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I have just resurfaced from a horrendous ordeal — which is the reason there have been no blog posts for a while. Some of you may remember from an earlier post (“Homecoming” in July ) that the owner of our house gave us three months’ notice that he would be moving to the Philippines from Australia in October. And yes, this is now October. I always knew that we could only stay until the owner retired… Read More

I was flat broke. My estranged husband controlled the purse strings and since he had run off with the maid, those strings had been pulled tight. I was so broke that I hadn’t left southeast Asia in five years. New clothes? Only in my dreams. When I lost my sunglasses while swimming in the South China Sea, I was left squinting in the bright tropical sun for more than six months until… Read More

I want to move to Bali. I’ve come here on holiday three years in a row and it’s absolutely the most perfect place I’ve ever seen. The people are lovely, the scenery is stunning, the food is delicious — I just can’t say enough about this wonderful island. I can’t wait to leave behind the hassles and irritations of life in the Philippines. This could be a new beginning for me, a… Read More

I paid an early morning visit to my estranged husband in his Batangas City subdivision. “Hi Edward! What a beautiful morning”, I said. Fox News was blaring in his living room. “How can you say that — the whole fucking world’s falling apart”, he grumbled. The images flashing across his TV screen were completely at odds with what I had just seen with my own eyes. Outside his house was a wonderful… Read More

I sit in a bamboo hut, waiting for the Filipino healer to arrive. Tuesdays and Fridays he comes down from the mountains to heal whoever might be sitting in this flimsy, makeshift shelter with the dirt floor. My knees are ruined, casualties of a hill that I never should have hiked down — but did. For three months I have suffered, limping and grimacing in pain. Nothing has helped. I’m now a little… Read More

On a flight from Singapore to Manila yesterday, I felt a flash of fear. What if I’ve chosen the wrong path? I’ve always lived with the certainty that my life is exactly as it was meant to be. But what if I’ve been wrong? What if I’m wasting my life in the Philippines? The classic expatriate toast has always been “to absent ones”, as though friends and family have left us rather… Read More

“You’re a racist”, an anonymous blogger recently wrote to me. “You should go back home”, the blogger said. Am I a racist, I wondered? And if I went back home, where would that be? I haven’t lived in Canada for twenty-four years. When I created this blog two months ago, I had no expectation of it becoming anything more than a link for that rare person who might possibly read my story,… Read More

TO: INDIA HARRIS, RESPONDENT. YOU ARE HEREBY REQUIRED TO APPEAR BEFORE ME ON THE 13TH DAY OF AUGUST, 2013 AT 3:00 IN THE AFTERNOON FOR THE HEARING OF THIS COMPLAINT. SIGNED BY THE OFFICE OF THE BARANGAY CAPTAIN – REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PROVINCE OF ——–, MUNICIPALITY OF ———. The complainant is my former housemaid. “Oh my God”, I shout after reading the summons that was delivered to our house while I… Read More

These photos are special to me because they represent the completion of a great circle in my life. Once upon a time I was a backpacking adventuress, with lofty dreams of placing both feet on all seven continents. Well, I’ve done that, but not in the way I had intended. In Auckland, New Zealand in 1994, I found myself facing an unexpected fork in the road: I could either catch a bus… Read More

To be honest, I’ve put off writing this post. I have found laundry to do, books to read, closets to reorganize — anything to delay revisiting the day I returned home after Typhoon Glenda. But you, dear readers, have very politely read the first two installments of this story, and you deserve to know how it ended. When I walked into my house on the morning of July 17th, I was looking… Read More

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