New Routines: Part 1

Cebu City View of houses and trees.

There’s something you should know about me.

I love routine and structure and rules and schedules and color-coded charts and all things safe and un-risky. But then I moved to the Philippines. Ha ha.

Things in the Philippines operate freely and loosely. Internet isn’t working? Hey, we’ll be there next month to check it out. Grab a mango lassi and chill out, girl.

This relaxed mentality is wonderful in theory, right? But in reality my type A brain would shrivel up and die if I didn’t have my life anchored around a few predictable routines.

Oatmeal cooking with a wooden spoon.

Routine #1: Oatmeal everyday. I finally found ONE single container of old fashioned oats on the back of the bottom cereal shelf at the grocery store. Praise the Lord that I can enjoy my same old Midwestern breakfast here in Cebu.

I make it in the rice cooker because it seems like the Cebuano thing to do, and sometimes I mix it with brown rice, coconut milk, and bananas. And I eat it cold, which leads to routine #2.

Small apartment kitchen.

Routine #2: Cold leftovers.  We don’t have a microwave. I’ve always kind of wanted to be microwaveless and it turns out that there’s no better time to give it a try than moving to a developing country.

If I really need my leftovers warmed up, I just set them out on the counter for 20 seconds. Voila.

Small lizard on kitchen appliances.

Routine #3: Cold showers, 2x a day at minimum. And here’s a picture of a gecko on a coffeemaker since I’m coming up short on pictures of the shower.

Interesting fact of the day: most Filipino water faucets have one direction for on and one direction for off. No temperature controls here, missy.

But our high maintenance tendencies won out and we decided to splurge and go for the water heater, which has 4 temperature options: Cold, Warm, Warmer, and Warmest. This would be a good time to let you know that Cold actually feels like lukewarm bathwater. So when I say that about 75% of my showers are Cold, you understand that basically I haven’t stopped sweating since the day we arrived.

Tall and beautiful house.

That’s our apartment pictured above – we are on the second floor and it’s awesome.

Routine #4: Purse purge. The only things that go out into the wild with me are my Cebuano phrasebook, my umbrella, my Nokia 110 Cebuano cell phone, a few coins, and my travel toilet paper.

That’s it.

No camera, no iPhone, no large bills, no computer, no jewelry (in fact, I don’t wear my wedding ring at all). This is sad for me because 1) I like to wear my wedding ring, and 2) I wish I could take more pictures, but that’s hard to do without a camera.

One of my coworkers recently had her gold earrings stolen when she was out in the city– someone snuck up behind her and literally pulled them out of her ears. All the people we’ve met here are so lovely, friendly, and outgoing, but as with many big cities, theft is a big problem.

Someday I’ll get the guts to take my camera out into the streets and capture the full extent of this colorful, loud, and beautiful urban craziness.

Beautiful city at night time.

Routines: Part 2 coming up next Monday. You can never have too many routines, I say.

Can I say one last thing? I am continually overwhelmed by your encouraging comments, emails, and messages throughout this whole living abroad process. Thank you for your support, through a computer screen, half a world away.

I’m sending you a virtual s’mores bar now. XO.

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