Lesson 1: Rules of the Road

The rules of the road here in Manila (and in the provinces, as well, as I have discovered) are simple: there are no rules. My boss phrased it best: whoever has the biggest car and/or oldest car wins. Needless to say, I have had many heart attacks thus far concerning the lack of road structure. And the traffic. The traffic is comparable to that of LA’s–even worse (according to someone who actually grew up in the LA area).

My first day in Manila, I learned quickly that there is no regard for pedestrians. Crossing the road requires that one take deep breaths, pray, and close his/her eyes to sprint across the street with hopes of making out unscathed. I was initially shocked by the lack of concern for pedestrians, but have now come to gain a new appreciation for it–in the wild, the biggest, toughest animal wins, with the smaller ones working their lives around them. So, why not on the road? Lesson learned. 

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The Layover

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Waking up at 4:00 AM to embark on a 32 hour journey was the easy part. Enduring the 32 hour journey was another story. Milwaukee, Dallas, LA, Taipei, Manila. Currently sitting in the airport in Taipei, Taiwan, 3.5 hours into my 12 hour layover, I am anxious. It is 12:42 AM here, but 11:42 AM in my system, so I am not tired, the airport is deserted–escalators running without reason, hallways unlit, stores locked–I seem to be one of few “over nighters” here. What to do, what to do?

Facebook stalk people I haven’t spoken to in years. Check. Kill time on Buzzfeed. Check. Kill more time on Upworthy. Check. Now what? SKYPE! The 12+ hour time difference between here and the States makes it, surprisingly, convenient to Skype. A piece of home.

I have found my entertainment: blogging while watching my friend do Wii-fit while talking to me on Skype. “WHY DON’T I FEEL ANYTHING?! IT’S TELLING ME I’M DOING THE EXERCISES RIGHT!” Yes, that is just the back-noise I need to make me forget the eery silence of the Taipei Airport, and the million anxious, excited thoughts running through my head as I get closer to my final destination. Eight more hours until I board.