Stereotypical Summers

After a long winter and a spring season that can never make up its mind what climate it wants to be, summer is a much anticipated time for all types of people. Whether school, work, or pleasure opportunities, many of these plans have been in the making for months, while others are more spontaneous.  Take a look at your own group of friends and you may find those who fit these categories.

Summer Sales

It’s time to dust off those uni-colored polos (typically orange or gray) and matching snapbacks.  The field is white, all ready to harvest those commissions that will nail you the top salesman award at the end-of-year cruise.  Although the days are long and hard, the weekends provide the opportunity to show off what you’ve accomplished at the gym over the past nine months; documented through pictures at the beach, skins vs. skins volleyball games, and even more time at the gym (don’t forget to flex!).  When the summer is over, with all the money you made, you don’t have to worry about working for the rest of the year.  Focus on the essentials like getting you and your bros to the gym on a scooter, house parties, and hot tubbing. #squadgoals


On the way to the hot tub after a clutch day of sales!

Study Abroad 

Not to be confused with a sudden increase in European art or Asian literature, a study abroad program provides students the opportunity to study things they have relatively no interest in or will not use (obviously not in all cases) while simultaneously receiving a cultural experience by being able to take pictures next to well-known historical icons.  Imagine, a whole summer of asking people: “Will you take a picture of me while I stare pensively at something vague in the background?”


For a great Instagram account making fun of these types of pictures, follow @socalitybarbie

Or taking a picture every time you’re on a plane.


Airplane wings. Letting the world know you didn’t ride first class

Other opportunities abound such as finding love in a foreign place with those in your group.  Back home, it was easy for the person you liked to give you the slip when they didn’t want to date you.  Now they’ll be stuck with you for six weeks in close quarters with no chance of escape.  Act now!  You’ll be all the rage back home among your friends as you show off all your pictures and all the places you went.  Just hope that they don’t ask you about the artistic style of Botticelli during the Renaissance, you weren’t paying attention.


Congratulations!  You’ve decided to get your act together, stop frolicking abroad, and realized that your sex appeal to do sales disappears in your 30’s.  You’re thinking long term, which has landed you this prestigious internship.  If you’re anything but a business major, you’re likely staying local.  Unless you get with an up and coming non-profit based out of New York, then you move out, live in a van, and share a community garden with everyone else since it’s unpaid.  If you’re a business major, you’ve gone through a vigorous vetting process to get there (unless your dad knows people).  Now, with your overly-tight suit, faded haircut, and skinny ankles, you’re ready to move to a foreign land (sometimes as far as Phoenix or Dallas) and running endless excel formulas and cleaning out companies’ databases (aka grunt work).  Hopefully you get a job out of it.  If not, you can at least do sales until you hit your 30’s while you think about your next step.

Going Nowhere

This isn’t to say you’re not ambitious, but perhaps none of these circumstances apply to you.  Either you don’t fit the summer sales mold, you’re not far enough in school to do an internship, or your parents won’t pay for another study abroad.  This leaves you in the exact same spot you’ve been for the last year.  But you need to show all your traveling friends that you can have a good time too.  One popular past time is slacklining – because nothing says daredevil like walking a foot-and-a-half above a grassy hill.  Hammocking is another enjoyable past time.  Set up a hammock and take a nap until a like-minded person passes by and asks inquisitively “You hammock too?”  They grab their hammock, then you are both hammocking.  When you ask someone to take a picture of you hammocking so you can Instagram it, make sure your instafriends don’t recognize the hammock is set up in your front yard.  They’ll think you’re trying too hard.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with fun summer ideas: house parties, bonfires, mocktails, card games, Taco Tuesday, etc.  Just don’t get too carried away with ideas:

It’s not riding an elephant though . . .

*As a disclaimer, I have been a participant of some sort in all these areas . . . which means I can make fun of them.

Life as an Expat

I don’t consider myself to be a real expatriate.  I love America too much to defect.  My time is also quite a bit shorter than other expats here in the Philippines.  However, for the past week-and-a-half, I have resided in the thick of Manila, a bustling metropolis of 6.5 million people, and gone about my days as if I resided here.  Although I served a 2-year mission here, quite a few activities were prohibited, which are now free game.  A few of these experiences have yielded humorous and sometimes uncomfortable results as I have continued to learn more about the culture I love here.

One of the biggest differences between myself and many of the other foreigners here is that I am not more than 60-years-old with a wife a third my age, or DOM (Dirty Old Men) as we affectionately refer to them.  However, as I walked through the mall this past week with my friend Marje, I couldn’t help but feel extremely self-conscious that I had taken the very form of those I detested.  What do DOM do with their time? Hang out at the mall drinking coffee.  I was hanging out at the mall eating Dairy Queen!  A close comparison!  I wanted to yell at all the wandering eyes “We’re not married! Can’t you see she’s older than me (that’s hard to see since I tower over everyone by a head)! Stop judging me and let me eat my ice cream!”  Even if I was old and fat, I don’t think I could ever become a DOM.  The shame (365 million people in our country and you can’t find 1 person to marry you!).

That same day, we went to go see the new Mission Impossible film.  The Philippines does well enough in English that they take their American films in English with no subtitles.  Without sounding too much like a movie review, I’ll say that I enjoyed the film very much.  It was laced with humor; some subtle and some not-so-subtle.  It was this cleverly written subtle humor which proved problematic for me.  I laughed out loud at many of these moments, as I’m sure most people would at an American cinema.  Unfortunately, this humor was above most of the audience here, making me the only one to laugh in the movie.  After a few instances, I just wanted to yell to everyone “Oh COME ON! It’s funny!”

One thing that the movie theaters do correctly is the food they allow you to bring in.  As much as I love America, I will never pay for theater food that costs more than the movie you are paying to see, and outside food is not allowed.  In the theater lobby here, there is a Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Dairy Queen in the same stall.  What could be better than enjoying a movie while eating a taco or a pizza, or a pizza taco (it’s a thing).  Granted, I still sneak these things into American theaters.  The only difference being that I wouldn’t have to saran wrap a pizza and tape it around my waist or stuff other food under my clothes for fear of getting caught.  It’s no fun trying to explain to the manager why I have Ben and Jerry’s “Cinnamon Buns” trickling down my leg.

Enjoy your movie with a pizza, or a burrito

Enjoy your movie with a pizza, or a burrito

Since the city is much too large to understand their bus system (please just get a train), I have been taking taxis to get around.  Growing up in a smaller city, traffic is one thing I have never had to deal with.  I firmly believe now that traffic would be a dealbreaker for me in any city I live in.  Google Maps has forsaken me.  It tells me only 15 minutes to my destination, but I arrive an hour later.  I now only use maps to determine distance and then determine if I should triple or quadruple the ETA   Out of curiosity, I walked 6 kilometers to a clinic I was visiting and took a taxi back.  It took me 55 minutes to walk and about 70 minutes and 200 pesos to take a taxi.  To walk in the insufferable heat for free and arrive sooner, or pay up and move at a sluggish rate? That is the question.

Many of my destinations consist of me eating something (if you’ve learned ANYTHING from reading this blog, you would know that).  I have been so confused at the attention they give the food here.  For example, doughnuts are taken very seriously.  Hands are never used; instead, the finest silver is provided.  Because nothing screams classy liking eating your custard creme with a fork.  They are also a complete meal.  I was surprised to learn in the states that dinner crepes were a thing.  How about a tuna filled eclair?  Or perhaps a glazed with your corn beef.

Doughnuts: please take them seriously

Doughnuts: please take them seriously

I love learning about different cultures .  Every day is an opportunity to learn something new and unique.  With as much love as I have for the Philippines though, I will never share their love Air Supply.