Friday, April 22, 2011

Back again for more...

"When there's never enough time, you always look forward."

There's an old saying that I hear from time to time when I least expect a moment of reminiscing and that is "if only they could see me now" or something to that effect. Usually when I hear that in my mind, I'm thinking about my mom. So many times I wish she were here to be a part of what has become so special in my life. I can recall many moments when she wished she could see and experience what it would be like to visit other countries. It didn't matter which one, though she did have at the top of her list, Great Britain, France, maybe China but if she were still around, she would've experienced the beautiful times I've had now in the Philippines. She would've gotten spoiled and amazed by her discovery and probably asked my love if she could simply stay in her house by the beach and do absolutely nothing. Out there she might miss her TV shows and especially her sports but she'd love the scenery and those delicious sausages every morning aka Longaniza.

Anyway, I say all that to say that recently I returned to the Philippines for my second visit. It was just as wonderful as the first time around. It felt again like home though this time my love and I just stuck around the home province rather than venturing off to other places like Boracay, Tagaytay, etc. This time it felt as if we were practicing being retired and in between all of that practicing was adventure, drama, baptism, lots of love, me sort of getting sick and gorgeous mornings followed by beautiful sunset filled evenings. Wow... watching a sunset every single evening never gets old. It was better than TV. And the highlight for me was the same as the first time around; the people. The kindness and endless smiles... This time, many of those smiles came from young children, especially those close by to my love's house. A stroll down the beach will find you in the middle of some wonderful people and the sweetest children who laugh, smile and wave at the mere sight of someone seemingly different from them. That someone being me. I had the greatest time just walking in the area, which was something that I wanted to do more so than anything on my return visit. I'm hoping for more of the same the next time we go. Again, I wish my mom could've been there. True, she's always with me in spirit but what an incredible time it would've been to hear her famous words of expression when she'd witness so much kindness from those that are seeing you for the very first time. She'd say "goodness!" and then she'd laugh in amazement.

I love the pride I see in the Philippines amongst everyone. I pray they never lose it or become jaded or take for granted that feeling which keeps them so positive despite the obvious poverty or lack of the so-called finer things. There was a lot of pride in the U.S. back in the day; a lot of smiles too. Now, you see anger, arrogance, a lack of caring, which sometimes gets the most attention. The spotlight loves that sort of thing in a strange way but nevertheless, it feels amazing when you come across pure goodness no matter what country you're in. And when it comes to the Philippines, I would say 95% of the time it's that kind of good feeling, at least so far... *smile* No doubt they have issues as we all have. As I said, there was drama on our trip; the kind that's controlled by man's inability to see what he has or to recognize the importance of time that goes away in a heartbeat. And many times, that drama got in the way; our way.

Pangasinan is such a great province to be in. I love the small towns and cities. To me, everything is there. All you could ever need with respect to food, fun and scenery. I'm amazed by all the various town fiestas that happen throughout the year and if you dont mind being out in the crowds, the heat and everything else then every day would be a party in those places like Mangaldan, Dagupan City, etc. I was hoping to find a really good spot where we could sit and do some people watching but we didn't discover that just yet. Next time, perhaps but it was still great.I could go on forever as the discovery continues even for me in memory. I think and imagine the times that my love and I have shared in her home country, including my very special baptism, which was something that my mother wished for and wanted to see even just before she passed away. She told me during those final days that it was her only regret. Looking forward to my next visit and the one of a kind special moment that will become the highlight.... Last year around this time we were in the final days of our vacation in the Philippines. Time is so fast but in memory, it lasts forever!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Just a day...

Today seemed to be one of those days when my senses were heightened, I suppose. I mean, I could pick up on a lot of things, with respect to human behavior in this crazy town of LA. I haven't felt this since the best days of my writing when I was actively seeking these sort of moments. It was funny, it was weird at times, it was cool; each and every moment. I had planned several errands to take care of today and at first I was lazy. It's hot outside and I didn't want to leave the comforts of home. It took me a while to get out but after basically shouting at myself to get up and take care of business, I did just that. Had some bills to pay, buy some stamps, smog check, grocery store. Nothing major but still it needed to get done rather than to be put off and remain on my mind.

At the post-office when I walked in, I noticed several people standing with the arms folded, some tapping their feet and some taking in huge breaths. I knew then that, uh-oh, someone is taking forever and driving folks crazy. The post-office had three windows open and two of them had people who asked a million questions. They tried every angle they could to get out of paying too much money. One guy even brought a print out of the rules and regulations about priority mail shipping and tried to debate the person behind the counter. He kept underlining things and saying the clerk was wrong. At the other window was a woman who didn't understand the difference between international and domestic mail. She kept saying that when she mails things to New York its not that expensive. So the clerk said "but this is going to Germany, ma'am? International rates are different." They went back and forth and were still debating each other as I was leaving. And I was five people behind the other debating customer. That was a trip, especially to hear all the whispers, deep breaths, laughter, and maybe one or two people saying "I don't fricken believe this!"

The smog test place was cool. I was pleasantly surprised by the nice help, good atmosphere, and quick service. Not much to observe there except for the expensive price of sixty-five dollars but as I waited, I had a chance to say hello to my love, which of course is always a blessing and keeps me smiling...

Smart & Final was funny... The guy working there that brings in the carts had major attitude and when I approached the cart area to grab one, he gave me the evil eye but didn't make eye contact. He just stared at my shoes. I was gonna greet him and say hello but there was just too much weirdness going on there. Haha.. Anyway, inside the store as I browsed the aisles this guy with a great southern accent greeted me as he was searching for his coffee. He explained to me the differences price-wise with the coffee and he was right. He pointed to this tiny bag of flavored coffee that cost over twelve dollars and then showed me the seven dollar, very large bag of regular coffee that he had and smiled. "Ya see what I mean?" He wished me a nice day and a great weekend and when I said to him to have a great weekend too, he responded with a very hearty "YESSS!! I will certainly do that!" He had me feeling happy just to be in the store... Haha Haha... Then I must say, it was funny to hear this guy talking on his cellphone. I usually try to ignore or getaway if I can from folks who talk way too loud on their cellphones but this guy was funny as he said to the caller "I can't hear you right now, I'm walking past the aisle with the pancakes and muffins so its probably screwing up the coverage. Can you hear me now!?!?!" Several of us laughed that were standing in the area...

So, that was about an hour and a half of my day... It's nice to know that my antenna still works as I still believe every moment of our lives is important, even the most trivial because there's a story waiting to be told everywhere. And as I was returning to my car at Smart & Final, I saw the cart guy again, he still gave me the evil eye but he looked up and almost smiled but I guess it's just not cool in his mind to be nice rather than weird.. *smile* Such is life.... at least out here..

Friday, April 08, 2011

Last Sunday...

Time is so unforgiving because it flies by without giving you much time to reflect or to absorb and observe each moment to the fullest. Seems like the days, nights; the hours and minutes zip by a lot faster than many years ago when it felt like days would last forever. They say it’s because when you’re older, that comes with the territory; time flying by. I used to agree with that but several times I’ve even heard some that fall under the category of being “young,” curse the days because they went by so fast.

“School again! What happened to the weekend; dang!”

This is why I try not to do as we all have done; fall into that groove of taking each day for granted. Do I ever take it for granted? “Sometimes” is the answer as everyone is guilty, including me. It’s another reason why I try to appreciate each moment with love and to feel so grateful when she spoils the heck out of me; which she does constantly. And this past trip we took to her home in the Philippines, though we didn’t do a lot of “exciting things” nevertheless it was beautiful and wonderful. It was like a pre-cursor to being retired together and not having a care in the world, which was almost the case due to some drama from a swindler (first initial ‘D’”) and some land issues and some umm, spirits visiting, but that’s a long still in development story. *smile* The bulk of our time there was fabulous.

Anyway, my main reason for writing this was/is to pay tribute and respect to not only the passing of a wonderful lady but also the beauty of a tradition that I believe should be practiced by everyone. I’m speaking of the tradition of celebrating the 40th day after the passing of a loved one. It gives you a chance not only to pray for their soul but to also gather and keep strong, the bond between family. That’s a moment that should never go un-appreciated. This past Sunday was the day for such a celebration in memory of Emiliana Perez; the grandmother of my love. I looked forward to it because I knew it would be plenty of smiles, laughter, great food and just an overall special time. I enjoy even just the voices that I hear. They remind me so much of the voices I'd hear from my Texas family on my father's side back in the day. The similarities are interesting. I could visualize not only stories from what I hear but great memories; both in the past and in the making... I also enjoy the handshakes; seeing my hero Julius *smile* and gazing at my love and the closeness she shares with her two sisters. Their bond makes you smile and their laughter is contagious. And, not to mention, their beautiful mom continuing on in the tradition of Emiliana. Truly a great family. 40 days, I can’t believe have already gone by! Just like with my mom, I can't believe the time since her passing so much that I hate counting just how long its been...