Friday, January 22, 2016

Fresh Off the Boat

   When I arrived in the US, my husband immediately got us a joint account and got me a credit card aside from the $20 a month he gave me which he called “walking around money”.   So, coming from a third world country, I knew there’s a hundred ways one can get ripped off.   I compiled all my ticker tape receipts from my credit card purchases, checked each item purchased, checked all totals against the monthly bank statements and then checked the bank statements for mistakes.  I was afraid the cashier or the machine or the bank might be overcharging me.  I did this till after a year and a half, I got tired of it, plus I learned it doesn’t happen.  

   Then I heard about identity theft.  So, I took home every receipt, bought a shredder to shred them.  I was afraid anyone who finds my receipt could use the data in it to purchase items using my credit card data.  I did this until I realized there would be no point in hacking if hackers only needed a Walmart receipt to grab money. 

   I applied for a driver’s license and flunked the first driving test.  The policeman who tested me commented that I was “totally accustomed to the equipment” (I've been driving in the Philippines since I was 26 years old.)  However, it’s the traffic rules in America that I needed to learn.  I have read the licensing booklet from cover to cover and back again.  I was still driving like a Filipina in the Philippines. 

   I passed the second driving test and the rest is history which includes two accidents in Louisville, Kentucky.  One, during a snow storm, I mounted a traffic island all covered in snow.  Another was a fender bender with a semi which crushed my left rear fender like biscuit.

   I got lost a lot.  I did not have a TomTom or any GPS device.  I still don’t trust them.  I Googled my destination and printed a map and direction every time.  Once in a while, in the middle of the journey, I found a road block for road repair and I got rerouted to a place not in my map.  Those times I had to find a place to park and call a friend.  My husband refused to give me any direction after I asked him several times, he yelled “Ah! You figure it out!”  As soon as I could afford it, I got myself a Blackberry with a data plan so I can Google map my directions should I get a road block again.

   Being the new kid on the street is nerve wracking but that should not be a reason to stop running.  If there is anything Filipinos can do better than any other nation, it’s adapting to a new situation.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Scary Filipina

   I came out of dialysis and went straight to Target to get my month’s supply of soda, the one thing I can’t live without.  My daughter was driving.  The parking spot was tight because the car on our left was sitting on the white line between us.  My daughter did her best to make sure there are spaces between her car and the lines.  Before she even pulled the ignition key off, my daughter said the men sitting on the next car on our right were talking about us.  I wondered what that could that be about.  When I got off from the passenger side,  the American guy on the driver seat said “Next time, park straight.  You’re crooked.”  He sounded irritated but not really angry or yelling.  

   Now, remember, I came from dialysis.  I was not feeling good.  I was hungry.  I snapped at him.  “How much straight do you want?  That other car on the side is sitting on the line.  We could hardly get in!”  I said 'in his face' as I peered through his window. 

   “Don’t worry about it.  Forget it,” the man replied softly to me, then looked straight at his windshield to avoid my stare.  

   I walked away towards the Target entrance.  The entire time till we got done shopping I could see the man’s face in my mind.  It seemed like I scared him and his son, around 12 years old, hid his face in his hood and crouched in his seat.  I realized the man may just be trying to impress his son by telling me off about our parking.  On that day, he picked the wrong Asian.  

   I am one of those who don’t let things pass.  I am proud to say that I am not judgmental, never go on the offensive, and I don’t think ill of anyone.  But I won’t take anything sitting down.  One brother in our congregation once commented that I am “scary”.  My two ex-husbands were scared of me and one of them was five feet eleven inches tall against my five feet zero.  The other one went to work everyday for weeks after he’d been fired.  I did not spank my children but they were all scared of me.  To be honest, I don’t know why people should find me scary.  

   We hurried out of Target so I could apologize to the American in the car but the line at the cashier was long.  He was gone when we got to the parking lot.  If the man I encountered at Target (Colma) should by any chance, find this post, I am truly sorry.  Please accept my apology.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

If You’re Tired Of…

   If you’re tired of your soda and tired of your orange juice put a little Sprite or Sunkist in your juice to give it a fizz or do it the other way around, squeeze lime or lemon or orange or calamansi juice in 7up, Sprite or Fresca.

   If you’re tired of the plain potato fries, flavor it by shaking it in a container with onion powder, garlic powder or Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Seasoning.     

   If you’re tired of the usual chain store burger, make your own with ground beef, mixed with finely chopped onion and garlic.  Mash it in egg and flavor with Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Seasoning then fry and enjoy.





   If you’re tired of your usual snack try the above.  Make a spread for sandwich or cracker topping.  
  1. Drain a can of tuna or pink salmon, sprinkle with lemon or calamansi juice to remove the fishy taste while crushing it.  
  2. Add an equal amount of finely sliced romaine lettuce, 2 spoonful of dill relish, 
  3. Ranch or Ceasars dressing, salt and pepper.  A little of the spread on top of party crackers gives your snack a party feeling.  You can also use it as an appetizer in your next party just top with grated mixed cheese and parsley flakes to decorate and add flavor.  

   If you’re tired of the usual store pies, make our own with Graham Cracker Crust.  If you have apples about to spoil, peel and take off the bad parts.  Slice the apple then boil in a cup of water and 1/4th cup of brown sugar.  Mix a pack of gelatin with a can of apple sauce then add into the boiling apple.  When the apple is tender, pour all into the crust and refrigerate.  It would be ready for dessert in a few hours.


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Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Bright Side of Colonoscopy

   Recently I was required  to have a colonoscopy.  I was referred to two doctors both of whom I turned down.  The first one insisted that I do two days of prep which I can’t do because I go to dialysis every other day.  He said it’s because I'm diabetic, which I am not.  If that doctor thought all dialysis patients are diabetic what else could he get wrong at my expense?  The other doctor only do colonoscopy on my dialysis days.  I decided that even if it cost me the transplant disqualification, I was not doing it with those two.

   The third colonoscopy doctor I was referred to, Dr. Stefan Chin, was more accommodating.  He agreed to do it on a Monday morning, and during the holiday season at that.  The prep instructions he handed me were clear and easy, unlike the other two whose orders were tough and inflexible.

   The prep packet said the Moviprep could make me feel nauseated so I braced myself for 2 liters of bad tasting medicine.  It turned out to taste like mild lemon juice.  I expected the prep to give me stomach pains but there was absolutely no pain, just a lot of time in the toilet.  So I took my phone with me and played my games.

   The instructions handed me said I could only have clear drinks like any colorless soda, no food except gelatin and broth.  So I made gelatin and my favorite ‘nilaga’ beef broth from scratch.  For a dialysis patient who has endured fluid restrictions for five years, unlimited broth and soda is actually a treat.  To get my mind off the prep I binge watched my favorite Amazon Prime TV show, Justified.

   On the day of the procedure, Dr. Stefan Chin and all his staff (all Filipinos) made me comfortable.  I woke up from it like nothing happened.  So where’s the colonoscopy everyone said was horrible?  Maybe it depends on which doctor you’ve got.

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