Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:56 a.m. I wake up to a hot and stuffy room and the realization that I should have paid much more attention to this storm. The power’s off, so no more air-conditioning. My room is like a tomb, with no ventilation. According to the forecast, the worst is yet to come… 2:05 a.m. Wow, big wind! Am not sure what’s going on outside, but things are really banging… Read More

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:15 a.m. I need to get home before the typhoon hits. I’m in a taxi, speeding in a southbound lane on the South Luzon Expressway, en route from Manila Airport to the ferry terminal in Batangas City. I’ve told my driver that we need to get there faster than the usual 90 minute ride so I can catch a ferry to the island of Mindoro, my home of… Read More

The yellow African lovebird in my photo is now buried under a tree in our garden, killed last week by a thief who crept onto our patio at night, intent on pulling my birds from their cages while they slept. Exotic birds fetch a high price in the Philippines. But really, what kind of person creeps through the shadows and steals birds from his neighbors?? I know who the thief was, ridiculous… Read More

“WE ARE YOUR FRIENDLY POLICEMEN”, read the English sign at my local police station in the Philippines. Blood was dripping from my face onto my yellow sweater. Damn, I thought. These stains will never come out. “Ma’am, what happened to you?” asked a surprised-looking, but friendly policeman, though I was quite sure this man had shouted a warning at me through a megaphone once, something about jay-walking. “I want to blotter my neighbor…. Read More

No trespassing! Keep out! Beware of Dog! We westerners do love our walls. I’m as guilty as anyone else. I wish I were more laid back about privacy, but the desire to define my territory is just too strong. “Don’t touch that, it’s MINE”. “Stay on YOUR side of the fence”. That’s me. Even my dogs seem to be more territorial than their Filipino counterparts. When we go to the beach, they… Read More

Many years ago I received a text message from an unknown number: “You are a white beach” it said. I hadn’t been long in the Philippines, so it took me hours to figure out that someone was accusing me of being a white bitch. “Why are you angry at me?” I wrote back. “Sorry Ma’am it was a miss-send.” Being a western woman who lives in Asia is sometimes tricky. World War… Read More

In the thirteen years I’ve lived in the Philippines many (mostly retired male pensioners) expats have come and gone. People leave for various reasons. Some go for medical reasons, others because they have children who need a better education than this country can provide. Quite a few depart permanently and are laid to rest in our local cemetery. But many leave for a most unfortunate reason: they never bothered to learn the… Read More

When you choose to write memoir you can’t be afraid to look closely at yourself in the mirror. And that’s not always pleasant. When I first began writing my anthology essay, “The Rainiest Season”, I had to come to terms with some difficult facts about myself. The essay, which describes the aftermath of my discovery that my husband has been having an affair with our housemaid in the Philippines, forced me to… Read More

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