Sitting back in my room with the blinds down and my electric fan at full blast directed at my face. The internet is crappy, the humidity is unbearable and my eyes haven't adjusted to the tropical sun yet, so I feel vaguely like a vampire.

Still, I'm home in one piece. That is a good thing.




May 31

Bad turbulence on the plane plus my period tested my patience on the flight going to Vancouver, but everything turned out just fine once we hit the airport. My old helper picked us up again, and this time she was accompanied by her son (he's really tall and looks like a professional basketball player, by the way. o_o) and the husband of my other old helper. We were going to eat dinner at helper #2's house. There was so much food, and all of it was wonderful, and they have two cats the size of raccoons. I kind of really wanted to bring them home. ;;

The house we stayed in was actually a bit of a compound, and it served as a boarding house for students coming in from abroad. Peter and I got to occupy two of the dormitory rooms in the basement - it was the first time either of us got our own space this entire trip, so it was a little nice.

There are two pets at the house: a fluffy black cat named Angel and an old cocker spaniel named Randy. Angel hates guys and because of some trauma with her former owner's boyfriend, she'll only allow people to touch her with their feet. Randy's super polite and loves people and sniffs around everywhere - his former owner grew old and developed Alzheimer's, but fortunately, my old helper was more than willing to take him in. They are the most adorable things in the world.


June 1

Took the ferry to Victoria: it's been ages since I've ridden on a proper ferry, and the route was definitely part of the beauty and fun of the entire exercise. The sea breeze was fucking cold but amazing, and it was lovely, just leaning on the rails, watching the sea gulls sail on the current.

Since we left the house a little late and we had a deadline to catch for my little brother (lol, Ateneo enlistment), our first and only real stop was Buchart Gardens. You have not seen a garden until you've seen this place, and I honestly believe that even people who don't really like nature will be hard-pressed NOT to enjoy this place.

Had a bit of a fiasco with the car, but two nice strangers and my dad's sudden expertise (seriously, how does he know all of this shit?!) helped us along just fine.


June 2

Our last full day in Vancouver, so all of us kicked back, fixed our things for the trip and relaxed. The bro and I went out with Marc, my old helper's son, and his girlfriend. That meant me adding another subway/trains to the list of subway/train systems I have taken around the world, and all of us watching Pirates. It was an okay movie, I suppose.

Big dinner at the house when we got back, with more of mom's old friends. One of them has a daughter who has pretty much the same dream I do: by hook or by crook, get into the gaming industry. It was awesome talking to her, and the night just got better after the bro and I hung out with Marc again for some cards and drinks. I got scary lucky, and one all but two of our games. I also got to smoke out in the chill and beauty of my hometown, which was one of the goals I set out for myself before flying off.


June 3-4

Transit day, which meant running around, sitting in airports and spending my birthday on the plane. The flights weren't so bad, though, since I got to spent them asleep or plotting.

A bit of a shock, though, coming back to the fantastic chaos and unrivaled humidity of Manila. Also: my cat doesn't hate me!





It'll be back to the grind soon enough for me. I won't be teaching, which means I'll have to move my stuff out of the department, and I'll have to attend to my registration and hook up with folks that I haven't talked to in ages.

I've got a new goal now, one that doesn't mean staying in the Philippines. I don't know if I'll succeed or where it'll ultimately take me, but this trip and everything that has happened before that point and during it has made me realize that it's something I've got to do.
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