The Family Girl Blogs
(aka "The New Working Girl Blogs")
Blog #39: Holiday Blues (2 of 3): Mall InsecurityTo see all of Bobbie's Family Girl Blogs, click on this link:
Wednesday was a regular workday here in Manila, but it was the day before the start of a four-day weekend. Most everyone wanted to go home to their hometowns, so there's usually a massive exodus of people from Metro Manila going towards various other places in the country.
Thing is, leaving Manila is hard to do when everyone else is trying to do the same thing. After all, Metro Manila is home to 15% of the country's population. Tintin says bus stations become like madhouses, the roads to the airport become clogged and the piers become full of anxious passengers waiting for rides.
So most people therefore take the Wednesday off so they'll be sure to get to their appointed places at the appointed times. Most employers expect this and therefore make it easy for most by canceling work for the afternoon.
I didn't know this beforehand, of course, so I found it weird that the office was mostly deserted.
But after Tintin explained things, and I found out that the office was running on virtually a skeleton crew, I became worried about productivity falloff. But everything was cool. Everyone who could filed for leaves but our call center operation wasn't affected (the duty people had juggled their assignments and swapped leave days, all on their own), and our office staff had worked out their schedules appropriately.
So, feeling like I was Ebenezer Scrooge (or maybe Ebenezerette), I told everyone that didn't have business-critical activities to do to take the afternoon off, and that I will see them on Monday. And wonder of wonders, that applied to me, as well.
I called Moe and got our driver to bring us, Tintin and her assistant out to have late lunch and do some window-shopping.
We seemed to be dressed a bit out of step with everyone as we had lunch at a largely-empty restaurant that Tintin says is never this empty. Anyway, we made a noisy group as we enjoyed lunch. Afterwards, we walked to a nearby mall, much to the consternation of my guard. Anyway, we were accumulating a bunch of kids that were following us.
South Korean TV soaps are big here in the Philippines, except they call them Telenovelas. And there's a growing community of Koreans in Manila as well. Korean stars are celebrities here. Anyway, it seems the kids thought Moe was some Korean starlet named Sandara Park, and were following us around.
Sandara Park used to be big in Manila after winning some contest, although she left for Korea using her popularity to kickstart her career there. I've googled her picture and Moe and her do not even remotely look the same. I guess, since Moe is an oriental, the kids assumed. (I apologize to those who might take offense at the term. I'm referring to people with Chinese-Japanese-Korean features. I would have said Mongoloid as that's what science calls these features, but that may have had more racial overtones if I did. I mean no offense - my love is "oriental" as well - she's Japanese - and I think she's beautiful.)
Anyway, having a big bodyguard around, I guess it's understandable for them to make the connection, And I guess I got a bit of that celebrity "spillover" as well because I was with her so they thought I was a celebrity, too lol. But I guess that makes Tintin "our people." (Sorry, Tintin! heehee)
Anyway, I got so carried away with it and got real involved in our talking that I jumped and shrieked when someone patted me on my butt. (I'm afraid I may have flashed some people.) We had reached the mall entrance and there was a security guard patting down people. Seems, with a lot of people out and about for the holidays, most mall and store operators hire extra mall security to do pat-downs and things like that.
Anyway, the mall guard was patting me down and running a wand over me, and it was my fault for not paying attention. Anyway, my shriek must have been heard for miles.
Still, no harm done - everyone had a friendly laugh at my expense, and I was embarrassed but just a little bit - it was okay. I suppose it makes for a funny little story, and I do see the humor in it,
Being in a different country can make you homesick for the familiarity of home, and of things you know, and your pigeonholed place in the fabric of things, even a post-op m-t-f tg girl. But sometimes, mired in the familiarity of home, you want to start fresh, get to start over but this time do things right.
But that can be scary, too. It's like you don't know the rules. Sure, you can start over, but it means starting over from scratch. No rules. Not knowing who you are or how to behave. And therefore it's like you're alone. Starting over is scary.
so you fill the unfamiliar with familiar things - safe people, safe things. And sometimes it takes a little "boo!" to shock you out of complacency.
Exploring can be an adventure. But an exploration adventure is inherently dangerous. It's a matter of degree, of course. It's not like exploring the amazon. It's just workin' abroad for goodness' sake.
Sorry - seems I'm in a fey mood. Apologies.
Anyway, talk to you guys later, Bought some beach outfits Wednesday. Goin' to the beach later in the afternoon. Yayyy!
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