before and after.

it’s a common saying among Peace Corps volunteers that the aging that service takes on is like that seen during a presidency.

of course thats not true.

its much much worse.

ant holes. mold. salt water. water pumps. no water. sun burn. sun burn. sun burn. stress. flip flops with holes. no razor. always sweating. dirt. sand. the struggle is real.

before starting my Peace Corps service, I took a oh so naive photo of me in my oh so exciting gear.

so clean.

this is what happens after three years of service.

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my backpack has become somewhat of a running joke. throughout its daily sweat filled bike ride between Legazpi and Sto. Domingo, typhoon wear, mold, thousands of miles of travel and sun baking. We now have the final product. A stinky, discolored, moldy joke.

but worse for the wear. worn out. beat in.

worth it.

wild goose.

Serendipity. Fortuitous. Whatever word you want to use.

This morning I started cleaning out my apartment. I was listening to the kids head out to school, the rice being raked across the pavement, the waves crashing, the chatter of morning conversation over coffee…all breezing in and out of my window with each gust of wind as my curtains rose and fell.

I’ve accumulated a ton of stuff throughout my time here. I didn’t realize how much of a home I had subconsciously made. Going through my drawers, cupboards, bags would uncover another gift, another sentimental item or letter that would bring back a flood of memories.

As I threw a pile of paper onto my coffee table I quickly recognized the scribbled and unique writing of kuya Bob. He had written down the lyics to a Josh Ritter song, “Wild Goose”.

All that I’ve learned
Sometimes wells run dry
It don’t matter the hour or the season

Gone, gone gone, is your wild goose
and it never leaves giving a reason

When you’re up, you’ll be up
You’ll have love, you’ll have luck
And when it goes, you won’t see it coming

Gone, gone gone, you’ll be hearing that song
As it floats back to you down the northwind

Oh what kind of law
draws the apples to the ground
And what kind of love
draws the orbits
And where, oh where went your wild goose
It made you once think you could hold it

Throughout my time here my well has felt like it’s run dry, I’ve been up, I’ve had luck, lots of love and tons of surprises. But you can’t hold on to that forever. Things keep moving. Things keep changing.

My goose is on the run again. It’s time to give thanks and start the chase.

head north.

Random notes…

“we found ourselves settled in the same moon bar that we had started in on the first night. Only this time we were surrounded by the new friends we had made during our stay. bed jumpers, sand artists, mural makers, cave guides…

The bar provided the perfect atmosphere- almost as if pages of an “I Spy” book had been the inspiration for their interior design. Littered with various items people had left- masks, notes, art, gear.

As we all sat around the table we started to writing down questions, throwing them into a hat and answering them as we drew. “what is your spirit animal?” “name a song and a memory associated with it.” The game went on and on and on until the bar turned off the lights, shut the door and turned down the music.

Last questions. “What are you most thankful for today?”

We all looked around…”

Thanks for visiting, Tanner (: love love love.

Why Filipinos are…

the original hipsters.

are hipsters even a thing anymore? I’ve been away for a long time now, I’m not even sure if this is an old fad now. Or wait, hipsters are a fad…they defy the fads?

Whatever the trend…or anti-trend was, Filipinos were the first.

Clothing. 

Filipinos practically invented the “trendy-thrift store” fashion look. Introducing the ukay-ukay. The wag-wag. A thrift store junkie’s wet dream. These are rooms, stores, sometimes buildings filled, nay- CRAMMED, with every type of clothing item imaginable. From the depths of these bargain priced racks of clothes are birthed some of the most inexpensive and original outfits imaginable.

A child wearing a shirt that says “Chicks dig me”? Soooo ironic!

A woman wearing crazy acid washed jeans with tie-dye ruffles on the bottom? Urban Outfitters?!

A kuya wearing a crazy print shirt with crazy patterned shorts? Right on, man- soooo unique!

Sorry, hipsters. That’s just ukay-ukay fashion for ya.

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Ukay-ukay’s- great for cRaZy PaRtY tH3m3zZ!

Transportation

Bikes! Bikes! Bikes! Save the environment! Fight the man! Death to oil companies! Trust me, I’m with ya, but your bike riding ain’t got nothing on the Pinoys who don’t just use bikes as a political or dare I say fashion/trend statement (I said it, I said it!).

The typical hipster will ride solo-dolo to and from work. Maybe they’re super original and ride tandem (so cool!). Filipinos don’t just fit one measly person on a bike- sometimes they fit the entire family. I’m not talking about padjaks/rickshaw deal here, I’m talking a two wheeled bike.

And also- that thing about uncanny modes of transportation? “Ironic”. Whatever. Try riding a water buffalo/carabao. Or a wheel chair. Cuz, you know. That’s just getting from point A to point B here.

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Shopping.

Oh, you only shop local? You go to the farmer’s market every Sunday? You eat organic?

Congrats.

You eat like the rest of the world.

Almost everything is purchased at the palengke or saod. You grow your own food. If you aren’t a farmer, chances are, you still eat locally. You go to the market for what you don’t have. Datz lYf3, yo, not a food revolution.

Deskarte.

It seems that hipsters have been flooding the interwebz with their ingenious and innovative ways to “DIY” and “reduce, reuse and recycle!”.

Deskarte is a way of life for most Filipinos. That politician’s campaign banner will be reused as roofing for a store, an old blow up mattress will be used as a jeepney bench cover. Things you don’t have or can’t afford are made. Things that are broken can easily be repaired.

The fishermen in my town made this out of an old rice cooker, a peanut butter jar, a cellphone charger, and piping. Who needs Pinterest when you’ve got a kuya or ate?

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That roof that was destroyed by the tyhpoon? Oh no worries, I’ll just make a new one…outta natural materials. No big.

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Being a hipster? Filipinos invented that.

WHO IS MAINSTREAM NOW, HIPSTERS?