Just a Quick Update

I never did thank all of the people who wrote to me after my previous blog post, with encouragement, advice, links, etc. It made me feel incredibly loved- to hear from my friends all over the world- people I don’t necessarily talk to everyday or even ever month but who have shaped who I am, how I think and how I feel. So, thank you.

The past month has gone by in a blur. A trip to Banaue, to the North of the island happened almost on a whim one weekend. We took a taxi to Manila and bought a 10 hour long bus ticket to visit the famed rice terraces. Although the clouds were out, and we got rained on a little bit, the adventure was great. The second day, we visited Batad and hiked down to the city. A really beautiful place- the peace of which was marred only by the incredible amounts of European tourists who were very disrespctful of the Filipinos there and of the environment in general. One of the things that continues to shock me here is the number of people- locals and foreigners- who smoke, without a care of those around them who have made a choice to be tobacco free.

We also took a weekend trip to Kuala Lumpur to see my aunt and uncle there— I haven’t seen them since I was 5! It was a lovely weekend trip. The city of KL is wonderful, very cosmopolitan and the food was great. We went to see where the capital building have been moved to and took a wonderful boat tour. We also went to see the giant golden statue and the Hindu temples of Batu Caves. Although it was very short, we had a wonderful weekend and would not mind going back again soon!

I am now alone in Quezon City, Ryan has left for Cambodia where is the project manager for a new marine conservation NGO called Shallow Waters. The area is unexplored in terms of marine biodiversity and he will be able to dive a lot more than he has been able to here. I was (and still am!) very sad to see him go but am excited to go visit him in a week’s time. We went to Sabang, Puerto Galera the weekend before he left. The diving there was pretty great but I will not be returning because the atmosphere there was a little bit too red-light district in my opinion. There are lots of things that I can handle but watching 80 year old white men being trashy and perverted with lithe Filipina women is just not my style. I have nothing against choices for promiscuity (if made personally) but getting eyed at by very drunk, very old men is probably one of the things that makes me disdain a person the most. On our way back, many of them putting their wedding rings back on might I add! Infidelity is something I do not tolerate very well.

That is about it really. I go to work (and often work at home). My roommates are great, we cook together often. The little compound we live in has many other young people and we hang out in the evenings which is great for fighting off the lonely blues. I have started doing an online introduction to yoga and meditation class which is going really well. I try to eat out less now that Ryan is gone and cook a lot more- and am relying almost exclusively on delicious fruit and vegetable smoothies- all fresh and local which makes me very happy. I still get the blues, especially now that Ryan is gone, fighting the wave of depression is hard. My sister Jess (not my real sister, we lived together for so long that that is what I call her) is in Mali right now where she was working as a midwife on an exchange program. With the fighting that has started there, she is not able to leave the country and so I worry about her a lot but she is strong and I pray that she is safe. My research work is going slowly but I have no doubt it will work out. My wedding plans are also going slowly but as long as Ryan and I are in the same place and can acknowledge our love, that will be super. We just found out that he will be teaching in India starting in September which is very exciting! I also have a potential offer there so we are looking forward to being newly weds in India.

That is all for the time being, I just wanted to give a broad update of what was going on in my life. Thanks for following!

One thought on “Just a Quick Update

  1. Raïsa,

    Je suis très contente d’avoir de tes nouvelles – which sound good, I think, considering the circumstances ! Je sais que tu es forte et que tu es une vraie battante – même seule (c’est à dire, sans ton amoureux, tu arrives à surmonter les difficultés : je vois que tu as trouvé des moyens qui vont t’aider : yoga, méditation et une bonne alimentation… Je pense à toi et à Jess et j’espère qu’elle pourra sortir du Mali rapidement. Pour ton travail, je te souhaite bon succès (mais je sais que tu vas réussir ! ) et pour vos préparations de mariage – et bien, je suis certaine que tout sera prêt à temps ! J’ai pensé à toi (et à Jackie, à vrai dire – pour moi tu es une sorte de réincarnation de Jackie…) dimanche passé et jeudi à la grande manifestation des étudiants québécois qui ont pris la rue pour se battre pacifiquement pour une société québécoise plus juste, plus équitable, où l’éducation sera accessible à tous, peu importe si leurs familles sont riches ou non. J’imagine que toi aussi, tu aurais participé…

    Prends soin de toi !

    amitiés

    Monika

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