Yep, you guessed it, I’m not in the USA anymore! Thanks to my wonderful husband’s choice of career, he and I get to spend the next five weeks in the Philippines! Woo-hoo!
And yes, this means I found qualified housesitters. More on that lovely pair in the upcoming days. 🙂
Our living accomodations here are excellent. We are living with a local family who has extra room, and are currently ensconced in a large room at the corner of their home. Tiled floors, wooden walls, bamboo shades, palm frond ceiling under a tin roof, sliding glass door – all surrounded by barbed wire and suspended over a riverbank. My husband was shocked when he saw how close we were to the river. We could toss a stone from the balcony and hit the middle of it.
The barbed wire is (obviously) to keep intruders out. This is a nicer neighborhood in an incredibly poor country, so intruders do happen. Our door has a metal rod to secure it. The courtyard below us (and next to the river) has dogs to alert the owners to any strangers. They bark a lot, and it is going to take some getting used to before I can sleep through the barking. They have a yappy Dachshund, a large French Bulldog, a growly (and very muscle-y) Pug mix, and a large mixed breed. The Dachshund looks friendly, but I wouldn’t want to meet any of the rest in a dark courtyard!
This morning’s breakfast was a mix of American and Philippine. Bacon, over-easy eggs, and raisin bread for the American side. Then spiced fish, rice, mangoes, and marang fruit for the Philippine side. I ate some of everything, it was all so good! I think the marang fruit was my favorite, and I’ll definately get more of that. Also a kind of bread with minced chicken and cheese inside it, that I did not care for but my husband did, so he ate both of ours.
Getting used to the Philippines is going to take some doing. I washed my hair this morning, and it wouldn’t dry. It got about 80% dry and just … stopped. I guess the already-humid air could not absorb any more water. I did bring my curling iron and proceeded to curl it wet, resulting in much dryer hair but less curl than usual. My hair is still very bushy, but I suppose I can get used to that.
Things we need to get used to:
The electricity – since converters don’t always work the way we expect them to, and since we shouldn’t plug in as much at one time as we’re used to.
The humidity – much higher than I expected. An 80 degree (F) day can feel like 100 degrees.
For that matter, we have to get used to the local system of measuring. Kilometers, liters, and Celcius instead of miles, gallons, and Farenheit.
Not drinking the water. Yeah, it’s one of those countries. Bottled water and canned soda without ice. Fruit juice is good if we can see it squeezed in front of us (meaning it wasn’t watered down with water we can’t drink.)
The language – There are sooo many local dialects in the Philippines. You can learn the dialect in Manilla and not be understood in Bacolod. Plus, the “official” dialect may not be the one actually spoken. So far, I can say “thank you” in a way the local people here can understand – that’s about it. I have learned that there are quite a few Spanish words in the Philippine language, and I speak Spanish. So I have a better idea of what is going on around me than I expected, even though I can’t speak back to them. And most of the people under about 40 years of age were taught English in the schools, so we are not completely incommunicado.
And of course the currency. About 40 Philippine Pisos to each American dollar. We have a strict budget that I am keeping in Pisos so we don’t accidentally overspend.
I am sure I will have many unusual things to blog about in the coming weeks. I do hope to learn some more about living cheaply, gardening, animal care, and the like while here in the hopes of bettering the things I do back in Oregon. Time will tell!