Archive for July, 2010

Friday 7/23

After getting a last-minute e-mail from France saying the visiting Berkeley scholar (who was supposed to wire the deposit to us) had a family emergency and wasn’t going to come after all, we scrambled to call some others, and 24 hours before we leave, new tenants sign lease. Cue big sigh of relief.

Saturday 7/24

5:00 am Pacific Time: get up, make smoothie with last four fruits in the kitchen, and start scurrying around the house finishing cleaning, washing last loads of laundry, and so forth. Treat ourselves to McDonald’s breakfast.
8:30 am PT: Give myself a final buzz cut so I don’t have to worry about hair for the first few weeks.
9:30 am PT: Shove the last boxes in the basement storage area and staple on the chicken wire shutting our stuff off from the outside world.
10:00 am PT: passport and wallet check, take out the trash and recycling, give friends car keys, and it’s airport time. Goodbye 3039 Madeline Street!

Farewell, Oakland!

12:30 pm PT: rejoice when we get moved up to bulkhead seats (not exit, but first row in coach), on the side with just two seats. Score! No squeezing past grumpy fellow passengers for our incessant bathroom breaks.
12:30-1:15 PT: last frantic phone calls and texts before we part ways with Verizon. Goodbye family!
1:15 pm PT: Takeoff. Goodbye Bay Area! We fly straight west, out over the SF cloud bank, so no final view of Oakland.
1:20 pm PT: Valium.
3:30-5:30 pm PT: Parents across the aisle only intermittently successful at silencing their two screaming toddlers. Well, at least we tried sleeping; Laura’s bright idea was to try to get on Manila time as early as we could, but c’est le airplane.
11:30 pm PT/4:30 pm Tokyo time: get into Tokyo early. The Japanese countryside is so tidy! We immediately notice the perfectly square rice fields, different than the round-patterned ones we have in the Midwest.
(11:31: put passports in under-clothes passport holders–thank you, Pop and Joyce, for being the cautionary tales of pickpocketing.)

Sunday 7/25

Midnight PT/5 pm local: Airport sushi! Best melt-in-your mouth fatty tuna and Dragon Rolls we’ve ever had. Yellow Tail, oddly enough, not worth writing home about.
2 am PT/7 pm local: Even the boarding area going from Tokyo to Manila has a different vibe than the one going from SFO to Tokyo–running late, people milling about but smiling, friendly chaos as Japanese airport staff try to herd people who speak either English or Tagalog.
3:30-5 am PT/7:30-9 local: watch two episodes of The Wire on the laptop. Still waiting to be enticed by the cop show theme; currently thinking that L’s brother having lived in Baltimore where the show’s set has colored his judgement.
6 am PT/11 pm local: get into Manila after an another answer-to-prayer uneventful flight. All our bags show up, un-tampered with.
7 am PT/midnight local: get cab provided by Fulbright to hotel. Sleepy ride through rainy Manila streets; thankfully we missed the cloudburst/flash flood earlier that day (welcome to monsoon season!) that rerouted flights and tied up traffic.
7:30 am PT/12:15 local: sleep.

Monday 7/26

7 am local: wake up for breakfast of rice, coconut-breaded chicken, papaya, mystery vegetables, and pineapple juice. I miss American breakfast already! (My pop says it’s just cultural conditioning, but we’ll see how well we adjust to rice three meals a day.)

-Laura & Nate