Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home again

Back in New Zealand in body if not yet fully in mind or spirit. Bloggy Friends I am sad to say that I lost my heart to the Philippines and now suddenly everything here seems less than before. I made so many wonderful friends over there and had so many good times that it felt like a year instead of a month. I cried so hard at the airport, much more than I cried when I left the UK for NZ. My emotions are all over the place right now. Still I did go to social knitting and normal knitting reports will be transmitted once the tear ducts stop leaking. Don't want to electrocute myself or fry the yarn.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I can't sing. I'm not just being modest here, as if I would ever be backwards about coming forwards. My ability to hold a tune ranks in the serious deficiency realm. My voice itself might just about pass muster but I am flat and have a unique way of arranging the notes so they have very little in common with the original song. Honestly me singing is a crime against the ears.
Before you switch off totally and go and search another blog there is a point to this. On March 17th, (St Patrick's day, to those in the know) We - my two colleagues and some people we'd met went to the Hobbit House here in Manila. It's a bar where the wait staff are all dwarfs. Anyway there was a band playing. Wonderful I thought and settled down to listen. My new friend scribbled something down on a piece of paper, gave it to the waitress who took it up to the stage, the next thing, my name is being called and I am being invited to go up on stage and sing. Oh fellow bloggers can you imagine my utter horror. This is a public space. I don't even sing in private without issuing a warning to the local surroundings. I attempted to locate my invisibility cloak but I'd left it at home. I then prayed desperately for an earthquake or some other disaster to save me. I don't even drink so there was no alcohol buffer to offer immunity from embarrassment.
All the while my new friend, relegated to mere acquaintance by now, is leading me resolutely towards total annihilation. Somehow, I swear I don't know how I found myself standing on the stage with a microphone in my hand and being asked what I wanted to sing. Well My mind was in lock down and the only song title I could think of was Top of the world by the Carpenters, purely because I'd seen it on TV the day before. By now it was very clear that there was only one thing to do and that was to sing and get it over and done with. So I did. I sang in public, in front of at least 50 people, 48 of whom I will thankfully never see again. I am sure it was awful, but the funny thing is I really, really enjoyed myself. I loved being on the stage and even knowing that my voice was awful didn't matter.
So I have learnt to sing as though no one else can hear you. It's fun. But out of respect for other people I have been going to the local Time zones where they have private booths and you can sing along for just 50p a song. Brittany Spears watch out!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Manila is great, busy, exciting and as energetic as I am but truth to tell I am longing for home. Sure I miss my kids, but more than seeing them and dealing with the day to day needs I want my routine back. I want to wake up and walk Mouse on the beach as the sun peeks over North Head showering Rangitoto in golden light heavy with the promise of a new day. I want peace to comtemplate the gifts given to me and prepare myself for the blessings of the new day. I want to hear the gentle rush of waves upon sand, not the blare of traffic and the dicordant blast of angry horns.
I want to banter with my colleagues and attempt to raise their energy levels by a degree or two by being impossibly bouncy. I want to stand on the veranda outside the office with a coffee in hand and listen to the general hustle and bustle of the place. I want to go to my normal weekly things, Pilates, Spin, Social Knitting and Rangers. All those things are part of who I am and without them I am beginning to feel a little adrift. Staying up til 4am dancing isn't really who I am although it has been a lot of fun. Not so much fun getting up at 6am because my body won't reset itself.
Still I am not complaining, just sharing, after all in ten days I will be back in NZ and the threads of my life there will seamlessly be interwoven into the part of God's grand tapestry that has been created from my vist here. I know that I have things to learn from this visit even if I'm not entirely sure what they are yet.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Alison in Mall land

A little like Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole and it went down, and down and down, I found myself feeling a little disorientated as the malls here go on and on and on. I wondered where it would all end and whether there might be a potion somewhere that when you drank it made you a thousand times richer.
Seriously you go in the front,side or back door and then a long time later if you are very lucky and very good at navigation you will find the way out. I have never in my life walked into one shop of many shops and seen so much of everything. Everyhwere
It's like walking into Debenhams or John Lewis and the entire floor is all one thing, like bags, shoes. And no matter how long you walk for there seems to be no end of it all. The you walk out and there's another one. I didn't realise just how many brands of shoes there are, Kickers, Keds, Van, Converse, Hush, and on and on.
At first it seemed like shopper heaven but actually I find it all overwhelming. There's so much choice that I almost can't make a decision.
I just can't begin to imagine where all that stuff would fit in the world. It also made me stop and think about how much of the world's resources was being used to produce such an over abundance. I think that if all production stopped it would still be several years before all the goods were used up.
Still Manila is very large and busy and it is a wonderful opportunity to be here. I might just be better off leaving the purse behind.