Even if you have already lived in the Philippines for a long time, you can still experience new things if you are open to it. Lately, Feyma has been pretty busy. For a month and a half now, she has been working for a fellow who hired her to supervise some renovation of his house here in Davao. The fellow is an American friend who has been here for a while, but he hired Feyma to find him a new house in the City, and after she found a suitable place for him, he decided he wanted to do some renovation, and hired Feyma to get it done for him.
Because of Feyma’s absence, I’ve been trying to do some new stuff to keep myself busy. I am the type of person who gets lonely if my wife is away all day, and Feyma has pretty much been absent during business hours for nearly 6 weeks now, so I had to come up with some extra stuff to do!
Back when we lived in the States, Feyma didn’t really know how to cook, in fact, she was afraid to even try! Because of that, I did most of the cooking for our family for the ten years that Feyma lived in the States. When we came here, Feyma got brave, and started cooking, and has actually turned into quite a good cook. Also, we have maids here, and our nieces who live with us also know how to cook. Because of all of these capable cooks around the house, for the past 10 years I have basically done no cooking. I don’t think I have cooked more than a half dozen meals in the Philippines in the 10 years that I have lived here, until the beginning of March this year!
In most parts of the normal life, I would have to say that I am fairly well-adjusted to life in the Philippines. But, one area where I have not really allowed myself to become adjusted to life here is in grocery shopping and also cooking. So, when Feyma got busy with this renovation job, I decided to do something about that.
So, for the past 6 weeks, I have been taking care of much of the grocery shopping, and also probably 70% of the cooking of our evening meal. Oh, my nieces help me with the prep work like cutting up stuff, etc., but the actually cooking I have been doing myself.
I have to say that I am kind of proud of the effort that I have made, and the progress that I have achieved. I used to really avoid going to the grocery store as much as possible, and I was pretty successful in that avoidance. I don’t think that in 10 years I had gone and bought groceries more than 3 or 4 times. In the past month and a half, though, I have been going to the grocery store 2 or 3 times each week. I could send my nieces to do it, and they would gladly do it for me. I think, though, that it is time for me to become accustomed to doing more for myself, including going to the grocery store.
In the grocery store, lines here are generally very long. It’s not like in the States where you stand in line for maybe 5 or 10 minutes. Today, I went to NCCC Mall, to the grocery store there. It is one of the busier stores in town. I went around and bought everything we needed. There were a couple of things that I needed and did not know where to find, and I had to ask a clerk for help. I spoke Cebuano during my entire visit there, and it really felt good to be able to communicate easily with the clerks there! I also enjoyed seeing the relief on their faces when I would speak to them in Cebuano. At first, when a foreigner is coming up to ask them a question, you can see the tension build up, they are obviously worried that they might not be able to understand what the foreigner is about to ask them. But, as soon as the Cebuano starts flowing from my mouth, you can see the tension on the clerk’s face just melt away. And, a good feeling builds up inside me, being able to communicate with ease, not even having to struggle for the right words!
Well, after finding all of the groceries that I needed to buy, I headed up to the checkout area. Oh my, the lines were all very long! I found the one that looked the best, and stood there waiting. I texted Feyma to see how she was doing, and I told her:
I am at the C to buy groceries. Oh my, I think the line is at least an hour long.
Well, I was not far off. I stood in line for 50 minutes today. You know what, though… I was pretty proud of myself. I never lost my patience. I never got mad about waiting. I even talked with some of the other people who were waiting in front of me and behind me. I actually kind of enjoyed it. Wow, I think that I am adjusted now to Grocery shopping in the Philippines! I never thought I would accomplish that! It’s kind of a good feeling.
One thing I noticed at the Grocery Store today, which I found kind of cool was that you can actually pay with your cellular phone at the Grocery Store! It’s true… they have a special checkout where you can pay with G-Cash (Globe Cash, through the Globe Cellular Network). You just punch up the information in your cellphone and transfer the money to the cash register! How cool is that? I bet there are not any stores in the States that even accept payment for your groceries with a few clicks on your cellular phone!
So, tonight I am cooking dinner again. Tonight’s menu is marinated pork cooked on the barbecue grill. I am marinating the meat right now, and this afternoon my niece will put the meat on the BBQ sticks (thanks, Bebe!) and we’ll put it on the grill maybe around 5:30. Being more self-sufficient is a good feeling! I always enjoy it when I cook for dinner, because all of the people in the house will be telling me how much they enjoy the food, and such! Heck, even my kids don’t really remember that I actually know how to cook! So, it’s been kind of cool watching my kids as they test out Dad’s cooking for the first time that they remember. And, lately they have certainly been eating a more American style diet too.
I admit, though, I’m looking forward to having Feyma around the house a bit more! She is almost done with the work that she has been hired for. Probably one more week…. maybe two, though! Can’t wait to have you back home, honey!