2017 Trip the US: Personal Updates (and Eating Waaaay too Much Pizza….)

Well, I’ve been back in the good old US of A for over a week now.  For those who don’t know, I go back to the ‘Murica every year to visit family and bask in the glory of First World goodness.  The weather here has been spectacular (cool and dry!) and the company has been most ideal.  We just finished up a family reunion of sorts with my my sister and nephew being able to meet up at our folk’s home in Florida.  Even though I was jet lagged (and sick), it was a very nice time with lots of laughs along the way – most of them at our own expense.

The Flight
I took Asiana this year.  I loooove Korean Airlines and Asiana was just as satisfying – yummy food, nice staff and a stop in Incheon/Seoul airport with its showers, free local tours and superb Wi-Fi.  The only misadventure that occurred was in accepting an emergency exit aisle seat.  The Asiana staff at Mactan thought they were doing me a favor (the emergency exits have a lot more leg room) but the seat I got (54C) was right next to the insanely busy flight galley.  So, for 14 hours I was being bumped into my meandering passengers, flight staff and food carts.  There’s a curtain right by the seat and at one point, an old Korean lady blundered through it and actually fell into my lap.  Not a pleasant experience but one in which you live and learn.  In other words,  DON’T every take the emergency aisle seat by a flight galley!!

Jet Lag
This year was the worst ever.  I was developing (yet another) cold during my 32 hour travel time back to the states, and it hit me full on once I landed in Orlando.  I am actually relieved that it didn’t come to a head during the flight because the last time it did (my Valentine’s trip to Cebu), my left ear wouldn’t equalize on the flight and I couldn’t hear out of it for a few weeks. 

Jet lag seems to be harsher going west-east than it is going east-west.  Scientists are not sure of the reasons behind this – it’s just one of the odd things in life.  My sleep has been the suck and after 12 days, I still don’t seem to be in the right time zone.

Ah, poor me…..

Medical Stuff
Imma mess.  Not even 50 years of age and yet falling apart at the veritable seams.  My time here has been filled thus far with doctor and clinic visits.  An MRI will be done on my neck next week (doctor said the x-ray did not look good for C6/7) as will a sigmoidoscopy after they dug out 17 polyps from my nether regions last year.  Another doctor referred me for a chest CAT scan yesterday after noting that my lungs sounded like a “brass band.”  He also slapped my ass (“atta boy”) on the way out of his office but that’s a whole other story….   I am also getting blood work done to make sure the Philippines isn’t killing me more that I already think it is.

Quitting Smoking
I finally quit (again) yesterday.  I quit every year when I come back to the US and for some reason – probably my own simple stupidity – I start back up when I get back to the Philippines.  This year I am hoping to stick it out.  Smoking is a young man’s game, and it’s starting to catch up with me.  My mom actually quit about 20 years ago but she still has COPD.  Nicotine patches and vape makes quitting a breeze. The first couple days are a bit sketchy but after that it’s smooth sailing. 

Estate Planning
My mom and dad got my sister and I together last week to go over their end of life plans.  Such matters are not much fun and there were more than a few uncomfortable moments.  Thankfully, my dad was a financial comptroller and is VERY organized.  At one point he sat us down to review a 70 page reference document he created complete with timelines and flowcharts on what to do when one or both parental units have passed away.  During the week, we met with the financial planner, checked out the bank safety deposit, visited the gravesites and pressed the flesh with the funeral home director.  Of all our “outings,” the latter was most decidedly the oddest.  I ALMOST shot a video of the funeral home’s “showroom” but common sense and propriety dissuaded that desire.  Well, that and the chance that my dad might backhand me…

So that’s a quick update on my 29 day trip to the US.  In the next installment I am going to go over my shopping purchases (every trip to the US is like Christmas!) and follow that up with another article on gratitude, perspective and the unique challenges of living in the Philippines.


  1. Wow. Sounds like a bad flight, I leave for Thailand on Friday18 hr flight . Hope my flight will. BE trubble free. I. Can only take 1 month in The states can’t wait to get back, hope the rest of your time is a great one, Great update .

  2. Welcome to the USA! I am in Melbourne Fla, and it is dry and hot as Chit this year.

    So, defective lungs, back, blood and bum…you a mess! 🙂

  3. Hi Ned; The only way to really quit the dirty weed is with a strong desire. you have to will yourself away from them. As was our martial arts motto–we forge our destiny in the fire of our will.. Do it man.

  4. Take good care Ned, aging is a natural process but we can still need to do the best we can to minimize the negative impact. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Best regards


  5. Hi Ned, sorry about the flight probs. I like the 70-page doc ur dad made! My folks wouldn’t know organization if it had a 3-letter sign attached to it. Have a good vay-cay, and get back to Michelle soon.

    1. I think it has to do with not fully adjusting to US time when here for a month and being out in the sun more when going back to the Philippines (helping the whole circadian rhythm thing).

  6. Wow Ned, 32 hour trip and going West. Ouch! The estate planning sounds surreal, my folks are around the same age, and THE TALK hasn’t really happens yet. Anyhow, enjoy ‘merica, and the shopping spree.

  7. Good to see you are making the most of your trip back to the USA. Do you maintain US Health Insurance whilst living in the Philippines just so you can use it when you take your holidays?
    Let me make you jealous – When I visit the Philippines its less than 9 hours from Sydney to Manila provided I fly with QANTAS or PAL – 3 hour time difference – so no jet lag.
    Last trip back to Sydney my seat in Economy was double booked and there were vacant seats in Business so I got upgraded – Why me instead of the other dude? – I don’t know, may be because I was polite when I brought it to the flight attendants attention or I was better dressed than the other dude or I was bigger than the other dude or I was European and the other dude was Asian (reverse discrimination) or I had just flown in from Dumaguete with PAL or I was just lucky.
    Ned, treasure your time with your parents mate, they will not be there forever and I guarantee you will miss them when they are gone.

  8. Dude, you get sick because you’re returning to the U.S., it’s not jet lag, lol.

    P.S. Asiana is the best airline I have ever found. I have going on 200,000 miles on them going back and forth to the Philippines.

  9. Hey Ned, I just joined the site and have been enjoying your Youtube videos now for about a month. Not to blow smoke up your behind but I have found yours to be some of the most informative and I am hoping useful. My question is this I am making my first trip to the Philippines in November. I am a big guy, Marine, 6’3″ and about 290 lbs. Other than MAC and SAM flights I have never flown commercially, should I fly economy, premium or suck it up and pay for business or first class? I suppose I should also say I’m disabled with blown knees 100% from VA so leg room will make a difference.
    Thanks for advice and please do keep up the good work

    1. Sheesh. Bit of a late reply…. I don’t know your medical limitations so couldn’t hope to help you with this one. All I know is that it is a looooooong flight. Try to get an aisle seat that allows your dominant hand/arm some freedom.

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