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Waiting game

We have a few things that need to happen this week.

  1. Internet! Right now the internet is set up next door, where my cousin lives, and while we are able to connect, it’s super damn slow. The local internet company, PLDT, is verifying a few items and hopefully we’ll get set-up this week. It will be a world a difference going from 2 MBPS to 60. Praise be! (For all my Handmaid’s Tale fans.)
  2. Water heater! Everyone takes cold showers here. While it’s nice when it’s 98 degrees out I can’t do it everyday, hindi ko gusto (I don’t like it.) It’s on my to do list and getting one installed this week will be an accomplishment in itself.
  3. Buying a car. We weren’t planning on getting a car while we are here but things change right? I’ll definitely need one to take Teren to and from school, that bus service is not going to work with the amount of travel time involved. Plus, it will give me a bit of freedom to get to places and run errands on my time and not be at the mercy of public transportation. A part of me says we should get something small and practical like a honda civic or something…but Terence found this and now I’m torn. Missing vanlife!
The cutest baby van in all of Cavite.

So aside from the 3 must need to accomplish tasks above, it’s pretty easy living. EXCEPT for all the lines and wait times for everything here, from grocery shopping, banking, and doctor visits!

One of the first things I did when we arrived Manila was opened up an account with BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) figured it would be easier to transfer from our US accounts to a PI account and avoid the international transaction fees, atm fees and withdrawal limits. Thankfully there is a BPI branch here in Kawit which we went to the other day to make a deposit and withdrawal. Unlike the states where you line up at the teller window, here, you take a number and take a seat. When you take that seat, plan to sit for a while which I did. It was probably a 30 minute wait only to find out I was not at the right BPI. I was at a subsidiary of BPI which is for Family Savings Bank customers…argh. The teller was cool and super helpful and told me where the branch I need to go to was. So we drive about 15 minute to the actual Bank of Philippine Islands and like everywhere else, took a number and waiting my turn…an hour and a half later. Holy Jesus Mary, I felt like I won the lottery when my number was called. Made my deposit and received the cash I needed, all in 15 minutes.

Next up…

We were pretty concerned about healthcare and what we would do if we needed medical attention. The process itself was pretty easy and straightforward. Of course just like at the banks, you take a number and wait your turn. There were several steps…the first was letting the nurse receptionist know what we needed to be seen for (a physical for Teren and med certificate stating he was healthy and fit for school, which was one of the requirements of getting him enrolled) then filled out some paperwork, then patiently waited our turn. We met with the pediatrician, answered a few questions and then the physical. She was nice and thorough – she agreed to be our primary for Teren. Easy! We don’t have medical cards for the PI but have coverage through Terence’s work. We do pay in cash for the appointment and submit for reimbursement. It was surprisingly affordable.

Banking and healthcare, yup, the lines and the wait. I suppose you get used to it.

But the grocery lines…I will never understand the set up. There are 3 checkout types:

  1. Basket Carts
  2. Normal shopping carts
  3. Senior, PWD, Pregnant line

I totally get number 3 and give priority to these folks…but let me just step up on my soapbox and talk about number 1 & 2.

For number 1…these are little carts you can place 2 shopping baskets on. For number 2…these are your standard shopping carts. I was at the local grocery store: Save More and got what I needed and headed over to checkout. There unfortunately was only 1 register open for the standard shopping carts, which I had and just like the bank and health clinic, waited patiently for my turn. The guy in front of me had a ridiculous amount of groceries and was taking way longer than expected. Low and behold there were 3 open registers at basket cart checkout so I went over and got in line only to get turned away because I had a normal shopping cart. I asked why I couldn’t check out here since there was NO ONE in line and told her there is only one register available for the “normal shopping cart” line. She continued to show me that this was the basket cart line and she can’t check me out. Now I wasn’t going to start a fight or argue so I walked my ass back to the normal shopping cart line, in the same spot I was in and waited. I suppose the moral of all of this is to follow the rules and when it’s time to shop, use the basket carts.

Tomorrow we are heading to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) to get my drivers license. They cap the number of people they see to 100 so guess what I will be doing after we drop Teren off at school? Wait in another god damn line and wait patiently for my number to be called.

#itsmorefuninthephilippines

Finally settled

I had set a reminder to blog our updates weekly but since landing in Manila, life has been a good busy, hectic at times, but good. We are almost at our 2 month mark in the Philippines but somehow it feels way longer! It’s been an absolute whirlwind and we are loving life.

A few days after arriving Manila, Tara and I were off on our Greece trip.! We spent 2 weeks touring the islands, eating yummy food, drinking wine and beaching. I can’t wait to go back and will be planning a trip for 2020!

We had a slight change in our housing and decided it was better for our family and probably my sanity to live in the house I grew up in for a year in Kawit, Cavite. It is a city an hour south of Taguig (where we were originally going to live.) It is what Terence will refer to as the real Philippines. While I would eventually like to invest in a condo in BGC, Kawit feels more like home. Plus it makes a huge difference to have family close by.

We are pretty much settled in and have somewhat of a normal schedule going. Still waiting for our internet to get installed, water heater for the shower and a few personal items that need to get picked up at the condo. The house is pretty big (for us) and old! The house has also collected many things over the years and all I want to do is purge and clean up! I’ll have to see what I can do here!

It seemed like a daunting task to find a new school for Teren to go to in Kawit as we really only had a couple days to get everything set up with school starting so soon. With a bit of help from my cousin, Jaja, we got to visit a couple schools and decided the International British Academy would be a good fit for him. It’s a bit of a drive from the house but doable and not so bad, 30-40 minutes depending on traffic and weather. On the first day of school, we tested out their bus service, which seemed great up until I rode back with them (had to give the driver directions to the house since it doesn’t show up on google maps/waze) and holy shit. It. Took. THREE. HOURS. to get home. 3 hours and 14 drop offs later, we were the last ones since we live the farthest. I couldn’t imagine making Teren sit in that commute everyday. SO, I’m buying a car and getting my Philippine drivers license. As some of you know, I really don’t enjoy driving but I’m willing to suck it up and drive if it will save Teren from waking up super early (5am) and a 3 hour home commute. My cousin is taking me to look at cars today, hopefully it’s painless and easy!

Oh, Tara made the cut of 23 for the PWNT and will be flying out to Thailand next Tuesday for 2 weeks to compete in the AFF Women’s Championship. I’m a bit jealous that Terence is going but I did have Greece not too long ago so it’s only fair, right?

Tara is almost officially enrolled/registered at De LaSalle Univ. She’s going pre-med and has a spot on the soccer team, GO ARCHERS! School starts mid-September!!!!

Life is good.