Please check it out if you're in the mood: http://lettersfromlauren.com/, it brought a great big smile to my face.
In other news, I'm fresh from my 5+ weeks in the Philippines -- Cebu and Bohol, specifically -- and am so glad I didn't let fear and doubt let me miss out on a trip of a lifetime. I discovered little treasures on the island of Bohol where someone could spend a month and not get tired, a hidden getaway in Mactan that hotel insider's recommended again and again, a local Cebuano delicacy that made Anthony Bourdain's head spin and that in the little town my family is from (Guadalupe, Cebu) come some of the most luscious mangoes in the world. Market Man wrote a great blog post in 2005 about our beloved mangoes.
As with most trips, I've come out the other side somewhat older, somewhat wiser, and with a great many experiences that I would not trade for all the money in the world: the great days spent in the melting humidity talking and laughing with my Lola, the many weeknights spent sitting around the TV watching Mutya (which has inspired me to start working on the mermaid book again) and sharing meals with the family, the new friends met in far-off places that have become like family, having my best friend come to see the place where I'm from and experience some Filipino hospitality, and most of all to do my small part in sharing with the world more about the Philippines. I will do my best and do it with a smile. :)