30 January 2017: Stopover in Taipei

It’s 2:18 PM in an airport in Taipei (1:18 AM back in New York City) and I’m sitting on air conditioning vents by glass windows looking out at planes and runways. My ass is cold. Compared to Manila, Taipei is chilly. It’s around the 8th hour of a 13-hour stopover gracias to a cancellation. Son of a bitch! Then comes the 16-hour flight back to New York City. Mother…!

There’s an increasing urgency to defecate right now, but I dislike using public bathrooms. I’m not the typical American who wipes and be done with it. I like to wash. It’s a shame I don’t know how to use tabo. (Has any Filipino family accidentally used tabo to pour gravy at the dinner table? I think of stuff like this.) I have OCD-ish behavior – “obsessions” (how do I do cross-outs on WordPress?) – that compels me to shower after every time I shit because I’m paranoid of the stench following me. Or I might have made a spread to my lower back. (If I have traveler’s diarrhea five times a day, I shower five times a day, which can be exhausting.) I’m going to the toilet maybe two hours before the flight.

A voice speaks overhead in a foreign voice. Taiwanese? Chinese? They mentioned “Tokyo”. Japanese for Japanese passengers? English now. Back to Japanese. Or is it Chinese? It’s repetitive and has been distracting me from my reading. I finally finished Oscar Wao by the way. It took me about four months. The book was originally assigned in class to be read in the span of… four weeks. It’s not easy being an English major especially when you don’t know how to manage time like myself. I don’t like the book by the way. I can’t relate to Dominicans.

So my girlfriend and I left Manila at 3 AM this morning. I’ve had little sleep and am overdosing on caffeine. My three-week vacation was good. “Good? That’s it?” 3.5 stars out of 5 stars if I can put it that way. Every vacation has its ups and downs, and the downs were enough to ruin some days.

Traveler’s diarrhea.

Getting teased for not being able to speak Tagalog.

Not being able to escape to the beach everyday.

But I felt like I learned a lot from this trip. Before getting a Filipina girlfriend, I used to believe that the Philippines was nothing special.

“They copy Americans.”

“Filipino movies have too much drama and crying.”

“My Filipino family is the most annoying family on Earth.”

But now, I could say something else. It’s always nice to be enlightened. I can say now that Filipino people are intelligent people (except for my family). They speak multiple languages. Their history is interesting and full of heroes and betrayal. The people are cool and all the things I wish to be, like social and collectivistic. And they don’t take things for granted.

So I feel a little changed returning to the United States. I just hope the U.S. is still there now that Trump is President.

What’s with the travel ban on Muslims?


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