Friday, September 30, 2005

Expatriation Blues

My acclimatization in the Netherlands was a love and hate engagement. There were times I cursed this country, f***ing Dutch! Other times, I display real admiration, I would even coddle in their ways. What I went through was just normal, and still going through, I think [eyebrows meeting each other].

Most expatriates that I know of, usually experiences this mother of all setbacks, “homesickness and loneliness”. In all honesty, I have never really suffered with these types of quandary.

For almost 10 years, I lived on my own alone in the survival jungles of Manila’s Metropolis. I guess I have developed a hideous hide, a raw hide as thick as an alligator’s. This could be the reason why I barely got homesick and lonely. Hmm...

There are things though that I kind of miss, nothing sentimental [that would not be me haha] and not on the league of homesickness [means you are sick, that is serious!], but still quite endearing to me and well some, shall I say, funny.

The Ortigas view that I miss from my flat in WackWack, Greenhills. I wake up to this everyday...
[click to enlarge the picture]

Well here they are, some of the things, events, people, and whatever… that I would gladly swap in just a split of a second to have them all NOW.

Let me revel in just one day of homesickness!!!

The MANILA TRAFFIC

Oh god, how I long for this, I could scream! Driving in unadulterated Metro Manila traffic is adrenalin pumping!


*Sigh*, I miss my daily route in the mornings to Makati via the Mandaluyong Bridge coming from Greenhills. The traffic in this direction starting from the Mandaluyong Bridge all the way to Makati Avenue bottleneck is an Oscar winner!

Give me the bumper to bumper pandemonium! Oh, such lovely tune singing in my ears when I hear the jeepney drivers curse on top of their lungs “putang ina mo” [mother f***er]! To see cabbies screeching their tires whilst trailing their backs with black soot, the pedestrians squirreling away too scared to be the next recipient of “hit and run” and let’s not forget, the wild honking of our fellow traffic participants, just because the driver before the traffic light took 5 seconds to respond to the green light.

Chaos… I miss it.

In contrast, drivers here in the Netherlands are seen as cowards without good muscle reflex, and I tell you, they must have never seen an action movie in their entire life! Like robots, they are very stiff in driving. The drill: look into the inside mirror, to the outside mirror, turn your back for that dead corner, give the signal, and go.

Plus you always have to be careful for these hidden paparazzi who will graciously take your photo without your knowledge and send you a bill of statement. Is this a scam? A modus operandi?

Shall we say traffic here is uneventful? Too regulated? Boring? [I hear the Dutchman whispering, “safety my dear”... Hhrmp!]

24 HOUR CONVENIENCE SHOPS

Still fresh and vivid...


At home, on a weekend, working [I pretend sometimes] or chatting with friends on the net late into the night [better], burning my fingers into my laptop’s keyboards whilst watching TV [usually BBC or Discovery Channel] with my back towards it or listening to loud music [usually alternative] to accompany me until the break of dawn... but then hunger pangs strikes…

So at 3AM, a swift decision of a noodle break has to be made but a quick look inside my cupboards proved to be a futile situation. I ran out of noodles, damn. But you see, in the Philippines, this isn’t a problem. I just have to go down the lift, hop on the car and drive to the nearest 24 hour convenience shop, which is actually 5 minutes away. Handy!

In less than 15 minutes, I have my hot Nissin cup noodles in my hand, back in my chair, in front of my laptop.

Quick and convenient… I miss that.

There is nothing like this in Holland [or in Europe]. The Eurocrats think that working your ass off into the ungodly hours is a form of modern day slavery and opening your business 24 x 7 is just plain egocentricity. The culture is supposed to be FOR the people, family first and leisure second. Comprende? Begrijp je?

Alright that is indeed very admirable for the government to care. I get the point, but I just want to rant!!! GGGRRRR…

STABLE WEATHER

It’s been so suicidal depressing this week, except for Monday which was a nice 18C with intermittent sun, but the rest of the week was like a dull early winter prognosis.

I see now the horizon covered in mist, the cold seeping through the doors and windows, the on and off rain showers, the pesky wind and uh well, the bleak grey skies *heavy sigh*. With this mood, I can join Cinderella and cry a bucket.

Oh my feet are cold. Yeah it’s time to wear socks. I will have to take out my thick Ugg boots from the closet. And I am afraid my allergies have started tapping my shoulders. I might have to welcome them, again *more heavy sigh*.

But on the other side of the world, at this very moment, I could have basked under the warm rays of the sun or under the cool moon of the night [18C-22C]. Ah, where are you my paradise…

Warmth… I miss this.

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