Things I have learned…

1.) Americans are germ obsessive. At one point I was running out of reserve water and realized that I was trying to rinse off the bottom of a pot I had used. And I stopped myself to ask why on earth I would be so concerned with the cleanliness of something I will never come in contact with. And then I washed my hands.

2.) You actually can wear socks with flip-flops, but only if the mosquitoes are really that bad (at least as far as I’m concerned).

3.) We could solve the water crisis by using shower heads with triggers that only work when you squeeze them. AND if there were no hot water tanks (not realistic, but noteworthy).

4.) Naps can be taken pretty much anywhere. If you are tired at work, take a nap. I’ve seen countless people napping from noon to 2pm, just at their work station or in transit or wherever ( it’s really not a bad idea).

5.) No matter how much bugspray you administer, you will have new bites by the time you go to bed.

6.) Buses with TVs = nausea. period. trust me.

7.) Vegetarian in the PI means you might still get the crispy, slightly hairy, fried chicken skin garnishing your beautiful papaya and mango salad. Or that really you just like vegetables with your meat. Or that you are American and weird.

8.) There’s a strange comfortability that comes with people who look like you (i.e. dark hair, dark eyes), but the moment you open your mouth a subtle difference occurs: first of all you’re not Filipino, and secondly your not a guy. “Mam, sir” is actually one word, and you will hear it when vendors are trying to sell to me; I think I might prefer it!

9.) Speaking of which,  I know I haven’t talked much about it, but the queer scene is quite conundrum. You will see queer folk everywhere, but the Church controls all things political and so the scene is very scattered. There are no rights, and while there are a few gay-boy bars that are very popular, there is practically no lesbian or female identified scene (and trans is mostly acceptable if it is Male to Female, but it’s called something different if it’s Female to Male- it’s like having a “male’ persona or something). But I got desperate and lucky by contacting a lesbian organization and was able to get in touch with some *awesome* queers! You can check on my facebook for some pics!

10.) Not to get too mushy, but– home is where the heart is. I love it here in the PI, and I’m not sure if I miss the States yet, but I do miss my family and friends. It just proves that in the end, certain things just fade away and what matters most makes itself known. And I know.

Hanggang sa muli, (Thanks teacher Joanne for correcting my mistake of separating the words in the phrase!)


oh and 11.) Always travel with a mosquito net- even if you think you aren’t going to need it. You will.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sarah Price on July 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Yes! Love keeping up with you here. You know quite a lot Sweet Mam Sir V!


  2. Dear Mam Sir,

    This post is really the outline for your first book: Things I Learned About American When Outside of America. We’re looking for a first draft by August 10.


  3. Posted by peter on July 23, 2010 at 12:38 am

    After I graduated from high school (many, many years ago!), some friends and I went to the beach. There were about six of us in one room. The first morning, the maid walked in on us while everyone was still asleep – people sleeping everywhere. The door opened, sunlight streamed in, we looked up, bleary eyed, and a voice from the shadow in the door said, “Excuse me, mam sir!” We laughed for months over that. Now, all these year later, I finally understand that phrase! Thank you Vanessa!!


  4. Posted by Charmie Grace on July 24, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    On #6: That was our first reactions, too. After few more rides, you’d get use to it and you’d even list that as one of the advantages of riding a bus. You can save money – a moviehouse ticket and a bus ride in one. Welcome to the COMMUTERS CLUB.

    #7: Sorry, our country isn’t that vegetarian-friendly I know. Maybe, in time… Let’s see.

    #8: Haha! Dont get offended. They do that all the time. Vendors are stammerers, trust me. They are too stressed out to figure out whether they are talking to a Mam or a Sir. Peculiarities!

    So much to learn… =)


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