Shaken Not Stirred

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Buy Me A Plane Ticket

I saw the strangest fundraiser signs a few days ago. On my way to the gym, there were two girls holding up signs that said "Help Me Get to England". They were holding up these signs on a busy street along with donation buckets. I didn't stop to ask them what organization they were raising money for, or even if they were a part of one. If they wanted to get a person's attention, those kiwi-green neon signs did the trick. Since the road was busy and I really wanted to get to the gym before someone stole my favorite treadmill, I passed without donating or investigating.

It made me think of a time during high school when I wanted to go to Europe. My friends and I all planned to visit a city, any city, as long as it was in Europe. We had all heard of how fun it would be to travel abroad, especially over there where there was practically no drinking age. Two of us took Spanish, another one took French and the oddball of the group took Latin (not sure where she would have used it). During homeroom and study hall we tried to map out where we would go. We could never decide on a city. But it was fun talking about it.

The brainstorming is as far as it went. None of our parents agreed to let four fifteen year olds go to Europe unchaperoned. My father wisely told me, "Visit the Philippines first and then I will buy you a plane ticket to go anywhere else". He wanted me to learn a bit about the Filipino heritage, see the places where he and my mother had grown-up. I politely declined (well most likely threw a spoiled tantrum) and then discussed with my friends how "unfair" our parents were being.

As the years passed, we stopped talking about Europe and focused more on going to college. While in college, I joined a group called F.A.S.A. (Filipino American Student Association).I connected with other Filipinos who like me had spent their whole lives in the U.S. They even had a tutor to teach the language (I gave up after a couple lessons. Tagalog was much more difficult than Spanish).

After I graduated from undergrad with a biology degree, I opted to go the Philippines for medical school (yes I didn't get accepted at any of my schools of choice), rather than go to a Carribean school. I felt I could meet some of the relatives I hadn't met and it would also be an experience for me. And it was just that, an experience. I learned a lot about myself and also their culture. I feel I'm a better person for having gone there.

Anyway, I completely digressed. I'm in favor of travel, especially for the college/high school folk. But I wasn't sure about just giving money to those students. If they were part of a school organization, I would gladly have given them a couple bucks--maybe even more than I would have wanted to. Every person should take the opportunity to vist another county. I just was wary cause they weren't wearing uniforms and their signs didn't indicated membership to any club.

Again, back to the topic! I think travel abroad gives a person perspective. It certainly gave me an appreciatiton of all I have and everything I've taken forgranted. It helped to open my eyes to certain rights and priveledges. Most of all, it helped me to realize the grass will be the greenest in almost heaven West Virginia!

P.S. I hope I didn't make anyone dizzy with all these tangents. It's way passed my bedtime, but I couldn't sleep so I blogged.


  • I don't give money to anyone holding up a bucket and a sign. To me it's like their teaching people to be beggers and if people give them money then they might see it later on in life as a way to make money. There are way better productive ways to raise money then begging on the streets.

    As for going to places from my heritage, I wouldn't know where to start. My family is from everywhere so it would be pretty hard to find myself in just one place. I guess I'll have to start in NYC.

    By Blogger Drywall Mom, at 8:06 AM  

  • I have never traveled overseas but hopefully one day I will get a chance after all the kids leave home. I guess I should say if they ever leave home.

    By Blogger :P fuzzbox, at 8:07 AM  

  • I always look forward to ur posts.
    I used to give money to pretty much anyone.

    Until someone said to me, how to do you know they are telling the truth?

    I guess I always figured that if you were desperate to ask for money no matter what it was, u must b pretty bad off.

    Never seen students asking money for trips though.

    Students trying to hitch a ride home from a concert maybe, but that is a whole different story:)

    I def. support going out of the country. It does open your mind. But def. accompanied with a group or at least a close person to you.

    I have never been anywhere other then South America. It was amazing indeed. It's been too long.

    Would love to go back.

    By Blogger Cari, at 8:11 AM  

  • i loved this post, angel.
    I want to go to Africa and
    India - and Nepal and....
    well, everywhere.


    By Blogger Maddy, at 9:24 AM  

  • I haven't gone back to the Philippines since I was a small child. My mother went back just last year after 25 years...she had a great time.

    I think everyone should try to go somewhere're right, you appreciate home much more - but you also learn more about yourself and other people.

    By Blogger The Phoenix, at 9:44 AM  

  • I was a Latin speaking oddball in school. I wanted to go anywhere in Europe, too. I finally made it to England and Austria... beautiful!

    Have also been to the Philippines. It was a LONG time ago and things have changed, but I will always remember the trip as a time of family, frivolity, and fabulous food!

    By Blogger JJ, at 9:52 AM  

  • i'm seriously considering taking a 1 year break in india.. my friend has family there, and i'd be able to stay with them.. it'll be cheap and i just feel like i need a break.. figure things out.. (geez i'm 26.. is it too late ?) maybe make a short film...

    maybe i'll go out in my bathing suit, my summer hat.., a bucket.., and a sign that says: "trying to figure my life out !! help me !!"

    you think it'll work ??

    By Blogger madame P, at 9:52 AM  

  • I am grabbing my bucket right now! Maybe I can get out of Podunk,I'll probably raise enough to get to the sticks!:)

    By Blogger Ranea, at 9:58 AM  

  • I always considered conducting an "experiment" by standing on the streetcorner with a sign asking for money for some random organization. I would, of course, donate the proceeds to a real group but I've always thought it would be interesting to see what and how much people give.

    I don't give money out on the street. I don't know where the money is going and I don't trust a lot of these "makeshift" organizations. I gave a protein bar to a transient recently.. and he snubbed me. From now on, I only donate to reputable charities.

    Traveling to other countries is enlighting and educating. I spent the first part of my childhood in Mexico and I try to go back every couple of years. I've also been to Germany. I'd like to see more of the world but you know.. no money no time.

    By Blogger LostInTX, at 10:31 AM  

  • i think it's weird to beg for money for a trip to europe. those girls should freaking work for their trip instead of bothering drivers. if they needed to get there to save a dying relative, fine, but just for the sake of going, its kinda selfish. leave the giving for homeless people who need to eat.

    By Blogger Badoozie, at 10:44 AM  

  • I agree Angel. When I left school I went and worked on a fruit farm in Northern France for 6 months. I didn't have a care in the world.

    By Blogger Ben Heller, at 11:34 AM  

  • You are most certainly right about going overseas. It really makes you appreciate the good old US of A.

    By Blogger mrshife, at 2:46 PM  

  • Latin? Seriously?

    I can't think of a more dead language. Even Pig Latin is more common than that.

    By Blogger Dirk the Feeble, at 6:08 PM  

  • I'm heading to somewhere in Europe this year. My best friend is coming home next month so we can plan our trip.

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 6:40 PM  

  • Okay, I was one of those Latin students. Latin and French actually (I was required to choose 2 of 3 foreign languages [the 3rd was Spanish).

    I'm fairly well-travelled but would love to do more. Some friends of mine were in London and now are in Africa for 2 weeks, then will visit Holland before returning to the US.

    These days, though, it's such a hassle going in and out of the country (I never check in any luggage because I travel very light, but the lines and delays... ugh) and the world is so unsettled.

    I've heard of students trying to get up some money for foreign trips but usually it's through part-time work or some type of fund-raising, not actual panhandling, as it were.

    When I was in college, a writer for the school paper actually did go undercover for 3 days as a panhandler. He wrote about his experiences and how humbling it was to have people ignore him, and curse at him, but he also had some very kind people share food, money, and even offers to help find work.

    So even as so many of us become cynical from all ugliness around us, there's also a ray of hope, too.

    *now ending meandering tap tapping of the keyboard*

    By Blogger Tea and Books, etc, at 7:42 PM  

  • Angel, this was a really great post. I liked how you created an arc by first talking about the girls fundraising to your own experiences wanting to travel in high school and then delving into you exploring your ethnicity and brought it all back to the fundraisers. Impressive.

    And I must say that I agree with you - everyone should try to get out there and travel. Especially when young. It changes your whole perspective on the world and humanity.

    By Blogger Anhoni Patel, at 8:24 PM  

  • Weird way to peddle for $. Bravo on this post!

    By Anonymous Babette, at 11:53 PM  

  • Cool post ... I haven't done a lot of international travelling, apart from a trip to German with my parents when I was 9, and a South Pacific cruise with my husband about 15 years ago. We have, however, travelled heaps within Australia.
    How wierd that those girls were begging for money for a trip ... wonder if their parent's knew what they were doing ??
    Hope you are having a great week. Take care, Meow

    By Blogger Meow, at 12:14 AM  

  • I think it would actually be pretty funny if they were completely unaffiliated and just doing a fundraiser for themselves. I think I might even respect that enough to donate. Like the bum with the "Need Change for Beer" sign.

    By Blogger White Dade, at 9:31 AM  

  • You will travel once more to the land of your origin, wherein you will be proclaimed king.

    Then you will decree all oxygen illegal, and the people will be forced to breathe hydrogen.

    As was intended by nature.

    By Blogger Gyrobo, at 10:43 AM  

  • I remember Van Halen's "Right Now" video where the homeless guy is holding a sign that reads:

    "Will fight for food" and the bum starts to run after the camera guy.

    By Blogger The Phoenix, at 10:56 AM  

  • i really hope they were begging for money in order to travel.
    i'd love to travel more. i think people who travel and get to stay in other places for a while cannot be short sighted, or hardened nationalists or racists. At least, i hope so.

    By Blogger Chloe, at 5:17 PM  

  • I can say I would not approve of youngens headed off to a forgen land...unless I was sending them to boarding school of course;)

    By Blogger Bossy‚ô•'s YOU, at 6:14 PM  

  • It has been too long since I have travelled anywhere. Over the last few days I've been thinking about all these people living their daily lives in other countries... what are their morning routines, do they take a sense of accompishment home with them at the end of the day?

    As with most of us bloggers, I am in favour of travel. I aim to go to Australia this year, maybe do a tour of distilleries, wineries, and breweries across Australia. A themeatic vacation!

    By Blogger blackcrag, at 12:58 AM  

  • travelling abroad does open you to new worlds and makes you appreciate what we have here in the US- clean water, abundance of food, transportation, jobs, etc.

    By Blogger vani, at 1:37 PM  

    That's the kind of Tagalog I know, sorry. I travelled to the UK and lived there for 4 years, and got to see mainland Europe as well. I want my daughter to experience what you're describing, what we've experienced being in a foreign country since it's great at making a person a more well rounded individual. Later Kuya.

    By Blogger Walter, at 6:57 PM  

  • That is very true. Traveling to other places gives you an insight into their cultures. In todays global world that is not a nice to have but rather a HAVE to have

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:05 PM  

  • Sounds like you had some great traveling experiences. I would love to travel to Europe, but there are many places in the US I would love to see as well.

    Those girls were probably wanting to get to England for The Who Convention! I wish I could go for that too.

    By Blogger Lee Ann, at 1:58 AM  

  • So do you still have any desire to go to Europe? Though I see where you're coming from about the donation thing, some of the crappiest trips are those involved with school. At least high school, anyway. I went to Spain with our Spanish Honor Society and had two of the worst weeks of my life. I learned a lot about the culture but would have had a much better time and absorbed more without the strict schedule and whiny brats that went.

    By Blogger ***Double_Oh_No***, at 2:23 AM  

  • I love the way you write, Angel! I wish I can write as coherently.

    If you are ever in London, let me know! I'll show you around :-)

    By Blogger missy, at 6:49 AM  

  • Angel, I don't think I would have given them any money sounds like they just did not have the money on hand and are trying to get people to give them a plane ticket to England!

    I would love to travel, but have never had the opportunity to take a trip like you mentioned in your post here. Maybe oneday!

    And no, you did not make me tooooooo dizzy with the tangents!! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 AM  

  • Sorry for the double post. This is just an FYI, which I keep forgetting to put in my comments.

    There's a Tulane med student who has a blog, too. I figure since you're a graduate, you might find her blog interesting as well. :-) On the other hand, it might spark some unpleasant school memories. :-O

    By Blogger Tea and Books, etc, at 4:49 PM  

  • LOL! No your post didn't make me dizzy. It was actually fun trying to keep up.

    By Blogger Ruben, at 6:17 PM  

  • Have a barrel of fun the next time you post, which by my calculation should be sometime in the next 18 days.

    There's a ton of science behind everything I do.

    By Blogger Gyrobo, at 7:37 PM  

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