Week 19 was a very strange week. I came back from my weekend trip to Baguio, only to receive a 24 hour notice that the boss’ wife and children would be arriving at the office/condo and everything needed to be ready for their arrival. For those who don’t know yet, I am living in a condo which also happens to be the office where my spouse works with 5 other employees. The little family arrived safely in Manila, after missing their flight. That is, not without my getting frantic emails from the husband. I soon learned the toddler (A, 4 years old) had been sick the whole way from Bangkok airport to Manila. He ended up being quite sick, which is what kept me busy most of the week. This worrisome illness was interspersed by my hiking mount Ugo, only to come back last week to a (still) sick toddler. Fear not he eventually got better. I will post my experience of Mount Ugo in a separate entry, as it represent such a break from the rest of my week. It was a weird week with ups and downs and nothing going as planned. But i would not have changed it for the world.
But before the family arrival and sick bed shenanigans….
July 12: I found the Queers!
I finally found the Queers! In Pasig (the Manila district where I live)! I’ve been complaining a lot about the traffic here and how hard it makes it to get around. What a pleasure then to discover that the Queer hideout I have been dreaming of should happen to be a 40 minute WALK away from my apartment. This walking distance makes a huge difference, given Manila’s horrid traffic. Walking means I pretty much always know how long it will take me to get there, as opposed taking public transportation wherein traffic can alter the duration by hours.
I’d been looking online to find such a local hangout FOREVER. I began by finding one place very near to my place, a lesbian bar with seemingly great politics (not all LGBT bars are created equal). However, upon looking closer, I could not find any recent information. I messaged the owners of the FB page and they announced to me that sadly, the bar in question had closed down. They recommended this place Anu’man’s instead. I went on Monday, but they were closed. This is a common theme to my trip (at least the Manila portion: Anais attempts to go to a place, only to discover it’s closed down or not open on “Mondays” (or whatever day it happens to be.)) However, instead of being an other frustrating let down, this time, it didn’t;t matter at all because….it turns out I have found this lovely laid-back trendy Cafe/restaurant/bar hideout right in PASIG. After walking for nearly an hour yesterday, (without really getting lost might I add, which in my life is a HUGE success), I stumbled upon signage for Anu’man. I saw entrances for various shops in a row, interspersed by a narrow, dark-ish, alley. I would have missed it had someone not walked into that alley as I was looking around, looking pretty hip and self-assured. So, I peered in, only to discover it was lined with cute little shops and Anu’man’s! As mentioned, Anu’man was closed, but I found this super cute, trendy Cafe called “United”. I sat there and wrote instead.
So Tuesday, with the official opening hours of Anu’man memorized, I went back. It was pretty quiet, but i was happy to have found this secret little hide out. I will definitely be going there again.
July 13-15: A sick baby put everything on hold.
As mentioned earlier, “L”, the charming company president’s wife, “T” the ridiculously polite and well behaved 8 year old and “A” the adorable, funny 4 year old arrived on Wednesday. “A” spiked a 39.5 fever by the second day of their stay. He was till puking as he had been on the first day. L and I were worried, but we didn’t start to consider the need to bring him to the hospital before his fever hit 40.5 and his skin was almost too hot to touch for long. I’m not a parent and I was ill prepared for the calm panic that comes from caring for a sick toddler. L was asking my advice, I imagine because it must be hard to make decisions about your child’s health without the other parent being present. Man, my heart went out to her, travelling alone with two kids and one sick.
Relevant to this mini adventure is that I am a trained social worker. I have advocated increased access to health care for marginalized individuals. So, I speak doctor short hand and I navigate emergencies pretty well. But, it’s always so different when you are actually close to someone who is sick. And, it turns out, my skills and focus go into overdrive when a baby is involved. What ensued: staying up for 24 hours helping L and A get to the hospital and conveying clear informaiton to the health professionals; coming home and getting down to the business of bringing the fever down; regular emailing, reassuring the over-seas parent. What a boring, scary whirl-wind that was!
It was also a powerful reminder of gratitude, for the quality and accessibility of health care at home. The hospital we went to had a specialized children’s ER, where only 2 patients waited before us. That is, most families can’t afford health care here, resulting in a macabre and total disgorging of health care usage.
After of few days of that, it was time for me to go hiking again. More on that, in my next post.
It was a weird, queer week and I was glad to get out.