Man, I just can’t take all of these disappointments anymore.
Paraphrasing the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition: Disappointment. noun. 1. A displeasure or frustration. 2. Something not desired nor expected.
Yes, I’m the same person who wrote about my expectations for our Philippine adventure. Yes, I was overly positive; believing that the expectations I held were not lofty. I spoke about every cloud’s silver lining, yadda, yadda, yadda. I badly wanted to prove my wife Emy’s warning of not expecting too much to be wrong. However, I’ve been here for a while now and a cloud without a silver lining appears to be overhead most of the time.
Did I speak too soon? Were those readers who warned me about excitement and disappointment correct? I don’t know. I stare at my return ticket and wonder, “Is it worth it, this ‘Philippine adventure’ thing?”
Here are ten disappointments that I’ve endured in just my first few weeks back in the Philippines:
- My dog, Barto, didn’t recognize me and has a barking fit until I hide myself from his view.
- The new dog we acquired prior to returning, Pauline, didn’t want to recognize me as anything other than an object to bark at and does not stop barking, even after I hide myself.
- There are no roosters crowing early in the morning to wake us up – we oversleep until dawn.
- The neighbor’s goat, of all things, wakes us up at dawn with bleating and “aroma.”
- The weather is much wetter than I had hoped for – much to the farmers’ delight for irrigation purposes.
- The elementary school across the street suffers a number of half-days resulting in my receiving twice as many, “Hey Joe’s” as before.
- We just missed a typhoon, but it didn’t miss our town – plenty of flood damage remains throughout the municipality.
- I do not go anywhere nor do I do anything exciting or thrilling – I find myself stagnantly accepting the status quo.
- Did I mention excessive barking and bleating, and no crowing?
- I haven’t seen any old friends or relatives and, doggone it, they should have been around by now!
Okay, I admit it. I admit that I’m writing this tongue-in-cheek and thinking that things could have been very disappointing had we not turned potential negatives into positives. Each of the above, when you really think about it, is nowhere near an end-of-the-world scenario. Each was really a positive hidden from immediate view. I needed to remove my “kano glasses” and see straight.
Sure, my dog didn’t recognize me – it had been seven months since we last ran together. After an hour, we were best of friends again, just as if I had never been away. The new dog needed more time to get used to new faces, body colors, smells, etc. A doggy treat or two let her know just who it was that put the food in her dish every day (hey, whatever works!).
All of the chickens had been “harvested,” but new chicks are running about. The goat won’t be around long – there’s a party coming up. It won’t be long and we’ll be up pre-dawn, once a couple of chicks grow into junior roosters.
The weather is exactly as it should be during “rainy season,” and I’m happy that it is. If anything, it provides a contrast for dry summers. The farmers repaired an old irrigation dam and cleaned the distribution system out. There will be more than one crop this year!
The school’s half-days were scheduled – rice fields need attention right now and children are a big help to families. The school system extends the academic year to make up for “rice days.” Not to mention, “What’s your name?” followed the “Hey Joe’s.” Once I told them, it was Mr. Keating this, Sir Keating that, and plenty of “po’s,” too. These aren’t disrespectful “kano kids.” These are the future of the municipality and the province. Their politeness and kindness were more than I expected.
A typhoon did pass close by, and did do some damage. Tropical cyclones are a part of life here. There were many opportunities to help clean up in our barangay and I didn’t waste any. I guess that’s why I haven’t been to the resorts, exciting sights, etc. I’ve been too busy helping Rudy, Pablo, and cousin Filimon with my bolo (machete). I’m sure excitement awaits me.
Barking, bleating, crowing, mooing, etc. – they’re all sounds of provincial life. I believe each serves as a reminder for me to enjoy life in its simplicity, taking time to enjoy each minute and all that provincial life brings to the senses.
Hey, why haven’t we gone to see my friends and relatives instead of waiting for them to show up first? After all, they were showing respect for us. They know a long trip does take some of the enjoyment out of life. (We were traveling for about 40 hours; the last 25 or so weren’t as enjoyable as the first 15.) We did go see some friends first – and found this to be the reason why they were waiting to drop in for a visit. Once we made the first visit, the visitors started coming in droves.
I guess this article is all about one’s view of life. Some have said that, unless you’re the lead dog, the view is not very pretty. I say there is no need to follow a lead dog, or anyone else for that matter. A positive attitude and accepting adjustment are two important tools that a Westerner needs in his or her toolbox. Without them, he or she won’t be able to make anything worthwhile of him or herself in the Philippines.