Moving from a third world country to a first world one seems to be the best thing that could ever happen to someone’s life. Sure, it can be if we are talking about financial stability and career growth but those things are not all there is in our lives. There is also the personal, social and cultural aspects that I have learned to love and embrace despite the fact that some of them are reflections of being born in a poor country. For the first five months of my London life, I would be lying if I say that I do not miss anything back home apart from my family and friends. There are other things, some I even found to be problematic and some are too unimportant that I do not even give any attention to it at all when I was there.
1. Late Night Coffee Shops
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Convergys Makati
One of the favorite things I love doing with friends and family is going to a coffee shop (mostly Coffee Bean), ordering a drink and a pastry and chat (or laugh) the hours away. This event can occur at any time of the day because there are coffee shops in the Philippines that is open until 3am and some even for 24 hours. I can never have a random urge to go to a coffee shop at 10pm and hang out here in London because most of them closes at 5pm.
2. Street Food
Filipino Street Food aka Hepa Lane
In the Philippines, wherever you turn your head to, there will always be a street food vendor of some sort sitting on a side walk or passing by with his goodies. Some of the good ones I terribly miss are isaw, betamax, gizzard, pares, taho, lugaw, fishball, squidball, kikiam and so much more. Mom would always get mad at me for eating those for the reason that there is a possibility that I will acquire hepatitis but I did not listen nor cared. They were that good.
3. Cheap Clothes
Clothing is the aspect of life that I paid the least attention nor effort to. Not that I walk around naked in the streets of Metro Manila. What I meant was I never invested that much for the clothes I wear. Shirt, trousers, sneakers (or flip flops) and a comfortable pair of underwear is all I need to be able to go out of the house. I never cared about branded or designer quality clothes and I am not ashamed of it as well. The shirts I wear back home only costs P50 (less than a pound) and if I want something different, I pop into my local ukay-ukay which is the Filipino counterpart of the charity shops here. Only difference is the profit goes to the pocket of the owners and not to charities. When I got here, everything is just so expensive. Even a cheap ass looking shirt.
4. OPM (Original Pinoy Music)
Eraserheads on Abbey Road
OPM is not really in my playlist of songs back home. In fact, I do not really listen to it unless there is no choice especially when I am in public transportation and the driver is playing those Tagalog rap songs. Now, I find myself downloading a couple of Pinoy rock playlists from Spotify and listening to it.
5. Crowded Shopping Malls
SM Megamall in EDSA
Almost all malls in the Philippines are easily accessible through FX and shuttles nowadays. SM Megamall and Glorietta are the ones I frequently visit due to them being the closest to my house and workplace respectively. These malls have air condition running the whole time they are open and since it is hot in the Philippines, everyone goes inside to enjoy the free cool breeze they could get. It is impossible to stroll without bumping into someone and it used to make my blood boil. Now, I somehow miss it.
6. The hot weather
Missing the heat…
May it be the summer or rainy season, it is always scorching hot back home. Unless of course you climb up the mountains in which I would not bother doing. My shirts are usually made up of cheap material that is so thin just to entertain whatever hint of breeze Metro Manila has to offer. Umbrellas are mostly used for protecting yourself from the sun, not the rain. I hated everything about the Philippines’ weather…until I got here. Autumn is making its way through the door and shortly after that would be winter. It is getting colder and colder and it is impossible to go outside of the house with only 2 pieces of clothing. Old and newly made friends here are giving me various tips and advise as to how I would survive the cold weather and I have been listening but I don’t think it would give me enough comfort to brave through the chills.
Now I was able to prove the saying that goes “One would always want what they don’t have.” to be true. Regardless of all the complaints I had, I was still within the comforts of my home country. It is a different scenario now that I am one of the many complete strangers to the life of England. People say that I will eventually adjust and I do believe that but right now, I still cannot believe that missing the discomforts you once had is a possibility.