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Never trust an expat.

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Joie de vivre! [May. 7th, 2005|07:07 pm]
Never trust an expat.

As the plane touched down in Vancouver at 1:20 p.m., I felt so excited seeing the white mountain caps from above. I've been away from Canada for a year and as much as I love Asia, I missed the Canadian landscape. It's really ironic how one can feel the beauty and warmth of Canada with her snow caps and frozen lakes.

Spent a day walking along Robson St., having a cup of latte with two friends from Burnaby/South East Vancouver, going to Richmond malls, dining at Red Robin (which made me wonder if Red Ribbon was its inspiration, or vice versa), driving around Shaughnessy Rd., keeping a watchful eye for Goldie Hawn or Kurt Russell, who apparently walk their dog every afternoon along their neighborhood. The weather was gorgeous! It was a sunny 18 degrees celsius that day and the people left their cocoon to enjoy the outdoors. I saw some people wakeboarding along the Pacific Ocean and I wished then that I was spending more than a day in the city so I can try that as well. But I was so excited to leave the town as well and go on with my journey so I can reach home at last. Before that though, I went to buy some smoked Pacific salmon, which is Vancouver's must-buy. Then off to Montreal.

As the plane touched down in Montreal at 7:13 a.m., I felt like I belong here. A year of absence made me miss the city, big time! I left my family, some friends and a big chunk of my life here and I am glad to be back even for just two weeks. I appreciate the place more, now that I live in Singapore. I know that I will always want to live here and this will always be my homebase. I might go here and there, but will never permanently abandon the city. I feel the same way towards Manila. I will always call it home. I will always feel at home, both in Manila and Montreal.

Today, I drove around the Old Pointe-Claire Village and visited the small mom-and-pop stores by the lake. It was so beautiful. Had a scoop of ice cream at Wild Willy's, together with my mom and niece. You know you're in Montreal when people go out of their living rooms and pig out on ice cream when the thermostat reaches 12 degrees C! While it's considered the freezing point in other cities, it is the melting point in this town.

(to be continued -- crossposted from my journal)

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(no subject) [Apr. 6th, 2005|02:32 am]
Never trust an expat.
Dinuguan: pork and blood stew that challenges even
the toughest tastebuds

Which Filipino Food Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I almost cried when I saw my answer. It's been seven months since I last had dinuguan. My mom made me dinuguan when I was leaving for Shanghai. I love dinuguan. My mom bothered to use guts instead of pigface in the dinuguan because she knows I prefer guts to pigface. She also used pigthroat. Uhhhhh.
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crossposted at my lj [Apr. 5th, 2005|10:26 am]
Never trust an expat.

I guess they've never heard of igado
but this will do. my fav sisig would have to be the one at Trellis. yum!

Sisig: Diced meats seasoned with spices and served
on a sizzling hot platter

Which Filipino Food Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
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fresh off the bus [Mar. 13th, 2005|12:16 am]
Never trust an expat.

i was supposed to meet my father in manhattan in the afternoon because he would tell me where my first job interview was. while i was getting ready, he called to remind me to use the train tokens he left on his clothes drawer so i didn't have to look for coins. i told him not to worry, that i've ridden the bus and the train a couple of times in the past, and i was familiar with how it worked, so off i went. the bus arrived as soon as i got to the station, so i readied the dollar bill and change in my hand and got on the bus. there were a few people before me so i did not notice the sign on the fare machine. i was fumbling as i could not see a slot where i can insert my dollar bill so the bus driver, obviously annoyed by my confusion, furrowed his eyebrows and haughtily told me "NO DOLLAR BILLS!"

i was probably just oblivious at his annoyance and was dead set on giving him my share of fare, but i remember taking the driver's hand, shoving my unwanted dollar bill and change and closing his hand into a fist. i did not hear what else he said, i just walked straight towards the rear of the bus, feeling triumphant over an unsolicited challenge.

looking back on that incident now, i can just picture the bus driver shaking his head and thinking "these stupid immigrants!"

i no longer cringe with embarassment every time i tell the story to anyone who would care to listen. it's true what they say, the novelty does wear off. it's been nine years, after all. :)
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Sorry Guyyyys!!! [Feb. 24th, 2005|09:17 am]
Never trust an expat.

Not till girlhoodtales pointed it out, it seemed our community was set to "posts from selected members only" :)) my bad! Everyone can post, so please do :D Welcome to the community everyone!
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Valentines Mandarin Lessons [Feb. 14th, 2005|11:37 pm]
Never trust an expat.
I lean back on the bar, away from the tinkling glasses over head as the base creeped through the small bar's woodwork.

This gives him a good vantage point for running his hand up my inner thigh. He leans on a his left hand trying to catch my gaze. I pretend to admire the interiors that were made to look like a chinese wedding bedroom with the draperies and the blaring red.

"You will never fully enjoy Shanghai if you never learn Mandarin," He strikes up another conversation.

"I don't have the time, or the patience for that matter."

"Well you can learn one phrase a day. I'll teach you one right now: Yi hao, ling hao?"

I give him a raised eyebrow, which is as much look sharing I am willing to partake so soon. "And it means?"

"Literally: Number one or number zero. But it also means," he holds up a finger to designate one, "yi, top-"

He then makes a holed fist, "ling, bottom."

I giggle because I have had six Piers already. "What if I can swing either way."

His hand feels awefully warm on my inner thigh, "You say: Tuo ke yi. I can do more."

I shake some of the redness from my face, trying to keep the smile from showing itself fully. I fail miserably and I am blushing and I am smiling like a twat.

I say, "I know a useful chinese phrase: Ni Jia, Wo Jia?(Your house or my house?)
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Balikbayan (mis)advantages [First of a series] [Feb. 12th, 2005|04:38 am]
Never trust an expat.

[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |Babalik ka rin -- Tonyo!]

I've always wondered what I would've been like if I stayed in the Philippines instead of migrating to Canada with my whole family during my teenage years. Would I be employed at a 9-to-5 job (or more like 5-to-9 in the Philippines, based on friends' accounts)? Would I be married now to a high school sweetheart? Would I be doing the same things I am doing now?

Perhaps not.

It's sad to admit that the world became my oyster when I moved to Montreal in the early '90s. I'm not complaining though, but I keep wondering why can't those who chose to stay in the Philippines have the world to themselves as well -- oh yeah, I forgot, the government officials already have the world in that part of the Earth!

I'm proud (will always be) of my Canadian education, but I am damn well proud of my Philippine upbringing as well (and will always be too!) I cherish my childhood days spent on the streets of Novaliches, my high school days spent commuting to good old UST albeit the floodds and strikes and slash/snatch episodes in Blumentritt. I am proud of the way I was brought up and the street smarts I've picked up in Manila along the way. Sadly, it is my Canadian university diploma that has bought me the luck and opportunities that I continue to grab with both hands.

And it is not just in the Great White North that I experience this reverse discrimination. When I was on assignment in Manila in 2000, I was given an 'instant respect' from Filipino colleagues just because I was born in Manila but bred in Canada. It's really sad that I get a first draft pick of everything just because I have a Canadian accent. I'm sure several of you know what I'm talking about -- when Filipinos find out you're from the US/Canada/Europe/Australia/etc. you get treated differently -- you're more special. They think you've made it! Of course it's often nice to have that advantage, but it's a sad reflection of the Filipino mentality, not to mention, there are so many Balikbayans who really think they've made it by moving to Wisconsin or Boise, Idaho! Since when did moving to a foreign land become a measure of one's achievement?

[to be continued]
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Single Brown Queer in China [Mar. 9th, 2005|05:14 am]
Never trust an expat.
So after making eye contact for a week I finally approached this guy. After ten minutes of goofy smiling, hand shaking, nodding and confused looks we established that my name is Joel and that I don't speak any chinese and that his name is Zhangyu, english name Mark, and he speaks english so-so(which actually means not at all). So Exit Joel Stage Left.

I come back with my english speaking chinese friend John and and ask John to tell Mark if I can buy him coffee. They talk for several minutes, awkwardly at first but eventually blossoming to a conversation which involves full-on head-reeling laughter while I stand there dumbfounded by their newfound friendship. After a short eternity John remembers I exist and faces me and tells me that Mark doesn't drink coffee.

"And that's all he said?"


I leave and have a coffee and a cigarette by myself. John and Mark are probably doing it by now.

A pick up line you can use in China, Taiwan or Binondo
You: So... What is Mandarin for "kiss"?
Target: When
You: Now!
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