Sunday, August 31, 2008

Melancholy

Lately, I am noticing myself so uninspired and just trying to exist. My creativity seems like caught in a quagmire of everyday life. At times, I felt trapped in a tragedy of middle class America which include working, paying your bills, looking forward to weekends and retirement then die. You can add getting married, having children, living in suburbia, and owning 2 cars. I know lots of people will be happy to have that life. I should not be complaining. At least, I have a job, a home and good husband.

For last couple of weeks, I have been dreaming of Philippines. Well, not exactly Philippines but everything seems like Philippines. I was listening one Saturday to Rick Steves, the travel guru in National Public Radio. In that particular program, he and his Italian guest were discussing about Sicily. That night I had a dream that I was on a bus trip in Sicily but the surroundings looked like we were in Cubao with its dilapidated shanties, sari-sari store, young coconut (buko) stand and a McDonald's. The only Italians in my dream were the policemen eating pasta at McDonald's. Then, the other night I dreamt of trying to catch a bus to go somewhere I don't remember. In my dream, I was outside Garden Village, the place where I grew up, and then this big camper bus driven by an American woman stopped and let me on. There, I found my sister and our school bus seatmate back when we were in elementary. Through the bus windows, I could see mountains like the ones in Rocky Mountain National Park. The woman drove a short distance and when we got to Phase 3 of Garden Village, she stopped and asked us to get out. Then, I realized, we did not really need to hitch-hike because I have a car and I can drive. Then I woke up feeling relieved.

I probably miss the Philippines. But what is there for me? Probably nothing! Most of the time I romanticize living in the Philippines. The thought of white sand beaches, coconut and mango trees, tropical fruits, sampaguita, warm rainy days and Filipino foods is enough for me to feel homesick. After eleven years, I, sometimes, forget the reality of living in the Philippines -- pollution in Manila, difficulty in landing a job, poverty, government corruption, traffic, etc. Friends and family from home tell me repeatedly how lucky I am to be here and that I am in a greener pasture. I feel lucky and I try not to take what I have for granted. However, inside of me, there is this urge to do more and to learn more. Of what? I don't know. The sad thing is I don't know myself. Did I lose myself in this quagmire called middle-class America?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rocky Mountain Vacation

These are just some of the highlights of our Rocky Mountain National Park vacation:
  • Driving about 700 miles one way and trying to stay awake by listening to books on CD's.
  • Driving through the entire length of southern part of Nebraska.
  • Driving through curvaceous roads surrounded by delicate rocky mountains.
  • Finishing the 3-day planned camping trip.



  • Telling ghost stories and playing UNO in the tent while waiting to fall asleep.
  • Using a bucket as a commode as we were too afraid to walk outside our tent in the middle of the night for fear of encountering a bear.
  • Having a nice mountainous view to see 1st thing in the morning.
  • View from our tent.


  • Cooking by using woods and small gas grill. Next time, we'll invest on stove.
  • Hiking uphill and arriving in our lake destinations.



  • Admiring the beautiful and the mountainous terrain of the Park.
  • Dream Lake

  • Shopping in Estes Park for souvenirs and food.
  • Estes Park

  • Breathing in the fresh, cool mountain air.
  • Driving to the comfort station (as we were too fatigued to walk) to wash our dishes and brush our teeth. Next time, we should specify a campsite closer to the comfort station. Bathroom is not the same as comfort station as we learned. Bathrooms typically do not have running water. It is like a port-a-pot. Water stations are usually by the bathrooms but you are not allowed to do any washing there to prevent contamination; it is only for drinking water. You can do dishes in your site but you have to throw the gray water in a designated area, so bears will not smell food.
  • Meeting nice people whom we will most likely never see again.
  • Surviving a hail storm and learning our lesson to dress in layers and bring a poncho or even start earlier in the day as it storm most likely in the afternoon.

video