


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