A quick trip to the city to fix my visa to China, hang out with a friend in town from San Francisco, and meet up with college friends for what is turning into a fortnightly routine of beer and bonchon, culminated unexpectedly in the Javits Center for the New York Comic Con. Thanks to a friend with a spare ticket, I was able to go minus the expense and foresight (apparently, tickets ran out way before the actual event). Spent a satisfying ten minutes at the entrance taking photos of people passing by–it’s especially hilarious to watch superheroes et al. observe traffic regulations, looking left and right before crossing the street. Lost the drive to take photos inside the convention center due to the density of the crowd, which overwhelmed my old and weary self. But it was still fun to people watch! Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
It’s that time of the year when winter mornings turn into summer afternoons. I teach early in the morning, which means I have to bundle up, but by the time I emerge from office hours, the sun is up, the weather warm, and my cap-ped and coat-ed self out of place amid a throng of undergrads in short shorts and flip-flops. Because I am a tropical girl, I feel disappointment each time I wake up to a wintry morning; clearly, my sunny days are numbered. And so, in anticipation of months of hibernation, I’ve been spending afternoons outdoors, doing my reading and working out in the sun.
Because of the bad weather, what was supposed to be a weekend in Dumaguete ended up being five days long. The weekend itself was lovely, spent the way we like spending our vacations, by transporting our habits to a new place: long hours in bed, meals with beer and pineapple juice, short walks (by the sea this time), bargain book-hunting, reading marathons. We added cable tv to the repertoire (we are television-less in Manila) and caught a couple of movies in between watching the news. On our walks we took note of Dumaguete’s conveniences: where there’s wifi, it’s free, the food is affordable, the seafood fresh, and everything seems to be a five-minute pedicab ride away. As usual, we noticed the sex tourism (which is of course very much alive in Manila but always more apparent to me when I’m elsewhere). We took a break from our hermit ways and met up with a friend for dinner. All in all a short and sweet stay.
And then our morning flight back to Manila was canceled, and the earliest flight out the airline could offer us was in the afternoon… two days later. After the initial panic and a mild debate over panic as an inevitable vs. unnecessary response to unforeseen circumstances (which cast a cloud over though failed to ruin a ridiculously delicious lunch involving pork ribs, a truffle-infused burger, and a watermelon margarita popsicle), calls were made, emails sent, and schedules rearranged to accommodate the forced vacation.
Given a few more days in Dumaguete, we were (as expected) our predictable selves and carried on with our routine. We determined our favorite breakfast order at the inn where we stayed (boneless bangus), our favorite cafe for reading marathons (Sans Rival, often too crowded for comfort but the brewed coffee is cheap and the sans rival addicting), and our favorite restaurant (Casablanca, where we ate dinner when we first arrived in Dumaguete and where we had lunch before we left for Manila). I got to spend quality time with a few French philosophers and A got to read the history book he picked up at the airport. We did two more dinners-and-drinks with our friend, this time with his boyfriend. All in all a short and sweet stay, enough to make us decide to live in Dumaguete at some point in our lives, i.e., maybe a trial month in the summer of 2014? Abangan!
Before anything else, two poems in The Offending Adam.
I’m back in Manila for the summer and am supposed to use my time productively by putting together and sticking to a reading schedule for my qualifying exams. Realistically speaking (according to my pre-flight-to-Manila self), this means ten theory books and then some (out of the hundred plus on my list) over the period of two months, and then a couple of weeks devoted to writing the prospectus, which I have to turn in first thing when I fly back to Albany. A month into the break and so far, I’ve read, hmm, bits of three books, and by bits, I mean a chapter here and there, and by read, I mean sort of/somewhat/slightly absorbed… I might remember an idea or two after scanning the parts I underlined. I’m not reading strategically (i.e., for the prospectus)–I’m mostly flitting about and picking up whichever book seems mildly compatible with my mood and the heat and the vibe of the hour in the afternoon. This disarray is clearly the result of not having gotten around to drafting a reading schedule, the thought of which just makes me want to, well, do something else.
The good news is, I was just in Palawan, where I passed time eating seafood and drinking cerveza, reading Vogue, and talking Adam’s ear off.
I had to pause from writing this to entertain our landlady, an eighty-seven-year-old woman whose version of saying hi takes a minimum of thirty minutes and often involves a mini-lecture on the woes of living on the brink of death and the perks of life as a single woman. Today’s topics: living at home with hired help vs. moving into a home for the aged, what money can buy, why marriage is not a good idea, why living in is the way to go, why it is important to be on/stay on the pill. Now that’s a woman with a plan.
What: Better Living Through Xeroxography, A Small Press Expo
Where: Ilyong’s Kalantiaw, Project 4
When: Dec 7, Friday, 8 pm
To see more gorgeous BLTX ads (and to get a sense of the kinds of books, comics, art, and stuff you’ll find at the event), check out the BLTXXX Facebook page.