Day 11: Invincibility

It's happened. Woke up this morning not feeling super great at all. I thought that because I went through a bout of Traveler's sickness last time I was in the Philippines, I would be immune from the effect this time around. Heck, I've only been gone for less than 3 months. Nonetheless, something I ate yesterday started a chain reaction that has kept me locked up in my studio all day today. I have most of the symptoms Pepto Bismol would easily solve, but nary such a thing does not exist in this neck of the woods. Believe me, I've tried.

The worst part about it is that I've been eating pretty normal. The suspected culprit thus far is a small fruit called lansones. Very tasty stuff. It's the only new thing that I've eaten in the last 24 hours. At some point, I'm going to have to come to the realization that I'm not invincible, and that things will hurt me. I'm such a person of extremes, that I'm fearful if I stop being adventurous in my travels here, I'll just become even more boring than I already am.

The difficult part about being overseas and being sick is that it's not super easy to find the same remedies to get better. Typically, I would eat Chicken Noodle soup. However, the local grocery does not seem to have this. Maybe ramen noodles? Yeah, didn't work out so well. Not a good story to replicate. I'm sick hungry right now - the kind of hungry where I know I need to eat something, but I don't really want to eat because I don't want to deal with the repercussions of that decision.

Suffice it to say, I stayed home today - for everyone's sakes. What I need to figure out how to do better is to relax and rest. I do not do this well at all. I spent the better half of the day anxiously pacing around my studio looking for something to do. I bounced between reading a book, taking small naps, surfing the web, playing computer games, working, and of course being sick. Sadly enough, none of the activities that I did could keep my attention for more than about 20 minutes. I know exactly where this behavior has come from - work. I split my day into 16x 30 minute chunks, and I'm literally going from meeting to meeting on a daily basis. I've developed a sort of ADD - I can concentrate, get things done, but I'm on 30 minute intervals with life. I'm not so sure this is a good thing. If something isn't grabbing my attention very quickly (15 minutes or so), I'm wanting to get on to the next thing. Worse yet, my Getting Things Done (GTD) attitude has made this even worse by having me focus on squeezing productivity out of just about every freaking minute. So, let's recap - I want to be productive, I have 30 minute time blocks, and I'm forcing myself to relax in order to get better. Heckofaday, that's for sure. New goal while I'm out here: figure out how to 'turn off'.

I did try to get out of the house for a little bit - maybe some walking around would help. Turns out that's not the case. However, I ran into a little gem that is worth explaining. Paid Restrooms. P10 (little less than a quarter) granted me access into a nice smelling, well attended bathroom. It's what I dream female bathrooms to be - clean, sparkling, flowery, and not disgusting like most male bathrooms in the US are. It was a bathroom my OCD wife would have been proud of! I think I would easily pay a quarter if the restrooms I used in the US were as well kept as this one. My wife would tell me that because I'm paying for the service, I'm entering into a social contract, and as such will hold myself to a higher standard in using the facilities. (I do listen to my wife, it turns out, though I've probably slaughtered the sociological theory I'm attempting to explain). It's a trend that should come back. Because let's face it - I hate going into bathrooms even if it's a quick visit. They're just gross. I'm not sure how people do some of the things that they do in bathrooms in the US, nonetheless they're there. And the attendants sure as heck don't want to clean that up - so it just becomes worse. Vote for me in 2012, and I'll bring back pay-bathrooms.

I recall having a conversation with my parents after I got home from the Philippines in June of this year. My observation was that Manila was significantly quieter than the US - especially in Public Places. I've now deduced how I came to that realization. It's certainly not because in public people are quieter. Japan, absolutely! People don't talk very much in public there. However - Manila? My brain has tricked me into thinking this is the case, when in fact the reality is that I cannot speak Tagalog, and as such, my brain tunes out the meaningless noise. Given that I'm going to be out here for 6 months, I've tried to tune into the local language. This immediately has opened the flood gates for my brain to start processing signals. It's certainly a lot louder now.

Right now, I'm at an extreme disadvantage not knowing the local language. Sure, it's a fact that 97% of the population are American English literate. However, most of the people just speak English unless they're forced into a situation where it is necessary (e.g.: speaking to tall, lanky Americans like myself). Language is such an integral part of the culture, and I'm unable to relate to my team on a way that would be truly beneficial to both parties. I'm picking up small things right now - certainly thank you - salamat po, and Hello! - mabuhay, No - hindi. I need to learn, so I'm going to try the Rosetta Stone. I need to have someone in the US pick it up for me and send it my way, because I can't find the darn thing out here (yes, even a pirated version).

I get to start taking my anti-malaria pills today, because I'm going on a trip outside of Manila. It's basically doxycycline. Start taking 2 days before I leave the town, and a full 30 days after I get back. All of this for a trip to the beach. Something tells me I'm going to continuously be on a panel of antibiotics for this entire trip. I'm not sure how awesome that's going to be. I can safely say that up to this point in my life, I've had enough shots and antibiotics that not only would it be impossible for anything harmful to actually get to me, but that my own blood can be given to someone else as a substitute for shots to prevent sicknesses around the world.

In other news:

  • Happy Birthday Jennelle! You're 17 now. I don't think you get a birthday this year.
  • Happy Anniversary Mom/Dad! Good news is that on the anniversary guide, you don't have to get a special gift this year. Next stop is 30 years, and then it's pearls.

Happy Non-Events to the three of you! I leave all of you with the stairway to nowhere. I just want to know how this happens... it's like the builders had an extra escalator hanging around, thought that it would be neat throw it in, and out comes this...

I want that job.