I never thought I'd say this but after 8 weeks, the Philippines is starting to feel familiar.
On Tuesday morning I had an 'OMG I'm in the Philippines' moment, where I really realised where I was in the world. The street I was strolling down looked nothing like my hometown and yet the metal roofs, coconut-fuelled bonfires and rice covered concrete no longer took me by surprise. It has become a picture painted on my subconscious mind. Shades on and listening to Jack Johnson I suddenly 'woke up' and started to see my environment with new eyes; I noticed the people waving at me from their houses; the young children singing for money; the stray dogs roaming around the road side; the chaos of the traffic where anything goes (any tricycle driver: "why stay on the right side when there's a gap on the left!"); street barbeques selling every sort of meat, including intestine and chicken feet. (NB. The worst has to be a delicacy called balot- which is a duck embryo. So basically you end up eating a baby duck- head, hair and all. Eurgh!! It's dishes like this that make me thankful to have the vegetarian card!)
And that's when it hit me: this weird, wacky and wonderful place has become my home!
I am comfortably uncomfortable.
Still not fitting in or feeling the part and yet I am okay- happy and at home here in Cabiao even if it is not my natural habitat.
I guess this has made me question the whole concept of 'home.' Is it the place, the people or a bit of both? For me, when I say I am missing home, I am referring to the people that make me feel at home. Perhaps this is why Cabiao is slowly starting to feel like a strange kind-of home, because of the love and care I have received from the community. As the saying goes: the home is where the heart is. And there's certainly a lot of heart in this little, loving town.
(NB. Don't worry Mum, I'm still coming home for Christmas!)
P.S. The photo is from the host-home potluck (picnic) last weekend- one, big happy family!!