October 21, 2008

Where is home?

Just in time for another of my homesickness waves, two of my favorite bloggers posted entries today on life overseas and how the notion of home becomes a difficult question to answer. Aran from Cannelle et Vanille is back in the U.S. after a trip in her hometown in the Basque country and explains how she feels torn between her roots and her new “home”. Listing several things he misses about the U.S., Paris-resident David Lebovitz wraps it up by saying that despite it all “home” is where you make your morning coffee. 

I have been living and working in Manila for 2 years now and yet, I must admit I have had troubles adjusting. Life in this colorful city is quite different from my Western experience. The stereotypes apply in most cases: traffic is horrendous, tardiness is expected (yes, the famous Filipino time) and environmental awareness is something that has yet to be developed. European breads, cheeses, hams and others are difficult to come by and mostly overpriced. My contractors in my new apartment are causing me constant headaches and I have yet to get used to my gas oven. I get bitten by evil mosquitoes and have a runny nose because of my air-conditioned office.

But just like everything in life, Manila has its good sides too. I can buy mangoes and pineapples without burning a hole in my wallet. At the restaurant, waiters attend to you without making you feel you’re bothering them. I can enjoy lying by the pool or wear open-toe shoes all year long. So instead, of ranting and complaining about flaws and comparing it to other places, I have decided come to peace with Manila and focus on the good things.

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