Thursday, 30 May 2013

Update (long)

Yes, it's been a while.  Nearly 2 months, actually.  I'm in the Philippines now, but first how has my weight loss gone in the last 2 months?  Not so good.  Just after my last post, I realised that I made a critical error in my spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are very useful things, but tend to be error prone.  I made a mistake in editing my spreadsheet that made me think that I had it easier than was actually the case.  As a result, it came to be point where it seemed impossible to reach goal weight by May 14th, the day I left New Zealand.  So what was I to do?  Break my promise to myself where I said that I'd never go overseas unless I was at goal weight, or postpone the flight.  I decided to go overseas and break my promise.

Getting overseas has been a challenge.  Being significantly depressed makes it hard to do most things.  After giving 3 weeks notice it was a challenge to do more than 4-5 hours of work a day.  Big jobs like doing the gardening or covering the dirty stones with nice clean stones were a real challenge.  The bathroom was a bit of a worry, but in fact it turned out to be pretty easy.  Cleaning carpets, cleaning floors, walls, replacing things that were broken, hiring a water blaster that never worked (that's 2 hours and $95 I'll never get back).  You know the story.

Shifting sucks.  As it turned out, I was 12 1/2 hours late for moving out.  That's not too bad.

Then it was a case of merging all of my stuff stored in 2 storage units into one storage unit.  That sounds easy but you end up walking an incredible amount (from trailer to storage unit and back, 100-200 times), you have to move stuff out of the destination to give room for the new stuff, but you have to estimate how much to take out, how long it will take (in case one of your storage units closes), deal with trailer hire, booking the free trailer that the storage unit provided and then forget to attach it properly (while in haste), resulting in the trailer falling off the tow bar, resulting in a loss of 2-3 days due to a domino effect of this and that.

After that I visited my family in Dunedin for 3 nights, and then headed north, my trip ending with about 5 days with my brother while I prepared my computer gear and all of the other things that I needed in the Philippines, prepared stuff that I was leaving with my brother, banking and emergency money.  The 11 1/2 hour flight from Auckland to Singapore went better than expected.  The 3 1/2 hour flight from Singapore to didn't go so well.  It turns out that taking $700 with me in emergency Philippine money was a bad idea, resulting in worrying about what would happen at immigration because I hadn't applied for permission to take such a large (!) amount. The upper limit of non-declaration was $300.  It turns out that the immigration lady was really nice about the situation, she seemed fine with things and I was apologetic about the situation which I guess helped as well.

After that, I was officially in Manila.  No searching through my bags for contraband or threats to the food industry, surprisingly (actress Hilary Swank famously got fined $200 when visiting New Zealand when she failed to declare an apple and orange she was carrying as a comparison).

Then it was time to meet the lady I've been Skyping for 6 months.  Miss (I'll call her) Mindanao, the island that she's from.  A family member and friend were there as well to meet me at the airport.  The meeting went well, and we all got on well, but I have to admit that I wasn't really happy having an extra two unexpected people to share the small apartment that I'd rented for 6 nights.  It was pretty cramped, there was a general lack of privacy and lack of time for Miss Mindanao and I to get to know each other.  I wasn't happy.

Manila is seething mass of people.  The malls, roads, buses, jeepneys, supermarkets, even public toilets are chock-full of people.  I would hate to live there permanently, it's just too congested for my liking.

After 6 nights just the two of us went to our current home, Cebu.  Although the population density is still high compared with my home, it's a lot easier to do pretty much anything compared with Manila.

So what do I think of Miss Mindanao?  I have to say that she's.....lovely.  I do accept that it's an unusual situation, from Skyping every 2-3 days to shacking up effectively on the first date, but she cares about me, I care about her, and it's all pretty genuine.

I guess there are two main issues between us.  Miss M's English skills aren't perfect, I'd put them at about 70%, which means that 30% of what either of us says, the other doesn't understand, resulting in a "what do you mean?" request. Over the year that I'm here, that's going to be a non-issue.  The other issue is that I went to the Philippines for the heat, it's probably 33 degrees C right now, with 90% humidity.  I'm sweating, and loving it.  Miss M. hates the heat, comments about it more than once a day, and craves air conditioning, causing a few disagreements at our hotel in Cebu city.

Our rented place in Cebu doesn't have air conditioning.  That's probably a good thing for our relationship, because electricity is phenomenally expensive here in the Philippines, and being cold makes me grumpy.

If you made it this far in my post, congratulations.  I am officially on a diet (we shared a yummy chocolate cake to celebrate moving into our new home) now, with my unlimited fish and vegetables diet.  I don't have scales (yet), but do have a tape measure.  I plan on updating the blog once every 2-3 weeks, about how life in the Philippines is going.