Chicago Diaries

7 Things I Miss About Living in the U.S.

For those who doesn’t know, I was fortunate enough to live abroad for about a year and a month for my internship. My placement was in Chicago and I had the best time ever in my life. But now that I am back in the Philippines, I can’t help but miss a few things. Actually, it’s a lot of things but I don’t think I have enough time to enumerate it all. 😅 So here are some:

Freedom

I was all alone for a year. No parents. No relatives. Sure, I got to talk to them via Skype for almost everyday but with the different timezones and whatnot, it’s just hard to keep up so there was no one telling me what to do and what time I should be going home. It was freeing since I haven’t really experienced NOT living with my parents before my internship. But when I came back and had to meet my friends after a long time,  I was set with a curfew. I honestly can’t say I did not expect it coming but to be able to actually experienced it again was quite unbelievable. But really it’s not all about going out and stuff, it’s also about freedom to travel anywhere I wish and whomever I want. There’s also the freedom to make decisions on my own.

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Winter Season

True to its name as the Windy City, Chicago’s wind can be very harsh especially to those from tropical countries like me. I remember my first day of work, I thought I was all covered good for the fall weather and went straight to open the door ready to go to work thinking the cold couldn’t be that bad but as soon as I stepped out of the door, I could hear the loud swishing of the wind. I was so wrong. I never felt so exposed in my life! The wind blew past my whole body as if I was not wearing anything. I immediately went back inside and gather my gloves, scarf and extra jacket. It was probably because I was still adjusting to the harsh weather, but still…poor me. I had to adjust for months for the cold weather. And just when my body was already settling in, I’m back again in my country experiencing heat wave everyday. I realize that if it’s cold, I can at least shield myself by wearing coats and hats and still feel okay but there’s no going around if it’s hot. Unless of course, you install an internal fan in your shirt.

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Dating

I never was the kind of person open in dating other people but that was before I went to Chicago. The first time I decided to meet up with someone, I bought this draft beer at 711 and jugged the whole thing thirty minutes before the meet up. Why the beer? I can never do meet ups with strangers let alone talk with them SOBER. Reckless? Maybe. So yeah, we met at the train station near my office and since we were going the same direction, we rode the train together. The guy was slurring all the time it was so hard for me to make out on what he’s saying. I swear half the time I just nod whenever I felt like he’s done talking. I had an OKAY time and never called the guy again. Nevertheless, it was a first and nice experience I had. Back here, I don’t even dare open Tinder. Yucky. In fact, it seems like my sexual hormones has been shut off the moment I set my foot back in this country. It’s probably because Filipinos don’t interest me that much. I prefer getting to know someone from other places foreign to me. It’s lovely and exciting, for me. 🙂

Stress-free Life

I don’t mean to sound unfair and ungrateful, but with all the pre-exisiting family dramas plus my personal struggles mixing up, they just don’t add up to my list of reasons-to-look-forward-to-when-I-come-back-home/reasons-to-stay. Nu-uh.

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The People

I’m not sure how to explain this without sounding bias. I’ve only been to other Asian countries but never outside the continent before and I can tell you people in the West are very genuine and nice, in general. Of course, I can’t say that much since I’ve only live there—particularly in Chicago—for a year.  🙄 But like honestly, people would open doors for you, even WOMEN would do that. Also, 7 out 10 people would randomly greet or smile at you. Back here if some stranger do that, one would be very skeptical and think maliciously already. It’s funny. And kind of unfair that I’m thinking so negatively for my people but it’s the naked truth.

No One Gives A Fuck

I may be the the type of girl who does not care of what she wears, most of the time. I do get conscious though, when there’s like an event or something—I think that’s only normal—but definitely besides those, I don’t care. As a foreigner, I was conscious at the way I dressed at first but actually you’d be surprise how people don’t give a fuck about what you’re wearing. They dress up however they want. A lot of times, I had encountered males and females having such out-of-this-planet type of colour in their hair and I just found fascinating that they weren’t conscious about it and wish I could have the courage to do something like that. But here in the Philippines, people are just naturally judgy especially women. How did I know that? Well, I may have been one of those women from time to time. Yeah, shame on me.

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My Dream Lives Up In There

Finally, this feels like the main reason why I miss living abroad. I feel like ever since I got home, my life has been on pause. Of course, I know it’s not entirely true because everyday I deal with stuff that makes me grow as a person. Things such as being considered grown up therefore having much responsibilities than before, the realization that I am not the same person as I was before I left and things like that. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy here but I really see myself working my way up somewhere else. That I could accomplish something for myself. But you know what? I don’t dream of being a president of some company. I don’t dream of owning a castle. Although I know I wasn’t born to just pay bills and die, I only want enough for me and my family for the present and the future. And I wish I could say that I could get it all here where I grew up and I probably could easily get it, but still no. It’s already very much tangled up that I’d rather start from the bottom somewhere else far than have everything but happiness. After all, happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road. And my map says the start of that journey is not here.

Yes, those are some that made the list of why I miss living in abroad. I may sound a little into living away home but that does not mean I hate it here. I love it mainly because I have my family here. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the country. Just so happens that I fell deeply in love in other places. So yes, I’m a girl who has such a big lust to get away and see the world.

Photo credits: Pictures taken from https://www.instagram.com/chicagobucketlist/ and Pinterest.com

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Chicago Diaries

Bday Wishes

It was Kumpi’s birthday yesterday. I honestly thought it wasn’t until next month but turned out he needed to greet himself during our conversation as a reminder. Embarrassing. So Kumpi is one of my found friends in Chicago. We had the best time or rather I had the best time whenever we’re together on weekends or whenever. He was my concert buddy during Colbie Calliat’s tour in Chicago. Even though admittedly, he was kind of like half asleep during the whole thing because he found the songs real dull. Then during one of Colbie’s dreamy songs, he just looked at me and I was like dude what and told me he’d do anything this boring if it would me make this happy. Aww. He was the one who dragged me all the way to see the great Niagara Falls. Man, it was magical—both the scenery and the fact that I was with him. We also went to New York City. He had his class nearby and I tagged along and got the chance to walked in my heels—which was kind of a bad idea in the first place— around the city that never sleeps. Anyway, this guy tops everyone I met in Chicago. He is such a responsible guy and I thank him for being sober for so many night outs that we’ve had just so he could take care of my drunken ass every time. I even remember giving him a hard time one night because I was talking non-stop and I know I was starting to get on his nerve. What can I say, I was being such a girl. I love how driven he is in his career that he inspires me to be the better version of me in some ways. I like how casual things are with us, it’s like I don’t even have to make an effort to stand out when I’m with him because he doesn’t mind those things and I also am not the kind of person to change myself just for the other person. So now, I only wish for him to finally get the job and stability that he has so long been working for. I wish that I could have him as a friend for as long as it’s possible. Someday, I hope our paths will cross again because you know…you haven’t even tried eating balot. I know how badly you want to try it. Don’t worry! You’ll have your chance, Meanie.

Love,

Fats

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Chicago Diaries

I think I’ve had enough last night. Had enough of every little thing that has been going around in my life that I broke down in the middle of the night and hosted a self-pity party.

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Chicago Diaries

Flashbacks. Surprise!

Something about tonight reminded me of a memory I was trying so hard to ignore. I’d still say it was one of the bittersweet things to remember.

I had a get together with my old friends today. We went to a friend’s place chitchatting and smoking hookah. It was a typical night out for us. You know, since mostly of them got jobs and their only free time is on weekends so it’s nice to catch up and hang with them from time to time. But even so, I was feeling uneasy especially when Twinnie started playing sad songs. It was not a depressed kind of melody but it was more of an Ed Sheeran kind of music. Perfectly right on the moment, one of the couples were sitting right in front of me displaying affection or whatever. Although it was a very sweet scene to look at—posing a romantic head on shoulder to each other—I tried not to get too deep about it. I guess, I couldn’t help but think about the time I was with someone doing the same thing.

On my last day at Chicago, me and this guy were quietly sitting at the airport waiting for my boarding time or whatever and like I said we were leaning our heads to each other like there was no one around us. Then suddenly, we both looked up to this woman—I think she was a flight attendant—who stopped right in front of us tilting her head and said “Are you two in love?” then waiting for no response she just resumed strolling ahead. We were both silent for a second until he said something like it took him a while to get what the woman said. I just smiled and I mean what could I say.

It was just one of those memories that make me smile whenever I think about it. It may not make sense to you as to why I find it so dearly to my heart but don’t you just have the same moments that you consider special despite no grand gestures included or making no sense whatsoever? Anyway, so the story doesn’t end there and here’s why I find it bittersweet:

We sat for couple more minutes before exchanging our final byes and hugs. Then while he was hugging me, he said I love you. No drum rolls in real life happening, people. Funny thing was, I questioned him three times before I finally understood what he was trying to say. I mean it totally took me by surprise that the guy even knew the word love forgodsake. Well…and that’s the end of the story. I don’t think I want to share the next happenings. 😜It was just pure embarrassment on my part. Although, I wondered if the lady did become a factor of why he said he love me. Was it somehow a push in the back for him to say something so forward? Anywise, I am still convinced that he regretted the second he blurted out those words to me. Maybe he was really feeling it but it was a spur of the moment and no one could really tell the true validity of that statement, right? But it was so sweet of him to say it and I just wasn’t sure of myself why I didn’t say it back. True to my doubts, we never even mentioned another thing about what happened at the airport. It wasn’t that of a big deal, after all.

Triggered memories, spontaneous recollections and sometimes horrible flashbacks could either make you want to hug or strangle somebody. It’s a conflict of both sides so better get ready anytime.

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Chicago Diaries

Right choice?

I wonder what I would be doing now , if I had taken the offer to that school? I hope I made the right choice declining the opportunity given. So here I am, taking no shortcuts and going for the long way. I can do this. 🙂 I made it before, right? 😉

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Chicago Diaries, Family

Everyday Routine

If you must know my employment status, I am throwing it right here. I’m jobless... Not being proud about it or whatever, just tryna start a post. 😫✌🏼

It’s only been two weeks so there’s not much grand update for me. So as I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, I am my baby sister’s personal driver. Every morning I drop her off school and then run some personal errands before picking her up. Then we go straight to my dad’s house and have lunch with him and since Shobe has morning classes only, we spend some time watching movies and sleep after lunch. It would then be time to pick up my brother from school at 5:30pm and the three of us would go home.

Let’s say I don’t do all of those, that would only mean I’d be at Ocampo helping my mom’s business which means I would be the one opening and closing the store while my mom would stay here in Naga and have her day off. That being said, mom would be doing all those stuff mentioned above. Well, except of course, having lunch with dad!

So there you go, pretty much my schedule everyday! I’m not sure of working yet, I’m still trying to figure out things. 💩

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Chicago Diaries, Family, Friends

I am Home! 🇵🇭

It’s been exactly two weeks…

Two weeks since I left the U.S. and arrived home. My mom and two siblings picked me up at the airport. I saw mom first and as soon as I did I cried her name not caring that we’re in the crowd! She did not change at all—same petite and small woman hugged me. We both went straight to the van waiting for us and I was greeted by my cutesy not so little sister at the door! Aww. So cute! She was standing right there with open arms while squealing mommy. I swear that was the moment that I had been waiting for so long. My brother, on the other hand, was sleeping at the back seat but was soon woken up by our noises. He looks chubby now. I guess college could really do that to anyone like it did to me. 😝

It was midnight by the time we reached at my brother’s dormitory so everyone just kind of fell asleep as soon we got settled. The next day, we left Manila and traveled to Bicol. 😁

I welcome myself to Maogmang Lugar! The town was bigger the last time I remember but now everything just looks different. It could be because of the new infrastructures and I couldn’t help but noticed there are a lot of cars! Like I mean, I am sure it wasn’t these much when I left but now it’s crazy! Imagine living in such a small town with so many cars 😓 CONGESTED TRAFFIC EVERYWHERE! Huhu

I visited my relatives and friends within the first week of my arrival and it was good to see them. 😺 Although it’s just been a year, I can say my little sister missed me the most! I spent most of my time now with her. I am her personal driver; I drop her off to school and pick her up. She just can’t be left without me by her side anymore!

My mom has been very sweet about everything. I really felt and still feel very welcome like I had been gone for so long. I feel like the son who returned in the story “The Prodigal Son”. She made sure that I have a new bed, curtains, shelves and other funny things that I don’t think are necessary 😹 Sweetest mother living on earth!

But still, I can’t wait to be back again in abroad. I just miss it, you know. I miss Chicago, my friends, Kumpi and I never though I would say this but I miss the cold weather. 🙁 And both of my parents are just supportive of me going back again and do whatever I want. This just makes me feel so blessed despite everything that’s been going on around. It’s like I have a total complete free will and all I got to do is move and decide—which I haven’t started doing yet. But like my mom said, one step at a time. After all, all I have right now is time. 

Oh well… We’ll see, won’t we? 😉

For now, I am enjoying my stay here and making the most out of it!

Adios!

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