ekimswish's Blog

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Into The Abyss



I'm back...

Back to the forum, and back to Taiwan. I'm unofficially an official OFW, or OBW (overseas balikbayan worker).

Our farm and family needed the money, partially drained by our house, so I've hit the road to teach English to little Asian children again. It was hard leaving my wife and kids. I cried the first time; rode the bus 27 hours to Manila for the experience, applied for a visa, was told I should just land in Taipei because they wouldn't give me the longer visitor visa I wanted, so had 4 days of abandoned visa plans and flew back to Leyte. I cried a little less the second time, maybe because I was taking the plane instead of the bus.

The first time I left was right after the Holidays, so I hadn't spent the time the way I wanted with my family. We were out a lot, skipping back and forth between Tacloban and our town, and drinking at night. It was really not the ideal way to spend the last few days with my kids. That's why I was pretty excited to have another three with them to correct the situation. I drank less, stayed home, and tried to take in the moments with them a little better before leaving again.

I also had a bit more time with my wife for spousal activities.

We got all of our pigs sold, and reloaded with 22 more piglets between December and January, complimenting the 4 sows we have ready to breed. We don't have the money to compliment the pigs, however, so hopefully I get working pretty quickly here in Taiwan.

I miss them a lot and took up smoking, lol. Hey, I'm on a diet, so avoiding the drink, but a fella needs some poison, right, especially in depressing times. Bryan Adam's lyrics never rang so true to how I'm feeling. I'm sad, but hopeful. I love being in Taiwan. I hate being away from them. I'm hoping it's worth it tomorrow. I appreciate what the OFW's are going through a little more; I also appreciate what the soldiers serving their countries are going through a little more. Not entirely, though. I don't think there's any risk of a Taiwanese popping up from behind a bush and shooting me dead in the street, but the driving in Asia is always a pretty big risk.

Maricel (my wife) told me my three year old, Kira, says, "Dadi's working," or "The Afwang (Aswang) ate Dadi." Either or. I suppose work is a bit of a vampire, ain't it. She misses me. I just hope she forgets this year somewhere down the road, like I forgot the times when my dad was gone.

You know, one thing I took away from the Philippines this year is Hope. Not just the cigarettes, Hope, though I bought those, too. I have hope in the Filipino people. Us foreigners always complain about lazy, greedy, less than intelligent ways and people as we perceive them, and there are some of those, to be fair. But the more time I spend there at the street level, the more I see people working their butts off and turning a buck off anything, no matter how small. You know those raggedy people patrolling the big streets with their snacks and drinks for passing by motorists? They're working. That's more than I can say for the welfare recipients of Canada and the US.

Sure their jobs and situations are desperate, but in the six years I've been traveling to the Philippines, I've never seen them give up. They're still there, in the streets, pedaling their stuff. There's no quit in them. On top of that, I don't know if I'm the only one to notice, but there's a lot of stuff that's been built the past few years that makes me think someone's got the money to occupy those buildings. Wishful thinking or hope?

A side note, but along similar lines: my Taiwanese friend works for an American company making chips for missiles. He makes about 4k per month. He told me the same guy in America would make triple that. It's not just cheap jobs that the West is outsourcing.... it's the good jobs, too. I don't know about you, but I could live on 4k a month back home. Shoot, even 7 or 8k would be nice. But triple? Something's wrong with this picture, but not for him... he's got a job.

Ah well... just some things I've experienced and seen lately.

OH yeah.... the 27 hour bus ride was awesome. I slept for 20 hours and rode a fairy that fit about ten buses in the bottom. Saw a lot of beautiful country side, and injured my leg from sleeping on it funny for too long. No regrets there. I just wish it was taking me to my kids instead of away. 27 hours is a lot of time to let things digest.

Okay, that's all for now. Have fun guys, and I'll try to get back online a bit more as I settle in here.



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Thanks Mike for keeping us updated. Hey, I hear ya......having spent 21 years in the Navy, family separation is a bitch. One of the hardest jobs in the military is being a military wife or a wife left behind by an OFW. How often can you callher from Taiwan? Hopefully you can secure a good paying job, save it up and come right back.Our warmest regards to you and family -- Jake and Judy

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As long as I'm near a computer we can chat on Yahoo Messenger with video and mic. I just have to buy a cam and mic. I should probably buy a computer too. I'm using my friend's now.

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Hey Mike, just noticed new photo thumbnails above. I especially like your new pad, freshly painted and most of all, smiley faces from your family. I must say that you're the only Caucasian I know (and have yet have the pleasure to meet one day) that is virtually living off the grid in a freakin' jungle, of all places! Hell, you probably know how to speak Tagalog better than I can. Respectfully -- Jake

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Hey Mike, great job. Really interesting to follow your adventure. I would drop the smoking though like a bad habit because that's exactly what it is. The despicable things are addictive, not one good thing about them. Exercise is a MUCH better outlet.Take care,Mike

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Well, I'm no longer off the grid, lol. I don't really consider our town off the grid. It's quite on the grid, but the lifestyle is pretty different to being in a city center. I hate going into the city because it means I need money or I'm spending money. I guess I'm a little off the Western grid, and more on the Filipino one. I can't speak a lick of Tagalog, but I tried studying and speaking my wife's dialect, Waray-Waray. I was getting better little by little, but I exhausted all the online resources. If I go back full time in the future, I'll have to create my own lessons with their help. I stopped smoking two nights ago, I think. I know smoking is bad for you but I didn't know exactly why. I wanted to know what effect it can have on a diet, since I'm trying to live a low-glucose diet recently. Turns out, smoking's great for weight loss because it speeds up your heart a bunch. I did not know that. Guess that's why I couldn't sleep well after smoking. The article said smoking twenty cigs a day is like your heart carrying 90 more pounds on your body. That scared me more than the cancer stuff since the heart is no muscle to F with. Anyways, thanks guys. I love the house but it's put our farm back a few months. I'll have to make the best of it here in Taiwan, and get back there full time next year. peace

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