a day in the life

I’ve been here for ten weeks. Ten whole weeks of figuring out how to get a stronger, more stable internet connection. Ten whole weeks of living off of and rationing 700 megabytes per day. Now that I have it, my days still haven’t really changed probably because the data is prepaid for a certain amount (10GB for 10 days) and I don’t really want to spend a lot of money on buying more. I wasn’t aware of how much data I consumed until now. But that’s boring, let me get to the slightly less boring stuff.

Here’s a day in the life! (Sidenote: all of our meals are cooked and eaten outside.)

My house was built by my dad in the early 80s. It’s gone through some rough times and we’re slowly renovating it but it still looks the same. My mom loves orchids and you can tell since they line the front of the house.

Home sweet home. 

We live on a farm 4-5 hours north of Manila, near the coast. The farm itself used to have corn among other things but now it’s filled with mango trees. I was too young to find out what my dad had planned for the farm but he had planted the trees too close and mostly them had to be cut down. I think the type of mango is called Pico, but I’m not sure. My uncle is the newest caretaker here when my all of us are in California. He’s amazing because he was a farmer so the farm is actually being used as a farm. He’s planted string beans (which are now dead because the season is done), calabash, okra, kangkong (water spinach), bitter melon, petsay (snow cabbage), papaya, and soon eggplants.

Mango tree! It’s blurry, my bad.

Our meals are all cooked in what is called a “dirty kitchen.” We don’t have a gas tank inside so all our meals are cooked over a stove that uses wood. Of course it’s outside because of the smoke and most of the food also smells. The food is delicious, don’t get me wrong, the odor just sticks to practically everything. Tanks of gas do exist here, they’re just expensive.

The “dirty kitchen” featuring the cat and one of the puppies.
The stove. The wood is from fallen mango trees.

Now for my daily routine. I get up around 7. As soon as I walk outside, I’m usually greeted by the dogs (and cat). Depending on if we have something to cook for breakfast, I will either have tea with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or tea with actual food.

Dogs! Brother and sister but they don’t have names, just “the one with two spots” and “the one with one spot”
Fried rice, egg, tuyo (fish)

I almost always end up falling asleep again after breakfast. If not, my phone keeps me company, watching Netflix or reading travel related articles, and lurking on the multiple SK groups I’ve joined on Facebook. One of the groups is a volunteering group for an animal shelter in the city I’m going to live in and they recently posted pictures of their walk with the dogs and there’s SNOW ON THE GROUND. I’m so excited.

Lunch is almost always around 12 unless we had bread for breakfast, then it’s around 10:30. Filipinos cannot not eat rice for every meal, so if we had bread for breakfast, that means lunch is going to be early to compensate for not eating rice. Yes, I’m basically eating rice three times a day practically everyday and guess what, I’ve actually lost weight. The food here is less sugary and less fatty and more fibery, but also more salty. After lunch, everyone takes a nap.

Rice with uh..small shrimp(?), and another dish with eggs, tomato, and fried fish

The time spent between lunch and around 4 o’clock is spent on my phone, yet again. Or watching a movie, or reading. But around 3 is what we call merienda, not at all different from the Spanish merienda. A lull in the day to have a small snack a couple of hours before dinner. Merienda consists of coffee or juice and some sort of snack. I’ve started water coloring in a “calming coloring book” because I finally found it. They’re actually postcards and I want to mail them out soon.

Mango and bagoong alamang

We have dinner between 5 and 6, and sometimes I’m wolfing it down because there are a ton of mosquitos! But if there aren’t, or if I’m completely covered, I take my time. Once dinner is done, everyone comes inside the house, I shower and get ready for bed while mom, aunt, and uncle watch tv until they fall asleep. My “winding down” is watching Netflix. I know, not really productive.

Rice with squid adobo

My days at home are spent eating and being on my phone. I don’t like going out into the world because then I’ll spend money and I need to keep to my budget. The less I go out, the less I spend. But of course, I get cabin fever and I’ve gone out with my mom to go see movies and have lunch in Olongapo. Unfortunately, that trip is a 2 hour bus ride both ways.

I have four weeks left and I’m not feeling the pressure of “omg, why didn’t I use all those apps I downloaded to learn Korean” yet. But now that I am down to the wire, I am trying to get it together and learn more Korean and read more and be more productive. And update this blog now that the wifi is stronger.


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