Well, the Christmas tree did not work out. It turned brown way before the 25th and by the time New Year's came, it was probably a fire hazard. I am going to have to bite the bullet next year and buy a plastic one or buy some weird bush from a plant store and decorate it.
In the past six months, we made two trips to the States: Hawaii and San Francisco. I realize when I go back, I really do miss San Francisco. I love it there. Where else in the course of an evening can I have fondue for dinner, eat Gingerbread-Guinness ice cream, have drinks at a crusty dive in West Portal, and end up in the Castro at a drag show? I miss it a lot. Nowhere else am I able to buy items like biodegradable plastic bags made specifically for picking up after my dog on a walk. Besides my family and friends, the city is just awesome. Home is always home to a certain extent and I will always, always love San Francisco.
I realized that I am coming up on three years now living in the Philippines. People no longer think my pidgin tagalog is cute and are starting to wonder why I do not have a better grasp on the language now. What can I say, I suck at languages. I have gotten much better at understanding the language, it is just my speaking that sounds like a drunken five year old.
We have been in our new home for a year now. We are settling in to the neighborhood well. I have found a fantastic neighborhood vet for my dogs at Animal House, found a fantastic source for eggs from one of the houses in our village (eggs here tend to run small and this place has larger ones), Ado found a nearby gym for her workouts, and we have only had three brownouts in a year. Life is good here.
We had a lot of visitors from overseas this past year, and I have found that they tend to see things that I overlook now or take for granted. Below are some random images (mostly taken by said guests).
The girls are wearing uniforms that are typical of a high school here (although I am thinking this picture was taken in the province). The skirts are always much longer than you would see in the US and the shoe is always the Mary Jane style. Although I would have hated to wear a uniform in high school (nine years of elementary was enough), I can't get enough of the students in uniform here. I think they are so fricking cute.
This was the store in our previous neighborhood. One stop shopping for the basics.
I absolutely love this picture which a friend of mine captured while we were in traffic. What can I say? This sums up the Philippines for me in so many ways.
Ah, while most of the food here is great, there are certain culinary delights I cannot wrap my head around. Hot dogs and marshmallows are one of them. This is really common at kids parties and I cannot figure what twisted fucking mind came up with it. It's a hot dog! With marshmallows!!
Finally, a picture at the market in Tagaytay. Leave my mother alone in a wet market with a camera and this is what you get. I have no idea how she got the guy to pose with some pig legs but I love it!!!!