Category Archives: Philippines

Quiet, Masters Thesis in Progress

I am diligently working on my masters paper on a Friday night. I have been transcribing interviews from my research today and making notes about themes that are starting to come up. There is certainly nothing glamorous or sexy about this kind of work.

It is very similar to the kind of mindset one needs to finish a marathon. Sure, people may see you cross the finish line in a marathon… but it is hard to appreciate all the work that went into training before the marathon. Sure, someone may see my final masters paper… but it will be hard for them to appreciate everything that went into its creation. Traveling to the Philippines, doing interviews, transcribing the interviews, analyzing the interviews, reading lots of literature, and writing the paper. Friday nights sacrificed… many nights sacrificed… in the hopes of finding something to improve healthcare.

I have been transcribing for approximately 5 hours, with a bathroom break and a pizza break. And now a blog break. But now, back to transcribing for at least another hour.

If people ask you if they should go to grad school, tell them NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

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Did I do Something Wrong?

Today I met with my adviser for a little over an hour. I am always a little intimidated when I need to speak in depth with someone about my research on poverty and healthcare. It is not that I am afraid of my adviser, but I want to be a rock star when it comes to doing really good research.

After talking to my adviser, I felt like I did good research… but I need to focus on what does it mean? I did several interviews and observed a lot of things during my time in the Philippines. But … so what? Why does my research matter? What is my big discovery (or my small detail) that I can add to the piles of research that already exist?

I don’t know. And that is scary. I feel like I asked good questions… but did I ask enough in-depth questions? Did I ask enough any great questions? I am still in the process of transcribing my interviews… but I feel uncomfortable. Did I really spend five weeks in the Philippines during the controversial passage of a health bill and the country switching to Universal Healthcare, but not find something important?

Where is the big “research” question that my research will answer? My adviser did not appear worried (a good sign), but my adviser also did not summon a marching band to celebrate my triumphant success.  Hopefully something emerges in my data analysis.This feeling sucks.

How to eat Rambutan?

How to eat Rambutan, www.ishism.com
Rambutan in the Philippines

Rambutan is one of the fruits I ate while traveling in the Philippines. The spikes of the reddish fruit peel are fairly soft, almost rubbery. I was disappointed by Rambutan I found in the U.S. after returning from the Philippines. The ones I found in asian markets were red and brown… the kind of brown which indicates overly dry.

How to eat Rambutan?

  • Pull the fruit open with your fingers
  • Then pull the fruit out of the peel. In the Philippines I was taught to pop the fruit into your mouth.
  • You chew it, but chew around the seed. Don’t chew or eat the seed.
  • When you are done chewing around the seed, spit the seed out.

It tasted similar to grapes to me. My favorite food in the Philippines was the fresh mangoes. In the United States mangoes taste horrible to me, but in the Philippines I loved them. Tasting new food is one of the best parts of traveling because I discover new things.

The interesting part is that rambutan and mangoes were new experiences for me. But rambutan is something I had never heard of before… and mangoes I knew existed. I had tasted mangoes and hated them. Just looking at the rambutan I would not have guessed it was something edible. But it tastes really good. And I would not have known mangoes existed that I enjoy eating if I did not travel abroad.

But because of my willingness to try foods in the Philippines I had two NEW experiences with food. So what are some of your good surprises with new foods?

The Culture Shock of Kentucky Fried Chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken: Philippine Style, IshIsm.com
Kentucky Fried Chicken: Philippine Style. Chicken, mushroom soup, mashed potatoes with gravy, rice, served on a ceramic plate with metal fork and spoon.

Is this a Pulitzer Prize Winning photo? Continue reading The Culture Shock of Kentucky Fried Chicken

My 2012 Bucket List

While traveling to the Philippines I had time to think about things I want to accomplish in my life. Not having access to television frees up a surprising amount of time to think when you are an American. Although I did really, really, really miss the entire 2012 Olympics.

Anyway, here is a list of things I want to accomplish in 2012.

2012 Bucket List

5. See the Irish Rovers

My wife and I have tickets for the Irish Rovers in November. This may not seem like a big deal, but my wife has wanted to see them perform live for most of her life. She had a couple opportunities before when they came to the U.S., but she missed those chances for various reasons. They are a Canadian band that occasionally plays in the U.S. So when we saw they were going to be near Seattle… I got the tickets.

**My wife always wanted to see a bald Eagle in the wild, but she did not see one until this year in the Northwest. Did we see it at one of the parks we visited looking for the Bald Eagle? Nope. She saw it fly across the highway while she was driving… she almost wrecked, but she finally saw a Bald Eagle flying and it was not in a zoo.**

4. Begin Training for a marathon

I want to run at least one marathon in my life. It’s just a goal, something to do. I have never wanted to sky dive or climb to the top of Mt. Everest, but running a marathon is something I want to do. I am targeting the 2013 Seattle Marathon. Continue reading My 2012 Bucket List