When you make a big life decision like, say, move to the Philippines, you expect to grow in deep and meaningful ways. And someday when I’m updating my LinkedIn profile or interviewing for a job, I’ll probably highlight my ability to navigate different cultures or think quickly on my feet. Now, that’s all nice and it displays a special skill set, but it doesn’t explain this whole experience quite right. The truth is, half of the time, I’m just fumbling my way through differences in culture, commerce, and even climate. And the best thing that’s helped me survive – and learn to enjoy – my new life in the Philippines, is my mantra to just go with it.
So, when I’m offered a plate of sizzling sisig – fried bits of choice pig parts (think: ears, cheeks, and other parts of the face), I’ve just got to go with it and give it a try.
Or when I need to hop in a tricycle to get across town, eat an entire meal using a banana leaf as a plate and my fingers as utensils, brave the blazing tropical heat in full business attire, or make tawad for goods in the local market, I go with it, copying what the locals do and figuring it out as I go.
I’ve been here for a year and a half and still encounter moments that shake my nerves or leave me scratching my head. But I’ve learned that the more I cling to my ego or compare things to my life in the States, the less room there is to soak up new experiences – or at least collect moments to share on my blog! Basically, a big does of humility and just pinch of desire for adventure go a long way.
And for the record, sisig is amazing. Especially with beer. Eating with your hands? Awesome. Riding a tricycle through Chinatown? Not going to lie…it’s pretty scary.
So, the next time I’m talking to a business partner about Life in the Philippines, I probably won’t go into some of those nitty gritty details. But, since we’re friends here on Mango Mornings, you can catch some of that on my recent trek to Mt. Batulao, where my hiking group and I wandered through a sleepy farm town, slopped through ankle-deep mud, came face to face with some water buffaloes, and of course, reveled in some of the the most fantastic views that the Philippines has to offer.