Believe it or not quality gum is nearly impossible to find here. They have Orbitz here, but it comes in something reminiscent of a medicine bottle filled with pieces of gum that look like the Clorets gum my dad used to always chew during church. Apparently, soft gum that comes wrapped in paper or foil can’t sustain the heat of Manila, so I have to keep my USA gum stash in my ref (that’s Filipino for refrigerator).
And my most favorite lip gloss from Bath&Body doesn’t exist in the Philippines, which is probably due to the fact that Bath&Body does not exist in the Philippines.
And finally, the greatest tragedy of all in this is the non-existence of sugar-free drink-mix singles. I first became addicted to these little pouches of magic back when I was a teacher at Laurel High School. My students would constantly walk around school shaking water bottles filled with Crystal Light or Hawaiian Punch Singles. Naturally, I would always require them share with me on the grounds that I would take their forbidden bottle of water away from them!Ever since then, I can barely drink water without craving one of these little singles.
I would have never thought that such small tangible things would take on so much meaning while living in another country and culture, but they do. They are my escape from the reality of traffic jams, pollution, and malls. These little things take on such significance because they remind me of the tastes, smells, faces, and places of home.
A special thanks to my cousins Reed and Hayden West. At Christmas time, these two miracle workers provided me with all the Orbitz gum I can chew and all the drink-mix singles I can handle! You two are the best ones of the best ones!