This is a letter I sent to my friends and will explain the long hiatus of not updating this blog for 7 months. My apologies
Apologies for not keeping in touch. I’m a bad email friend. This letter is an attempt to make up for the months of not updating.
Many of you know that I quit my job in China to move to Chile, South America. There’s this popular adage: Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. And get it I did. It definitely wasn’t what I expected. Of course, I did see the awe inspiring spectacular scenery of what Chile had to offer – the deep azure waves of the Pacific Ocean against the backdrop of the glacier capped Cordillera de los Andes, of copper flowing sunsets spilling on the hillside amidst the lively beat of the samba drums. What I didn’t see in my research in the internet though is the stench of the hundreds of stray dogs, of steep dangerous hills, the bland palate of Chileans capped with the utter lack of delicious affordable restaurants and the sky high cost of living that many commented was similar to France and more expensive than in the US especially the capital, Santiago. There is a lack of indigenous culture in Chile unlike Peru and Bolivia – it is very Westernized and standing on one of Santiago’s streets is like being in the streets of Chicago.
These among many factors made me decide not to stay any longer in Chile despite the fact that I had received a teaching job offer. Unfortunately, its salary wouldn’t allow me to pay basic rent.
After I closed the chapter in Chile (ciao expensive empanadas!), I made 2 other dreams come true by seeing Machu Pichu in Peru and Salar de Uyuni (largest salt flat and biggest mirror in the world) in Bolivia. Aside from feeling woozy and sick on those dizzying high altitudes (3,000-5,000 meters above sea level, never a dull black out moment), it was a joy to see the indigenous folks especially the cholitas –Bolivian indigenous women with their hoop skirts, long black pigtails and bowler hats. It was more interesting to see these women duke it out in the wrestling field, caught up in the spirit of bloodlust.
Then before I knew it, it was time to go home to the Philippines. Days after I arrived, family tragedy awaited me back home. My paternal grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and passed away in a matter of days. A week later my maternal grandmother died as well. Then 3 weeks later, my sister lost her baby inside her womb. It was a very grueling and hard time for my family but I’m glad I was here when those events happened. Being with family certainly helped and I was able to get the closure I needed as I had missed my paternal grandfather’s funeral when I was enroute to Chile.
And now? After being a victim of an Internet credit card fraud, we’re taking each day as it comes. I helped out with the family business while I applied for jobs. My love for travel hasn’t been quenched and I try to take domestic flights to other islands if there are $5 dollar promos. I recently went to Hong Kong on a $100 return promo. One thing I have to say is it’s weird re-adapting to life in your home country. I miss my independent life and my friends abroad. What I realize from being surrounded with these subsequent dark deaths is that people around you are important. Family matters. Friends matter. Living your life matters. And no one wants to die alone. I’m happy my grandparents were surrounded by people who care about them.
One of my fondest wishes is that all my friends live in one place together. But sadly, it’s not possible so email is the next best thing for me to reach out to everyone and still have them in my life. So for now, till we can see each other again, to laugh, to smile and to talk the day away – consider this as a way for me to pop in and say –
Hi, I miss you friends.