continued from “What’s up, ketchup”…
- On February 20, 2014, I boarded a flight to the Philippines. I will be arriving February 22. I was afraid that many things would have changed since I left even though I’ve only been gone for a year and a half.
- I arrived. I was excited to see my family. As I exited the airport with the cart full of my luggage, I strained my neck and squinted my eyes searching for them. I ended up waiting in one place for about ten minutes, messaging them using an internet website as I do not have a local mobile number. I went to the other waiting place looking for them. One guard approached me and lent me his cellphone so I can call my parents. I was able to contact my dad and lo and behold, they were at my previous location. They came to meet me. I thanked the guard for his kindness and half-walked half-ran towards my dad when I saw him. I was kinda pissed (I know I shouldn’t have been). Apparently, they left the house ten minutes before I landed.
- On the way home, my dad bought pan de sal. Oh how I missed it. Even though it was not warm, I just wanted it badly. I was also looking for taho. Until today, I haven’t had it. I noticed not much has changed. Same old substandard roads. Still has ongoing constructions. Man, those roads must have undergone a gazillion constructions because there’s always one every year.
- We reached home. I missed home. I missed my room. The first thing my sister did was take a photo of me and post it on FB with the captions, “SHE’S BACK… and she’s fat!!” Of course, my friends loved it.
- My friends were messaging me. I felt missed. It’s like that during the hype of the moment. Today, 5 days after I arrived, not many notice the difference.
- The first two days, I felt time was so slow. Maybe I’m just getting used again to the pace of life here. In the US, everything came so fast. Probably because everything was much more convenient and electronically-ridden? By that I mean, internet’s fast that you get lost in it. Netflix and Hulu are there so hours tick by. I even felt I was growing older much more rapidly. Scary.
- Monday came and I went to the LTO to renew my license. At least they don’t require drug test now. I find that just an additional hassle. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never taken illegal drugs (of course when I imply legal drugs, I mean the meds!). It’s just that it takes additional time and it’s annoying. Anyway, I renewed my license. Lucky senior citizens – they didn’t need to fall in line. The application form and medical processes were fast. The photo and signature process was also fast. When it came to the payment and releasing, I don’t know what in the world the cashier was doing – playing solitaire, updating whatnot records, or whatever but she just stopped taking payments for twenty five minutes. People were piling up inside the small A/C-less space and the employees in the payment and releasing seem to not care. This is aside from the fact that they arrived at 9:40 am when the office should be open at 9:00 am. My point is, everything could be done much more efficiently. What’s the point of prolonging it? And why can’t the government update the computer systems so the employees need not use ancient conking ones? Yeah, I should know the answer, I’ve worked there.
- I just found it ironic and funny that I was so scared that everything would have changed when I’m back. I was expecting that I would not recognize the places. Many things have changed, yes. Few things have also changed. I guess this is why Asians seem ageless? Institutions seem to be also stuck in time. It’s the same old, same old Philippines that I remember. Not much has changed.