Here in Japan, the nights are getting longer, the days unbearably colder. We have unearthed our thick coats and jackets for the winter season. It’s almost hard for me to believe that the year 2007 is almost over. It seemed only yesterday when we went to Kamogawa to celebrate New Year’s Day.
But boy, oh boy, I’m SO excited. We’re going home next week. Times like these, I feel grateful that I live in neighboring Japan, because it is relatively easy to go home. It’s just a mere 4-hour plane ride to get to Manila from Narita airport. I haven’t been home for about two years now. So naturally I’m excited, and not even the news of the recent coup attempt, imposed curfews, and bombings in the Philippines could make me feel any less enthusiastic. Weird huh? But homecoming always gives me a sort of adrenaline rush, you know. As soon as I get off the plane and the familiar sights and sounds assault my senses, I feel that rush.
Posing with the carabao (who was named “Rosalinda”) during our visit to Villa Escudero in 2001. Loved that place.
The rush becomes even more acutely heightened as I bite into my piping hot Jollibee Chickenjoy, dive into my big pile of haluhalo topped with ube, kaong, leche flan and other sinful goodies, shop-till-you-drop in Duty Free Philippines and SM (of course), or simply get myself lost in the mass of humanity rushing into the malls for Christmas shopping.Or eat fried bangus, sisig with calamansi, steamed alimango, puto, kare-kare, green mango with bagoong, tapsilog, adobong kangkong. Or drink green mango shake, ripe mango shake, sago, coconut juice…
Ride the public utility jeepney and shout “PARA!!!” (To the uninitiated, “para” means “halt” or “stop” in Filipino. It has the power to command the driver to step on the brakes of the jeepney, no matter how fast or slow he was going, to allow you to get off the vehicle.)
Go swimming in the pool. Anytime of day.
Sweat. In December. Saunter outside wearing flip-flops and short shorts. And I won’t have to feel conscious that I’m underdressed for any occasion.
Hear people laughing out loud, and laugh with them without being frowned on for eavesdropping on their tales. Laugh at people whenever I feel like it.
Not fumble for words in trying to express myself. Show my annoyance and anger at any slow service and inefficiency, and even feel righteous about it.
Show all these things to my daughter and tell her, now this is what it means and feels to be a Filipino!
Love it or hate it, there really is just no place like home. 😀