I've come up with a general technique when writing each "Days Go By" article. While the votes are being tallied and the time gets near, I will sit and stare at the pictures that are up for nomination, letting random images and phrases flash through my mind. I knew that 'Manila Laundry' would probably be this week's winner, so in preparation I decided to load the page and stare at the picture. After a moment, one clear phrase stood out: "Good things come to those who wait."
All I could recall about that line was that it came from some commercial in the 80's or 90's. I think it had something to do with candy? (Feel free to refresh my memory if you know.) Anyway, I just kind of sat there wondering why that phrase kept repeating in my head as I stared at an Instagram picture of two friends doing laundry on the streets of Manila.
And then I decided to reflect on some of the good things that took time.
It had taken time for Janine, the girl on the left, to finish her laundry, as she was doing it by hand. I had just woken up after my siesta to hear her scrubbing and pounding. I went out for a walk, and when I came home, she was still up to her elbows in soap suds going at it. It took her what seemed like hours to get her wash done! As I sat down for a merienda with my host family, I heard Janine and Beth's laughter, this brought me outside, where I took this candid shot. After some time, Janine's laundry was hung up and drying, and I had managed to capture a memorable moment in Manila.
I also reflected on how it had taken me a long time to finally get to Manila. Not just in terms of commuting, which took days after a misunderstanding in departure times, but it had literally taken me a long time to go to the Philippines, as in it took many years before I finally got around to visiting the country!
During my travels, I had visited so many countries other than the Philippines. I had even lived in Taiwan, a country only an hour and a half north of the Philippines, for almost 3 years, and flew to several other neighboring countries, before I finally cleared my schedule and booked myself tickets to Manila for a weekend trip. While there, I was surprisingly confronted by a beautiful country full of unforgettable people, and my heart was stolen by its vibrant culture.
Just today, Beth, the girl to to the right in the picture, posted a candid shot of two men walking down a road in the Philippines. The men were carrying a freshly butchered pig strung up on a pole with one man on each side of the pole. In the background, peeking out from behind the pig as the men passed by, was Beth, crouched down and flashing a big, toothy grin for the camera while trying to squeeze herself into the shot.
In her comments for the photo she wrote:
I had to laugh at that.
Through my years here in Asia, while befriending Filipinos working in Taiwan, I've learned that not only do Filipinos have an overwhelming zest for life and a love of laughter, they also have a great sense of humor. This was yet another realization that I had taken time to discover!
During my reflections on good things that took time, my mind finally came to this very platform, "The Drifters Blog." Originally launched in March of 2010, I started this blog off as an experiment of sorts. But after just a few months it was beginning to gain some steam. However, as the realities of expat life crept in and I found myself dealing with the growing pains of living in Asia, I slowly felt my creativity and passion for writing fade away. In time, the whole setup gave out, and for over two years, "The Drifters Blog" lay defunct, an aging online journal, tucked away in some digital corner, collecting worldwide cobwebs.
It wasn't until two months ago, when I finally made time for a weekend trip to the Philippines, that a strikingly beautiful yet tempestuously dangerous muse named "MANILA" kick-started my creativity back in to life. This, in effect, revived "The Drifters Blog."
Now, the blog is up and running again, full steam ahead, .and as we say in Hawaii, "Shootz, brah...no worry, we get 'um!"
As I sat there reflecting on the many good things that I've learned in my life while staring at a simple Instagram picture of two Manila friends hanging up laundry and laughing in the afternoon sunlight, I realized that although all of these "good things" may have taken time to uncover, they were all worth the wait.
So in retrospect, I guess it's true, good things really do come to those who wait.
PS: I recently booked a ticket, taking me back to the Philippines next month for a two-week stay in Guiuan, a small beach town on the outskirts of the lowland rainforests of Eastern Samar. I'm FINALLY going to give the Philippines the time it deserves for a proper visit.
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...