About four years ago, one of my cousins, Kuya Jojo who is currently based in LA, came with his family to visit us. It was one of those rare opportunities for a family get-together. When they visited Daddy and Mommy were also staying with us in Tsukuba, so it was really a very rare chance for them to meet up with Kuya Jojo, who barely went home after residing permanently in the States. Indeed, most of my Mom’s relatives are already based in the US, so the only time we get to see them is if they go home to the Philippines (like if somebody died, how grim), or in our case, in the event that they get to visit Japan. Actually I did see most of them in 1999 when I went to LA for the first time. Our grandmother was still alive then (she died early this year, at age 93!) I practically saw all my long-lost titas and cousins, including their little tots whom I’ve never seen before. And although I’ve been back to the States a few times after that, I always ended up on the East Coast, and so far there has been no opportunity to visit the West Coast.
Anyway, about two weeks ago, Tita Bess and her hubby Tito Robert finally visited Japan. The last time my Mom saw Tita Bess was around 1993. And since my Mom has never been to the States (thanks, immigration officials!), that’s about 13 years since they last saw each other. I find it rather amusing that they will meet in Japan after all these years. What a unique convergence point. And to top it off, Lai finally arrived, fresh from Manila. We immediately took her to meet Tita Bess in Tokyo. And it did seem surreal, all of us together again, not in Tondo where we once were. Not in Manila, not in the Philippines, but in Tokyo, of all places! We went to a nice shabu-shabu tabehodai (eat-all-you-can) restaurant in Akihabara to “celebrate” our reunion.
Whenever I think of it, I am simply amazed at being an instrument in bringing people together.