This month I had the pleasure of spending some time with Jessie’s family.  Family is often an area of conflict for many expats and the women in their life’s. I’ve not had the problems others have had in this area. For some, relationships are destroyed. Expectations here are different and many times the expat misjudges motivations which makes matters even worse.

Mostly what others complain about is that feel taken advantage of. Her family is always at the expats house. They come at any time and they stay as long as they want.

They usually feel like this is happening because they are white and perceived as rich. While you Filipino Familiesprobably are perceived as rich, you’re not being taken advantage of. You’re seeing the culture of the Philippines. Now there could be a family member of two that will take advantage of you, most are not looking to you for that. Just like any culture, you’ll have to figure out who is looking to take and never give back and those who can be trusted as a real friend.

What is really going on is that Filipino families tend to hang out together. What you are seeing is Filipino culture in action. Eating is usually at the center of these gatherings. Just like Thanksgiving and many other holidays in the USA. However, alcohol may also be part of these gatherings. The same is true in some American households too though.

If we lived in Cebu City, I think we might have seen some of Jessie’s family a little more. We use to hear from some of Jessie’s more distant relatives from time to time. They wanted to stay with us. I think though when they realized we lived so far from Cebu City the interest in that quickly died down. This interest mostly came from cousins and such, not her immediate family.

Jessie’s family is very close. Its large and they have a great time when they get together. Most of the Filipina I’ve known are nearly consumed with pleasing their family. Usually the families are large. That has not always been the case though. I’ve known some Filipina where their families do not get along well and they are split up into factions. In almost all cases though, the Filipina is dedicated to her parents.

I haven’t been able to visit it Jessie’s family as much as I’d like to but ever time we go there is a party. The brothers and sisters, their children alone make for a large group. Jessie was the youngest in her family. I loose track but I think she is the youngest of seven children. Her mother died though when she was about 10. Her dad remarried a few years later. Jessie now has younger siblings, the youngest of which is Jessa at 19 or 20.

Jessie’s family is firmly middle class. They are accountants, health care workers, politicians and teachers. A few are even entertainers though I don’t think any make a full time living in that line of work. They are not wealthy but they certainly are not poor. Though, I think like most middle class America they struggle to make ends meet to some degree. None of them are living in a nipa hut.

They do like to party. They drink a little, a few drink a little more haha. Most stay reasonably sober but happy. On this visit, there was a party a Jessie’s dad’s house every night except the day of the wedding. I had had enough fun on the last day. I wanted to go with Jessie but I didn’t want to stay over there until 2am or ever midnight. A few hours of seeing the family and I’m ready to go. They are great people, I enjoy their company a few hours at a time is good for me.

At the wedding, things really got fired up and I look forward to writing about that soon. Hopefully I’ll write that story tomorrow.

I’ve been away for the last week. I’ve not been any place but I’ve been sick. Every breath I take hurts and I have a fever. I’m weak. I’ve felt much worse, the worst part of this has been the pain in my lungs. I haven’t smoked since Sunday or Monday, I’m not sure which. For the most part, I had no cravings which is amazing. Those have been getting stronger in the last couple of days though. I tried to smoke a couple of times but the pain was so bad I never managed more than two puffs and out the cigarette went. I had been holding on to my last one for four days but I finally got disgusted with it and tossed it out the window.  The real test will come once I can breath without pain. I must say, this is getting old. I may have to try antibiotics. I need to see a doctor but there are non in Bogo City that are willing to treat me. I need to move back to Cebu City. I know Jessie likes it here and so do I but it just isn’t working with my health issues.

I hope I’ll be able to write about that wedding tomorrow. I am feeling better but dang these knives in my lungs are no fun. The wedding lasted longer than I cared for too but I’m glad I went. I sure would love to see air conditioning come to the Philippines.

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