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Showing posts from 2010

My Asian Adventure - Part Eleventy, Religion

The national religion here is Catholicism and oh boy, it shows. There are pregnant women and kids literally everywhere. The religious imagery at the stores is a bit overwhelming and elaborate. Of course, I live in a mainly Hispanic neighborhood back home, so it’s not complete culture shock.

Here’s something strange: every day at 6 pm, there is a moment of prayer. The first time Mike and I witnessed it we were at the grocery store and this disembodied voice came over the loud speaker which caused everyone to literally stop in their tracks. We just looked at each other not really knowing what was going on and if we should keep shopping or what. Total wtf moment. Apparently it happens in all the public areas like stores and malls daily.

The girls in the cafeteria at work listen to Christian radio every morning, so we’ve started joking that we eat breakfast with Jesus. It’s actually quite surreal but sometimes when they’re on the “thought of the day” part there’s a message there for me. Gu…

My Asian Adventure - Part Ten, Pictures

My Asian Adventure - Part Nine, Island Hopping

We chartered a boat and spent a day out on the ocean and wow...it’s breathtaking out here! It’s so beautiful I almost can’t get my head to register that it’s real. I’ve been taking lots of pics but they really don’t do the reality justice. It’s like a movie or a video game or something, heh, Philippines the video game. LOL!

Everything is crazy cheap…we got the boat rental for $50 for the whole day. Six of us went, so we split it and it became ridiculously inexpensive. We made friends with a local who lives near our house and he organized the whole thing for us. Francis is totally the man for that, and we’ll most definitely be using his services again. I’d really like to do this boat thing at least once a month while we’re here.

We got a late start because we went the morning after the Halloween party at the house, that’s also the reason for the small group. The flake factor was high that morning. I wasn’t a hundred percent myself, but there was no way I was gonna miss the adventure.

Ever…

My Asian Adventure - Part Eight, Pictures

Hey all! Sorry I'm having trouble finding my voice right now...my cat back home passed away and I've now basically missed celebrating my favorite holiday. In the interest of not saying anything if I don't have anything nice to say, I'm staying quiet. I hope to be able to change my attitude soon and get back on track.

In the meantime, for those who aren't on Facebook, here are some links to my photo albums:

Our overnight in LA:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=226579&id=588038946&l=b5f20aa0be

Us at the airport in Korea:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=226581&id=588038946&l=d1689d94e3

The neighborhood we live in:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=229634&id=588038946&l=1b65144242

General pics of the trip:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=226582&id=588038946&l=5010c126ca

My Asian Adventure - Part Seven, Food Issues

Yes, it’s true, I have been mostly starving since I’ve been here...which, with my blood sugar issues, is definitely not a good thing. Let me see if I can explain why.

I have an overdeveloped sense of smell and when things smell bad to me it throws my appetite off. The smells here are very strong and mostly fish-like, whether it’s the local food or the tide being out, it’s all fishy and therefore stomach turning to me. Thankfully the longer I’m here the more I’m getting used to it, so I’m now able to eat in spite of the smells. Also, the local fare has a lot of fish/squid/random sea creatures so it’s like having my nose assaulted at every turn.

The food being mostly Asian of all types (Filipino, Korean, Thai, etc.), it doesn’t sit heavy on you or stay with you. No matter how much rice I eat, I’m having trouble feeling full and when I do feel full I’m hungry again in a few hours. Normally I eat about every 4-5 hours, but here I need to eat every 2-3 and I almost never feel full.

I never r…

My Asian Adventure - Part Six, Random Observations

I'm finally back in my body again after finding protein bars at the health food store. Having my blood sugar crashed while adjusting to culture shock and dealing with homesick is definitely not a good thing for me. Wow, crazy Jen BAD! LOL! And now back to the blog...

They have really reliable public transportation here, called Jeepneys. Basically they’re small flatbed trucks that have been modified to have a roof and they pack people in the back like sardines. I swear one day I thought someone was gonna sit in my lap, LOL! It costs pennies to ride them and they have a regular route around the island. There are no regular stops so when you want to get on one, you flag it down and when you want to get off, you tap your change against the roof or make kissy noises so the driver knows to stop. The best part about these vehicles is that they’re all art cars and each one is different. We’ve seen Hello Kitty, Bob Marley, and Pink Floyd just to name a few. I’ll start getting pics of them s…

My Asian Adventure - Part Five, Hiccup

I’m truly sorry I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been trying to get situated with work and adjust to the extreme culture shock that is living in a completely foreign country. I feel hungry all the time because the food is so different here that I almost never feel full, which is jacking my blood sugar in a totally unhappy way. I have an overdeveloped sense of smell and omfg there are so many smells out here that are vomitous...I’m working to find a solution to this issue. I’m incredibly homesick which is making my attitude suck and rather than sharing all those feelings, I’ve been trying to keep it to myself. I’m making a valiant effort to adjust and find things to be excited about so I can share again in a positive way. Sorry I’m experiencing technical difficulties but please give me adjustment time and I’ll be back and better than ever soon. Miss you all like crazy. :-(

My Asian Adventure - Part Four, Food

The food here is very hit or miss for me. I’m sort of meh about fish in general, and there’s an awful lot of it. Go figure, we live on an island. Thankfully there’s a lot of chicken, and sometimes pork and beef available, so I’m not completely starving. The chicken is all free range, so it’s much more flavorful than anything we can get in the stores back home. The fruits and veggies are all the freshest *ever* and there are new and unusual things for us to try. So far, we like the local produce a lot. They are crazy for the mango, and there is almost a whole aisle at the store devoted to it.

The snack foods are mostly foreign and the Pringles section at the grocery store had the strangest flavor options I’ve ever seen. Seaweed, prawn, and crab are just a few. Eric says seaweed is good…I’m hesitant but I’ll probably try it eventually and will report back. They have a lot of “cracklins” out here which I can only assume are pork rinds like we have back home.

The Asian food is truly incred…

My Asian Adventure - Part Three, SM Mall

Saturday, Eric took us to the largest mall I’ve ever seen in my whole life. It was four glorious stories of bright and shiny shopping opportunities. We barely got to see any of it, it was just too much for one outing. Because it was the weekend, it was packed, so we got to get an overview of the people on our first day in country. Although they do speak English here, they have their own language (ya think? lol) and it was a sea of short people speaking in a foreign tongue. Wow, just wow, nothing like some culture shock combined with jet lag to completely overwhelm me. LOL! The good news is that I can see forever here because I’m one of the tallest people. :)

We had a list of stuff that we needed to buy, but the first order of business was getting some of our money exchanged. We asked a security guard, who took us to a kiosk where we had to wait a few minutes before the guy took us to another kiosk, where that guy exchanged our money for what Eric said was a good rate. The whole thing f…

My Asian Adventure - Part Two, My New Home

We arrived at the airport around midnight on Friday and Eric came to pick us up. It was awesome to see his smiling face and get big hugz, I know he’s been really homesick since his other peeps left. He put me in the back seat of the taxi which, as it turned out, was for my protection. You would absolutely NOT believe how people drive here! The lines on the roads are mere suggestions and they are not afraid to get within inches of other vehicles. The strangest thing is that I’ve been here for several days now, have only seen one wreck, and most of the cars are not dented or scratched up. It must be some sort of magic or something! Really, though, no one talks on the phone or texts while driving, so it’s prolly much safer than back home.

He took us back to the house and, wow, nothing could have really prepared me for the magnitude of it. It’s a three-story with the third story being a rooftop deck with the most *amazing* view of the island. The stairs to the deck are scary because they a…

My Asian Adventure - Part One, Traveling

I’ve decided to revisit my life as a blogger since I now have something interesting to write about…and also so I remember this experience to the fullest. I know I’ll never truly be able to relate how completely foreign this all is no matter how many stories and pix I post, but I’m at least gonna try. :)

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (if you’re singing along in your head, you’re welcome, lol)

Because the guys put the least experienced traveler in charge of the flight arrangements, we ended up having not the 3 hour layover in LA that I wanted, but instead a 15 hour layover. You mean there’s a difference between am and pm? Duh, lol! It actually turned out to be an amazing “mistake” because Andy hooked us up with a totally pimp room in Hollyweird for the night. The building had a French castle thing rocking which made my inner architecture geek SO happy.

Lil Bro and I missed getting dinner because the terminal at D/FW rolled up their sidewalks early, so we ha…