Summer Mid-Term Break

It’s the beginning of Week 4 of 6 in Learn Tagalog Summer 2015.  

This morning I walked to Toby’s Estate in Salcedo, and then walked a little bit down Makati Ave and P Burgos, which looked like Loser-itaville.  I walked back along Jupiter Street and then stopped for some iced tea.  It won’t have even been a full five kilometers by the time I walk home.  

Last week I had a break from Tagalog lessons, my teacher couldn’t do mornings anymore.  Luckily she’s willing to meet in the evenings starting tomorrow; just five hours per week now, so I’ll come in under my lesson budget.  

As for my proficiency level, I would describe it as stalled-out.  There is a lot of morphology in my head that needs to be practiced in order to get sorted out.  Imagine if someone asked you to play scrabble and then started pouring a bucket of scrabble pieces into your cupped hands; that’s how I feel about Tagalog right now.  

Last week I had that crazy cold that changed the way I sweat.  Instead of the crazy sweat rivers I used to get that made me feel aquatic, my body is now doing more tempered, even sweats, so that my skin stays clammy and cold.  Instead of feeling aquatic, I feel… amphibious.  It’s weird. 

Here’s the deal with my phone:  the first two weeks here I struggled with weak signal.  Near the middle of the second week I paid for a month more data, but a few days after that I got so sick of weak signal that I decided to switch providers.  So I bought a month of data and put it on my phone.  I was happy with that for a week, and then I thought I should probably add voice and text to my service.  So I go down to the office to add voice and text, and they tell me they have to cancel super-surfer in order to get the all-included package.  So the super-surfer data plan went down the toilet and I paid for a third month of data, this time with voice and text,  yay!  

Finally everything was working reliably.  Better than that, I noticed that I could turn on my wireless hotspot from my phone; no I could leave without the pocket wifi, without the power cords, without the external power pack.  Finally I have wifi everywhere!  

That lasted a little longer than 24 hours.  Soon the telecom company noticed that I was using the unlimited data that I paid for as if it were truely unlimited. Apparently the mobile hotspot is a big drain.  So they started slow-walking my service.  I felt like I was in China, literally… the service that I had paid for was being purposefully slow-walked, under the hilarious pretext that it’s not fair to others for me to use all the bandwidth.  I had no recourse.    

So I went back to the store and said, my account has a problem, and I want to fix it.  They lady told me to call 211 and I said, no.  No I will not call 211.  My account is screwed up and I want it fixed, and I don’t want to call and work it out with someone over the next week, I don’t want want to wait in line somewhere or somehow solve this with time.  I said, I want to give you some money and walk out of here with a working phone.  

She was stunned for a second that I didn’t jump at the priviledge of calling 211.  Then she took a breath and said it would be 1600 pesos to start the month over again from scratch.  So I reached into my wallet and handed her 1600 pesos, about $35 USD, and I walked out with a working voice/text/data.  Note to self:  do not turn on wifi hotspot; learned that one the hard way.  

Here’s the deal:  I’ve paid for four months of data for my six short weeks here in Makati.  I don’t care; it’s still less that what I would have paid in the US for similar service.  It’s so odd to me that they can’t sell me unlimited everything and leave me alone.  I don’t get why they keep inserting themselves into my life.  It’s not enough to just take my money; they demand my time and attention.  Do you know every day I get texts from them, ads and messages and special promotions and I wish I could press 2 for “leave me alone forever.”  

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