Trip Start Oct 22, 2010
50Trip End Sep 01, 2011
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Aunt Julie prepared a feast and we ate ourselves silly all weekend while a typhoon blew through. Menudo, beef tapa, boneless bangus (milkfish), chicken macaroni salad, ginataang bilo bilo. Uncle Boy shared his Alfonso XO brandy and Red Horse beer paired with pulutan I had never tried, penoy (duck eggs) and day-old-chick feet fried and dipped in vinegar with chilis. I was skeptical, but it turns out day-old-chick feet aren't too shabby.
We spent the night gathered around the table, sharing stories and enjoying our last time together for a while
The next morning a break in the rain afforded a better view of Arayat and an opportunity to harvest Uncle Boy's fruit trees. Avocado, papaya, guava, guyabano (thought to cure cancer), fresh chilis, malunggay leaves...beautiful fresh fruit. Standing by Uncle Boy's rice paddies, listening to the stalks whisper in the wind, I realized how much I would miss the Philippines, and my new family here.
It was so unexpected, our time in the Philippines this year. For Dei, a job in Manila reconnected her with family and friends after five years in the States. For me, it was an amazing opportunity to learn about my bride-to-be's country and culture, food and language. I met friends from all stages of her life, and learned more about the girl who grew up to be Dei. And to be invited into Dei's family so warmly is easily among the most rewarding experiences of my life.
In a few hours Dei and I will board a plane and fly back to the good ol' US of A. As I write, I'm surrounded by suitcases with stressed zippers, bulging backpacks, and stray items that will surely fit somewhere. It's the end of our year in Asia.
It's time to go home.