The Flatiron building in NYC

Majestic building

Obi and I are pretty much stuck within the confines of the hotel room due to the limitations brought about by the winter storm looming over the northeast now and the fact that Obi is not human. America is not as pet friendly as I imagined and expected, but understandably so and more on that later.

Almost the same time last year, The Husband and I were here. The weather was indeed better (albeit still cold) and we did not have Obi yet. I was free to explore NYC as The Husband worked hard in NJ.

One of the NYC icons I stumbled upon (it was close to a friend’s office) was the Flatiron building.

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Notes from the frozen northeast

Snow, snow, snow

“I’ve never see so much snow in my entire life…” I gushed to The Husband, whose two hands were gripping the steering wheel, back hunched over, eyes squinting through the frosted windshield to vigilantly watch the slushy highway. It was supposed to be a 4-hour drive from Washington DC to South New Jersey, but I knew we were defintely in it for an hour or two longer.

The skies were a depressing grey. The fields and hills were covered in snow that seemed to go on and on into oblivion. The streams, creeks, rivers and my feet were iced.

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Owning a pet in America

Hi there! Love, Obi Juan the corgi

Owning a pet was easy in the Philippines. You get a pet: buy it from a reputable pet store / breeder, adopt one from family, friends or a neighbor or pick one off the streets (which we did a lot). Feed it: your choice of table scraps or pet food off the animal feed store. Play and walk with it whenever you have the time. Let the househelp deal with the dirty jobs like giving it a bath, scooping the poop and cleaning the kennel. Occasionally bring it to the vet, mostly during emergency situations.

I was that kind of pet owner. Too busy to really care. Maybe even irresponsible (sadly), highly dependent on other people.

But in America, I learned that owning a pet is so much more than giving love. Duh. It costs money (like most dreams do). Let me tell you what you need to budget for when you decide to get a dog in the US.

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Pilipinas, I love you. Pilipinas, I love you not.

Pilipinas kong mahal?

This love month is not only for expressing our love for our expat partners. There are other people and objects of our affection like our home countries. This month we, trailing spouses, talk about our homesickness, our longing for our home countries, which we do love in more ways than one.

I have a love-hate relationship with my home country. I daresay I will never ever pretend. I hate pretending. I won’t praise it to the high heavens and say that the Philippines is the best country in the world or that I have been awfully, depressingly homesick and have been itching to come home at the soonest possible time.

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What the dog does when left alone

It is inevitable that Obi would be left behind at home at times.

In the extremely pet / animal friendly US, there are still a lot of places where pet are not allowed. Of course, not everybody can welcome pets into their establishments. There are still a number of people, who are either allergic or afraid, perhaps because of past traumatic experiences like a bite. Or there are just some establishments where utmost cleanliness is required like the supermarket, pharmacy, hospital or restaurants (not all).

So whenever The Husband and I go out for errands, to Church, to eat out or to attend hoomans only events, Obi stays at home in his crate.

Why crate him?

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My thoughts on “Fresh Off the Boat” TV show

Little Eddie Huang in very white Orlando, FL in the 90s (Photo from the Disney ABC TV group)

Ever since I stumbled upon the teaser trailers of “Fresh Off the Boat” last year, I was excited. An Asian American family comedy on one of the major US TV channels? Okay, I have not been in the US that long, but this one is different.

You’ve got white people family comedy. You’ve got black people family comedy. You’ve got hispanic family comedy. And FINALLY, we’ve got Asian (well, East Asian and then some, at least) family comedy to look forward to.

I watched the two-part season premiere last Wednesday and I was partly laughing my ass off and partly could not relate.

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How to make the most of your visit to The Alamo

On tour at The Alamo

I hate being an awful tourist, one that comes, snaps a picture for posterity and goes. I don’t usually do that because I do want to savor every second I am in a new place, but I was one of them awful snap happy for show tourists when we visited the historical Texas monument, the Alamo in San Antonio.

I regret it so much (and really wish that we could visit the place again) and I share my unsolicited advice to those who plan to visit the Alamo.

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American football for dummies (like me)

OMAHA! (Photo by Nottingham Trent University)

This Sunday is America’s version of the Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao fight. The American world stops (at least for most who do not have work on Sunday night) for the Superbowl, the biggest American football game of the season.

I didn’t know anything about American football then. Even with the exposure on American pop culture on TV and the silverscreen, all I knew about the sport was the quarterback as the team captain and that you had to score touchdowns. That’s it.

But now I still cannot say I am an expert, hell no! But I must say that I have picked up some working knowledge of this once mysterious game. And if you are watching the Superbowl for the first time, here are some things that you may need to know (or some random thoughts about the sport from this newbie):

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Introducing: Obi Juan the corgi

Our happy dog son

Kelan kayo magkakaanak? (i.e. When are you having a child?)”

If you are a Filipino married couple without kids, this question you get from every Filipino you meet. It does not matter if you’ve just met five seconds ago. It doesn’t matter wherever in the world you are. Filipinos will ask that question.

And I now have an answer to that: we already have one.

Meet Obi Juan (Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi reference here) the Filipino Corgi, our dog son.

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Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, TX

Can you see and feel the age?

What I love about the US is that I can actually feel, smell and taste a little history. And in Texas, it means eating through the handful of decades old barbecue places that are still thriving to this day.

One of these legendary barbecue places is Louie Mueller Barbecue in the teeny town of Taylor, TX, around 30-45 minutes drive from the state capitol of Austin.

Louie Mueller Barbecue started as a grocery store in 1946. To deal with the leftover meat because of the lack of refrigeration then, they barbecued all the leftover meat and sold it to customers. Three years later in 1949, barbecue sold more than the groceries and Louie Mueller Barbecue was officially born.

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