Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I'm sure he dare not to open anyone's bag and play with her lipstick

Monday, May 11, 2009

Forever Young

Yesterday, we celebrated my twin nephews' birthdays. Hard to believe that, 3 years ago, my husband and I were carrying these 2 fragile baby boys. Helping my sister in-law change their diapers, feed them, burp them and put them to bed. I remember the first time they called my name. Instead of Joan, they called me Goan. I remember the first time I saw them walk, fell, cry and ate. I remember them looking for me (while I was in the bathroom) and asking "Nana, where is Goan?" and most of all I remember the first kisses and how they say "I love you Goan"

J&J at 3 months

Now, they are 3 years old. They can finally say my name correctly. They are now becoming little men. They are growing fast right before my eyes.

To J&J, happy birthday my loves! I'm sure you are going to out grow me really soon, but you will forever be my little nephews. I love you both!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You Can Always Go Home Again (sort of)

On April 12, I received the green light to go on vacation back to my homeland with my mom. Without hesitation, I booked the same flight as her. Even though I would be returning on a different day as my mom and the flight would be very long in cramped seats, that didn't stop my excitement about going home - especially since I haven't been home in 8 years.

Having a newly adopted dog that has become very attached to and dependant on me, I was worried about leaving him alone with my husband. As I have mentioned before, Lenny (my dog) is a little afraid of my husband. I knew that Lenny would be very sad when I left. As a matter of fact, the night before I left, while packing, Lenny could sense that I was leaving. He followed me around and started chewing the luggage. But the most painful part was when he went inside the luggage while I was organizing my clothes. Two things came to mind as what would happen - either Lenny would get closer to and bond with my husband or he would fall into a deep depression, stop eating and get sick. With my husband's assurance that everything would be ok, on April 19, I left home and headed to the Philippines.

On April 21 (local date), we arrived in Manila after a 23 hour long flight. We stayed in the city for two days to take care of some errands, but that was not to be our main destination. On April 25th, after 45 minutes flight from Manila, we arrived in Tacloban City. In 8 years the city had changed a lot. There were a lot more people that I remember. There were also lot more stores to shop in and roads that used to be packed with bicycles were now packed with different kinds of motorized vehicles. Eight years ago, if you looked for hamburger, it would take you hours to find. Now, the city has many different kinds of fast food joints to choose from. Before, they used to have 1 shopping mall - Gaisano, now there is a second, even bigger Gaisano, as well as the Robinson Mall to compete with them. But Gaisano is still my favorite shopping mall in Tacloban. I have visited that mall so many times in my life, that I still remembered the ins and outs of the mall.

(top) San Juanico Bridge (below) Gen. McArthur Park - "I Shall Return"

Chowking is my favorite fast food in Tacloban city because of the Halo-Halo they sell. After going there for the third time (they always run out of ice) we finally got to enjoy this delicious concoction.

However, not everything changed in Tacloban -- the constant nose picking, spitting, men walking half naked, smoking inside the jeepneys, the honking of cars trying to turn one way roads into two way, the smell of diesel motor-vehicles and the unbelievably pungent smell of the supermarket. These are the things I could NEVER get used to. But, I love the hospitality of Tacloban city -- the friendly people, their (missing teeth) smiles and most importantly the respectfulness of the workers. I love the way they call me "ma'am" even in McDonalds.

Balangiga was our next stop. This historic town in Eastern Samar is mom's birthplace. Visiting this place was the main reason that I decided to go home. Most of my family still lives here and I missed them very much. After my mom and I settled in, we were served a very familiar dish of grilled blue marlin, commonly known as Sulusugi. My cousin also brought us caimito (star-apple) in exchange for a real apple.

While enjoying our feast, a combination of mosquitoes and flies were enjoying my body. The dining table was always full of fun and laughter. I love the way my uncle teased my aunt and my aunt responded back annoyed and irritated. I love the way my cousin would say something stupid and everyone would laugh at him. I also enjoy listening to them gossiping about other people or complaining about family members. It's the typical family drama - something I missed very much.

Speaking of family drama, I was surprised to find out that most of my cousins now have their own babies. Either they impregnated someone or they got pregnant. Some were forced to marry someone because they impregnated someone. It's sad story but it's also reality. Being the very first one in the family who actually got married without getting knocked up, I became the hot topic of the subject. I got constant questions about "when are you having babies" or comments that "you should have a baby now because you're getting old". I tried to answer them politely or have a laugh at it but the questioning never seemed to stop. One time, I got so fed of that I bluntly answered them: "I don't want to be a statistic of one of the irresponsible parents who have the nerve to make babies, knowing that they can't afford them. I don't want to have a baby and still rely on parent's help". That answer shut them up for sure.

Overall my stay in Balangiga ang Tacloban was fun especially with the help of my favorite cousin Nildz, who took me to different places. He really made my trip more memorable. I will surely come back soon and stay a lot longer.

As for Lenny, it turns out that he was ok. According to my husband and our dog walker Roz, the first 2 days was a bit difficult. He didn't ear or drink and he hid under the bed. After that, he started to warm up to my husband. As a matter of fact, he has now stopped barking at my husband. Two nights ago, when my husband got home and sat down on the couch, I gave him a kiss and Lenny came near him, looked at him, jumped on his belly and slept there. Although he doesn't wiggle his tail when my husband gets home, Lenny now greets my husband on the door. I guess good things happened while I was away. Perhaps I should go away alone often. :-)