Snippets of America

I’ve extended my stay in the US for another month, to be with the family and the boyfriend. My boss asked me what my domestic life here was like, and Dad asked me why I haven’t been blogging, and I have pretty much the same answers for both of them.

Life here is very quiet and strange. I am not a citizen, nor have I moved here – I am but a tourist leading a mellow suburban stay. Most days, I am in my sister’s house, washing dishes (it is my “rent”). The few times that I have gone out have led to wondrous, almost catastrophic experiences.

In LA, I got stuck in the airport for 10 hours. I was trying to go back to San Francisco, but the weather was so bad that all flights coming in were stopped. I was only in town for a wedding, and so had packed extremely light – no laptop, no cell phone charger, and only one book. The domestic terminals in LAX were incredibly boring and uncomfortable, and I had no company; by the end of it, I had started talking randomly to strangers, so desperate I was for human interaction. I have officially sworn off airports, after that. (The wedding itself was awesome – it was a 60s/Beatles-themed wedding for my rock star friend Annette. It was really just a big rock show, complete with the couple donning guitars and playing Metallica instead of having a first dance.)

In New York,  I danced for hours in high heels, at my cousin Lara’s black tie wedding. The wedding was as gorgeous and elegant as Ate Lara, and we danced so much that my hamstrings were useless for the next few days. (I also happened to be seated at the singles table, which was like watching a show on the Discovery Channel. I quickly learned how the game is played, and was thankful that I didn’t have to play it.) Other than the wedding, I did not actually see much of New York. I had breakfast in Bryant Park, ate lamb gyro in Times Square, shopped a bit, and took a lot of taxi cabs in between. New York was exciting, tough, fast, and very fun. But I think I prefer California.

The xx

In Oakland, I learned that Americans do dance. I watched Hot Chip and the XX at the Fox Theater (which is now my favorite venue; it is gorgeous, and the acoustics are great). Surprisingly, the XX stole the show; their dreamy, understated sound was actually overwhelming live. Hot Chip was, well, Hot Chip – lots of remixing and almost-80s gyrating. I was pleasantly surprised to see half of the crowd on their feet and dancing, after suffering through other gigs where only a handful of us were going nuts. I ended the night with a $5 bacon dog, bought off a street stall past midnight. It was delicious.

In Redwood City, last week, I walked 20 minutes in the morning cold to eat pie. My friend Hans is in culinary school, and one night he came home with three types of pie – pecan, peach and blueberry, and lemon, IIRC. I have never had American pie (insert all your inappropriate jokes here), and I have to tell you, that was worth the walk. I liked the pecan pie the best.

Walking back, I got stopped by a cop car. The black-and-white pulled over in front of me as I was about to cross the street. The stern-looking female cop asked me where I was going. I felt an overwhelming sense of panic (Did I bring my passport? I didn’t! Oh no – that must be illegal for sure), until she said, in her scary tone, “Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”

It is raining now, and I am waiting for it to die down so I can run the dog. Life here is quiet, but not boring. It’s just… different. I know that when I return to Manila, the culture shock will hit me like a truck. Until then, I’ll just keep my eyes wide open, and my passport close by 😉


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