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“Ma’am, you need to come over here now. Edward has died”, said my husband’s live-in housekeeper over the phone, almost exactly two years ago today. Edward and I had not lived together for several years, but we were still legally married. I had planned to visit him in two days’ time. Now he was dead? My knees buckled and I had to sit down. “What happened?”, I asked. “I don’t know, Ma’am,… Read More

He’s not much to look at right now and maybe he never will be. The fact is, he may not live through the week. But then again, he might. I’ve named him Private Ryan because he’s in a battle to survive and he definitely needs saving. Private Ryan lives in my neighborhood, though in an area where I rarely travel. I saw him last week and was horrified and angry. “Oh, you… Read More

The Filipina maid walks into the living room, interrupting the conversation between India and her husband, Edward. “Sir”, Leah says to Edward, while looking at India, “the woman is here for your blow job.” India is not surprised by this announcement, though she thinks that one o’clock in the afternoon is an odd time to be having oral sex. The day is blistering hot. Who feels like copulating in this weather? She… Read More

“Wow, you’ve lived on this island for fourteen years! You must really fit in — I mean, you’re not a gringo anymore” said a vacationing American to me recently. I had to think about that for a few seconds, before I answered. “No, I don’t fit in at all”, I said. “We’ll always be gringos here. But I guess I’ve been a pretty successful gringo — I mean, I’m still here.” That… Read More

I’m not sure how I have come to be so deeply connected to Asia. Yesterday, as I sat in the back of a taxi on my way to Manila airport, I saw the taxi’s reflection on the side of a mirrored building. In the background were a Bank of the Philippine Islands and a couple of scrawny palm trees. Wow, that’s ME in that car, I thought. How on earth did I… Read More

I thought you might like to know how we fared during Typhoon Hagupit. First, let me just say that typhoons suck. A typhoon will materialize out of nowhere, march across your island and smash everything in its path — then it will disappear like a melted ice cube, leaving you cleaning up the shredded mess that used to be your lovely tropical garden. Or worse. Much worse. In the Philippines, it’s not… Read More

UPDATE Sunday, December 7th 3:45 p.m. We are still waiting… Typhoon Ruby made landfall on the eastern side of the Philippines late last night and is very, very slowly crossing the country, dumping far too much rain on areas prone to flooding and landslides. I have no idea how much damage the storm has caused or if there has been loss of life. On the bright side, the storm’s wind strength has… Read More

It feels like I’ve been hurtling through time and space lately. Always on airplanes, always saying hello to someone or someplace — and of course, always saying goodbye. The celebration of a greeting is never without the sound of a clock ticking, a reminder that there will be sadness when we part. Life is full of circles and I need to remind myself that endings are not the end. How can we… Read More

If you were to ask India to describe her ex-landlord, she would likely say that he’s an aggressive little runt who looks like a cross between a Chihuahua and a pot-bellied pig. She would then laugh and say that she meant no offense to either of these fine animals. India, in animal terms, is definitely a cat. And though she may have grown a little lazy and soft in recent years, due… Read More

And now, for something a little different from my usual posts… Last night I was in Hong Kong, reading an excerpt from my published story, “The Rainiest Season”, at a book launch party (that’s me in the photo, signing books). I thought I would share the same piece with all of you. It’s a very personal, true account of the breakdown of my marriage in the Philippines ten years ago. This excerpt… Read More

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