Wednesday, January 04, 2006

coming home

Well, miraculously, Nikki and I managed to pack everything into 2 suitcases, 4 balikbayan boxes, 2 handcarry strollers, 1 baby bag, and 1 laptop bag. We weighed everything and as expected, the damn books take up the bulk of the weight, with Sage's stuff (toys, dresses, gifts) and pasalubong rounding up the balance. So I distributed the weight among all the luggage we had and somehow made it work (it's amusing to note that Northwest Airlines exacts a maximum of 50lbs weight per piece of luggage for everyone except those travelling to the Philippines - we have a weight allowance of 70 lbs per luggage, which is why we managed to cart off everything).

So in a few hours, we do everything in reverse. We head on out of Palm Coast at around 4am to get to the airport at Jacksonville. From Jacksonville, we fly to Michigan then take the long haul to Nagoya, Japan, and from there to sweet polluted congested lovely Manila, losing a day in the process.

This was a great trip, and I enjoyed myself more than usual. For one thing, I actually kept within budget and managed not to spend all my dollars inspite of the temptations of all the different branches of Barnes & Noble we savaged. I also bonded with my in-law family here, with Nikki and most especially with Sage, who has turned out to be quite a seasoned traveller. Most of the people we met thought she was at least 5 years old, given her vocabulary and expressiveness. But I am especially delighted with her sense of humor, in her ability to crack jokes of her own devising and her capacity to laugh at her own silliness at times.

So it's goodbye once again to suburbia, to this place of endless highways and interstates and mindnumbing distances, to the vast tracks of forests, swamps and empty spaces and sparse population, to the stunning laidbackness and cell phones used to actually talk instead of text, to the hundreds of channels on the TV and the funky commercials, to the Publix, Walmarts and other supermarkets that offer the most interesting things, to the supersized resto portions and to the all the lobsters, steaks and $30 meals (plus 18% gratuity) I can never afford on my own, to the abundant running hot water and cool climes, and to the wonderful post office that makes you want to find a reason to keep on snail-mailing; goodbye, farewell, goodbye.

I'd trade all of you anyday for my Manila.

Bye for now - see you guys later.

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Goodbye mini-soft drinks


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