Homeward bound

My extended business trip will be coming to a close soon. As I look back at the time away from the place I call home, it’s been interesting and rewarding. I’ve met new people, experienced new adventures, learned about a different culture, and feel blessed for doing so.

The one experience that will be etched in my heart were the people I’ve met. They were kind, selfless, and happy every day. The challenges they face on a daily basis make mine pale in comparison. When I’m sitting in my car during weekday morning traffic for more than a few minutes I’m irritated, but they spend hours each way sitting on crowded buses, trains and other modes of transportation.

On the last weekend before I head home, our counterparts planned another special day. They arranged for a van to take us to one of their favorite restaurants, which included a celebration with their favorite cake known as Mango Bravo, and a special treat for me and my colleagues known as halo halo (mix mix), even though I kept calling it wahla-walha….LOL.

After sharing a meal together the group planned to take us to their most famous shopping area, Greenhills. It was a large market of sorts with hundred’s of booths, separated by nothing more than a table or fabric. The area was so overwhelming, I didn’t have a clue where to look first. Everyone was calling out to buy their wares as they tried to woo our attention or look. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything I had to have. My one haggling experience ended without a sale.

We ended up on the other side of town at another shopping area, Venice Piazza Grand Canal. It was not hectic or crowded and no one was vying for our attention. In fact, it was beautiful and spacious. It was fun to walk along the canal admiring the shops and people. It was the first time everyone had been to this area and all enjoyed the time.

As another wonderful day ended, and as I begin to prepare for departure, my heart is full and I’m a better person for knowing my new friends. Although I’m homeward bound soon, I’ll miss the people and the comaradery we shared.


ps…..on a silly note, I must admit I’m especially excited to sleep in my own bed…cuz, there’s no place quite like home.

Wash Day

While away on a work project, our business partner arranged for me and my colleagues to stay in a hotel that had apartment type suites that included a kitchen, living room, dining area, and washer/dryer combo. I looked forward to using some downtime on the weekends to relax from the busy week and do laundry.

The first weekend arrived as I pulled out the instruction book of sorts on the appliances, but they didn’t really give many directions, however, the washer/dryer combo looked easy enough to figure out. I sorted my clothes and started to throw in the first load but had to reduce the clothing amount, due to the small size of drum. OK, I can adapt, after all, I had all day if needed.

My colleagues and I were meeting later in the day after we each did laundry. When my first load finished, I switched over the control knobs to the drying function, set the fabric type, load and heat level and pushed auto-dry. More than two hours appeared on the display panel and I thought that seemed a bit long.

Getting other things accomplished until it signaled the drying cycle was done, I had to wait several minutes  for the door to unlock before I could start another load. I pulled out my original clothes and they were wet….HUH? It dried for like 2 hours. OK, guess it needs more time, this time trying another setting, and pushed start; this cycle was shorter. Once it was complete I waited again for it to unlock and reached in to pull my dry…..ummmm….no, wet clothes out again! WTH! I took a few things out to hang dry and started the remainder on another dry cycle. When the ending signal buzzed, I reached in to find them no dryer than the last time.  I can’t remember if I put them in for another cycle or just pulled them out and started my next load.

I hung the wet clothes, thinking they would hang dry while I washed another load. The same damn thing happened to the next load as I also attempted drying over and over again, with the same damp results. What kind of a combo washer/dryer was this? It was getting late in the day and I had to meet my colleagues, so I started load number two again to dry, and just happened to be standing in front of the machine, glanced down and noticed it wasn’t drying but was washing again. WHAT? It was on the dryer setting but I could clearly see bubbles and water swishing around. OMG…..all day long I had been washing the same two load of clothes over and over again…..LOL! All I could do was laugh and shake my head.

When I told my wash day story to my colleagues, they too, had similar problems. Clearly we were doing something wrong. After figuring it out I was excited to have dry clothes. However, that was not to be. Even though I could see it was no longer washing, my clothes were not getting dry. I had wet clothes drying in every room, on everything that I could use as a drying rack. I think it took 4 days for my pj’s to dry, even after running the dryer twice again. More than once I went to work wearing damp clothes. At one point I laid out all my under garments across the counters and stove and used the hair dryer, as they blew about. I was getting desperate…HA.

I’m happy to report, I have since had the dryer repaired, just in time for my second weekend of laundry. My wash day escapades was a fun story to tell and will be a reminder of how learning new things in a far away land doesn’t always go smoothly.


ps….as a side note my third load of laundry was mostly dry, however load four was not….ARGH. Here we go again…HA!


While away on a business trip, getting immersed in the culture was important. My colleagues and I were open to experience both the food and culture; however, we were enlightened much more than we anticipated. The people we met or even just encountered during our stay were kind, friendly, giving, and hospitable.

During the work week in order to be on relatively the same time back home, the hours were late at night into the early morning. We were leaving the office as many were just arriving. Adjusting to the time change was a challenge, but well worth the experience.

During the first week, our lunchtime was around 1:00 am, and from day one, our business partners made sure we felt welcomed, and invited us to join them at every meal. They took us to their favorite local spots. One night they were excited to share their weekly, overnight market that served local delicacies, including chicken’s blood, which we tried…YIKES…..it’s tasted like chicken…ha.

During one of our conversations I inquired on their recommendations for things we should do on the weekends. They started putting a plan in place, not only for me and my colleagues, but for them to join us. They secured a bus, treated us to lunch, reserved a room for karaoke after work hours, and planned our day. Our Saturday morning and the start of the weekend, we left work, jumped on the bus and headed out of the city, to the town of Tagaytay and the Taal volocano.

Once we arrived they arranged for us to enjoy a traditional meal which was incredible. We broke bread together and shared stories of our lives, laughter bringing us together as new friends. We jumped back on the bus and headed high into the hills to get a spectacular view of the area. On our way out of the city, they planned another stop to enjoy one of their favorite sweet treats and an adored local fruit, lanzones which were delicious.

What made this experience so special was the people. They took time out of their precious weekend to share their culture and lives with us. Their ultimate goal was to ensure we had a wonderful day. Once we returned to the office, these selfless new friends had to make their way back to their homes, hours away. We were so humbled by their generosity. Our Tagaytay adventure won’t soon be forgotten or how special they made us feel.



Out of sorts

A recent business trip took me half way around the world; a thirteen hour time difference to be exact. I try not to worry into tomorrow, however, this time there wasn’t any effort, the flight took me there….HA. For some reason I couldn’t quite figure out the timing for days.

In order to acclimate to our new working schedule, we had a few days to adjust. During our work week, we would sleep days and work nights, in order to be on the same schedule as home. However, when the sun goes down and darkness falls, it’s natural to think it’s time to sleep. The first night and day we spent sleeping on and off trying to catch up from lack of rest during our travel, and the time change.

The next day we needed to put together our plan moving forward. We would eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast. The first night attempting to stay awake until morning was a challenge. We ate dinner, walked around the city and still had twelve hours before we could lay our heads down and shut our eyes. We drank coffee, went to the gym, and kept ourselves busy to stay awake. Its been a few days on the new schedule, and as I write this post it’s 9:30 in the morning and I’ll be running for bed soon……ARGH.

The people we’re connecting with on our business trip have a long commute into the city. Actually, most spend three to four hours each day getting to and from work. They not only work through the night, spend hours traveling, but they do it with a smile on their face without a single complaint. It kind of makes my “out of sorts’ feeling pale in comparison. This journey has been about teaching, however, it is I who is the student, and I am humbled.