One of the big adjustments of day to day life in the Philippines was not having any internet in our apartment. Nada. None. That meant any time I wanted blog, chat with my family, or check Facebook I had to take the elevator down to the tenth floor and try and find a signal on the little patio by the pool.
The elevator was always packed and could sometimes take 20 minutes to reach our floor. The patio itself was dotted with tables and chairs, but with 26 floors of apartments full of college students, they were usually taken. And even on days when the elevator showed up right away, and there was a chair free, sometimes the internet was just down, and I had to try again later.
Still, despite the hastle, I think the internet situation actually made my stay in Manila better. It gave me a reason to venture out of our little apartment. The patio itself was open to the breeze and offered a beautiful view of the city and the bay.
And it gave me a chance to mingle a bit with the locals, both human and not…
These tiny butiki lizards loved to run across the walls and ceiling of the open air patio.
Not having the internet at my fingertips was an adjustment, just one of many I had to deal with during our time in the Philippines. But it’s those adjustments that made the experience worth it. Not having the internet, hot water, or fresh milk made me appreciate the things I take for granted in the states. It also made me realize that they’re things I don’t necessarily need. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life and not realize that the things we view as necessities are actually luxuries.
Were there times, squeezing into the sardine can elevator blaring Justin Beiber music just so I could get downstairs to check my email, that I wished I was home? Yes. Absolutely. But, looking back, I would never give up those experiences.
So, get out there. Explore. Step outside your comfort zone. Try living without something you think you need. The results might surprise you.