And we thought it only happened to us in the Philippines

Hurricane Katrina will never be forgotten — even by us who were spared but were touched all the same by the widespread destruction and misery it wrought on so many people.

I have been meaning to write a post on this disaster for some time now, but besides the fact that I’ve been terribly preoccupied, it is not easy to write of suffering, even if they aren’t directly mine.  When we first heard of the ravages of this storm, the first thought that came to mind was why New Orleans?  I had gotten used to hurricane after hurricane hitting Florida.  With the devastating strength of this one, it was a relief that disaster-weary Florida was spared.

The real dimensions of the disaster did not quite strike until a day or two after when reports of how people were trying to wait for relief to come while holed up in the Superdome, or how much of the city was immersed in several feet of water started trickling in.  What truly brought it home was when after 4 or 5 days, people were starting to die not from the hurricane itself, but from the paralysis that the states affected suffered due to the breakdown of infrastructure and communication channels. 

And we thought only we in the Philippines have known of such disasters where whole mountains collapsed on towns due to unstoppable rain.  Where people resorted to stealing to make it from day to day until the civilized world remembered them.  Hindi pala..

This has been quite a wake up call to the Americans.  (Here I go again, distinguishing.. you can see that I view it as them, because deep inside, Pinay pa rin ako.)  I can only guess that much of the outrage comes from the fact that nobody thought something like this can happen on American soil — where, after a natural calamity, the federal government and the state failed to respond in a timely and adequate manner.

Sa Pilipinas, hindi na kataka-taka yung bagal ng pamahalaan, ng pagdating ng tulong, ngunit kahit pa sabihing mabagal at kulang, merong dumarating.  You would think that in a super power like the United States, aid would come in the snap of a finger.  Come it did not.  The private sector was quick to jump in with many huge corporations donating tons of goods, but getting them to the people who needed them was another matter altogether.  I don’t want to join the finger pointing, but something tells me it was just the enormity of the tragedy that crippled the system that everyone was depending on.

Not only did communities get flooded, but the strength of the winds of Hurricane Katrina wiped out homes and businesses.  Many people who were spared from the floodwaters were nevertheless devastated by the destruction of their homes.  Memories, livelihood and families were torn to shreds.

I have been trying to catch the news on television to get up to speed, and I can’t help but sit spellbound as I watched people being plucked from the rooftop of what once was their homes onto rescue helicopters.  I used to see the same thing being undertaken whenever the central plains of Luzon were deluged by floodwaters. 

And we thought it could only happen in the Philippines…





Comfort Food

It used to be that the ultimate comfort food to me was maguro or tuna sashimi which was pricey but plentiful in Manila.  Here, the price is just exhorbitant it has been a treat I give myself only once in a while.  The quality and kind of tuna in these parts has also made me wary, because there are certain sea creatures that can pass on harmful bacteria to the tuna in these parts, making them unhealthy to eat.

I remember how my bestfriend Fe would watch me eat as I poured my heart out, and how she would constantly refuse saying she believed food was meant to be cooked.  (At least I didn’t have to share.. LOL)  These days when everything is running at full speed and I am caught in the middle of trying to get a hundred and one things done, I turn to other comfort foods to give me a pick me up.

My ultimate favorite ice cream was mocha but it is not readily available here in the same taste I loved then.  My taste in ice cream has likewise evolved — and now I prefer to have my ice cream with some crunch, be that in chocolate chips or nuts.  And I came to discover how brownies are more heavely when eaten a la mode — and I’m partial to having that with vanilla ice cream please.  So it’s no surprise that I love butter pecan, or how I really enjoy Coldstone Creamery’s dreamy concoctions.

I also discovered a new version of cheesecake crust which has graham crackers and walnuts mixed together to form a crunchy yet soft crust to a creamy cheesecake version.  Unfortunately, it is not commercially available except when I order catering from one of our suppliers here in our area. 

When I want a quick fix, it can be anything from a condensada sandwich to a simple peanut butter sandwich (with the crunch, of course).  If pan de sal were available, I’d prefer that hot with some butter… forget about pandesal here, though– nothing like the airy soft breads we got so used to back in Manila.  (I wonder how much they cost nowadays..)  But we do have a few pretenders — some even mimmicking the Baliuag pandesal that was yellowish in color.

If you’re getting the sense how homesick I am you’re right. =)  Just one of those days..




11:54 and just about done

With half a dozen things left undone, midnight is creeping up upon me. Angel is asleep but is having difficulty because of a cold that came just tonight.  As someone who grew up with asthma, I know how it is to have a bad cold.  I wish I could take Angel’s difficulty and be the one struggling with every breath.  Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like Angel inherited my asthma.

The back up childcare facility called us tonight informing us a spot had opened up, but Alan had opted to stay home.  We were waitlisted for the whole week, but we are keeping our fingers crossed something opens up on Wednesday and the subsequent days, although I am hoping to just bring Angel with me to work on Thursday when my boss is out.

It’s been an uneventful weekend but one we really enjoyed.  I got only as far as assembling the side drawer for the computer table we bought, but we are making progress with our home make over.. we are also dealing with the things we are choosing to keep and those we are throwing away.

Craft report: I actually spent a good part of the weekend knitting my multi colored hand dyed yarn scarf.  I finished the whole skein and will be connecting a totally different ball, still multi colored, still hand dyed.  It will be one colorful scarf I will be wearing during the onset of fall. 

Midnight tolls.. have to go hit the sack!