Back from the Holiday

I just came back from a quick holiday in one of the islands here in Indonesia.

Today, I am officially back to work. I am supposed to be still traveling on my way back to Indonesia if my South Korean trip pushed through. Thinking about what happened and what I went through with regard to planning and missing that trip still breaks my heart. But as my raja yoga teacher said one time in one of our meditation sessions, stop making your life like a telenovela. Stop repeating the same stories again and again in your head. It won’t change anything anyway.

So anyway, I was back in the hills yesterday afternoon. I did some work but was really just floating as my holiday mood is still hanging over.

Today, I really have to show up and earn my living again. Not.

I am still not back, I realized. I had a late breakfast, some short meetings here and there, replied to some mails, then went back to my room and doze off. Can you believe it? I dozed off? I forced myself to wake up a couple of hours later and went to one resto to have lunch. I saw the Aussie chef and started complaining that I am bored. He said the feeling is mutual. I was not in the mood to eat anything really so I just had my green mangoes. Then I was asked by the golfkeeper if I would join the caddy training today. They need somebody to play golf. Well, I have nothing lined up to do yet anyway. In short I spent the whole afternoon in the golf course with the other expat hitting those balls.

I was hitting from the tee box at first but after several holes and a lot of lost balls and wasted time, the Aussie expat declared that I will just be playing from the Drop Area. Fine. He probably needs to prepare dinner later and with me taking all the time in the world to hit those balls, we’d be lucky if we’re done come sun down. Anyway, I was just pitching and putting, pitching and putting, pitching and putting. It really looks like a boring game to me but when you start playing, somehow you get to appreciate it. Precision, accuracy, mental state, body control and a lot of other things are at play.

So there. The day is still not finished but will probably end the way it started. Slack. Tomorrow is another day.

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My Green Mango Experience

I’ve been wanting to eat green mangoes for a couple of weeks now. It must be that time of the year. In the Philippines, this beautiful fruit is in its abundance by now. I saw some in the jungle here 2 weeks ago lying on the ground. They call it hutan mangga or jungle mango. It looks like our indian mango to me. Anyway, being the picky me, I did not dare to take them lest they’ve been lying there for days.

Then from my recent holiday, I saw some stalls selling ripe mangoes by the roadside. I got some. They are so sweet! But there still aint no green mangoes. Up until I got into the office in our city. Oh my. Those are the mangoes I like!!!

The security guards found me weird when I shrieked in delight and begged them to pick some for me.

I brought them back to the hills and tarrrraaaaaaa… Here it is. They taste like heaven. The only thing missing is my bagoong. They have this version of shrimp paste here called blachan but it still tastes different from what we have back home. But I am not complaining. Just some toyo and asin are enough to satisfy the Filipino in me. 🙂

Not Meant to Be

I woke up early yesterday. 6 AM to be exact.

I was excited and nervous and agitated and happy. Finally, I am going to have my much-longed-for long holiday.

The car that will bring me back to the city picked me and my stuff around 9 AM. My flight is at 9 PM. Look who’s excited?

I have some business to do in the city anyway. I have to exchange some money and pick up my passport from the travel agency. They tried getting me a South Korean visa. Deep within I know I can get a visa. But due to unfortunate events that is beyond my control and only Indonesian bureaucracy can explain, I did not get it. That’s another story of a lifetime.

The fact is I booked a ticket for Seoul and all the onward flights around the island a month ago. When I learned this heartbreaking news last week, it crushed me. I just threw money in the air. That flight cannot be refunded. Me and my cheap airline choices. I know. It is not cheap for me anyway.

But I cannot be deterred. Nobody can stop me from the trip. I booked a new set of tickets that will not pass by Seoul (which requires a South Korean visa for a Filipino even if you are just transiting and will not leave the airport) and booked a direct flight to Jeju while my passport was being sent back from the South Korean embassy in Jakarta to Medan.

I know I will have it in time for my trip.

Not.

Yesterday, as I unload my luggage from the car to our office in the city all jolly and perky because of my holiday mood, one staff asked me if I’ve heard the news. What news? My passport is lost. The courier company who received it cannot find it?

I was like “What the hell?”

I did not lose hope. I still have a few hours before my flight. I secretly thanked myself for going down earlier. I went to the courier company and that is the worst feeling in the world.

Imagine listening to people who looks half interested about my problem and whose faces don’t even show a hint of care. Those are the supposed ‘carers’ of my passport. And we don’t even understand each other! I thought I can understand basic Indonesian already but I realized that when emotions are high, you cannot be patient to understand them and string words to make them understand you.

I cried. That is my passport.

In short, I missed my flight. There won’t be any way in this world that I can get out of Indonesia that time.

I did not lose hope. I was hoping it can still be found until today.

I went back to the courier company. Same story.

I want to pull out all my hairs, cry to high heavens, bawl and kick, but what can it do?

I talked to a very close friend who can always knock sense to my head and my sister. I know they will do me good.

It took quite a few hours for their words to sink in. Listening to me, they said was a mess. I was not myself. I cannot even come up with a good, comprehensible sentence. I was just a ball of depressed hysteric.

I did what I need to do. I forced myself. I went to the police station, filed a report, called the Philippine embassy in Jakarta, tried to salvage a few pennies that I can from all my lost flight, cancelled my hotel reservations, fed myself because I realized I only ate 2 spoonfuls of congee in the morning and it was 8 PM already.

And then talked to the same friend again. He asked me what happened to the person he was talking to earlier? I sounded much like my old self.

Well, I want to believe I am back to my old self

I started working again. I am going up to the hills again tomorrow to work.

I guess nothing can be done anyway. I can sulk all day here in the city but it won’t accomplish anything. I can stress myself by hanging out in the courier but I will just give myself a heart attack. I can mourn the amount of money and tears I lost but they can never come back.

It was just a series of unfortunate event. And as my friend said, the faster you accept it the easier it will be for you later on.

I guess he’s right. I know he is right.

This is just a bad case of not meant to be.

Do you have an experience that can top mine?

I just want to believe what my Dad said when I told him the incident yesterday. Maybe you’re not meant to be there, he said. Maybe I am not.

The directors’ words somehow lifted me up too. I was asking why does this have to happen to me? One said be strong. He doesn’t know the answer. Only the big guy up there knows why He wants me to stay. The other director said look at the bright side. Life is like that. Ups and downs. Just think of a toddler learning how to walk. How fast he or she will get up after falling says a lot about the toddler’s character. Chin up.

Well I guess I found the bright side. I must go home to get a new passport. I will be home. Soon.

Nanay

Nanay secretly slipping one of my graduation photos in the pocket of her daster when she thought I was not looking. That one will always be remembered.

Nanay.

————

My sister broke the news. Kuya followed shortly.

I don’t know how to react.

I tried to push it aside. I have to be strong.

Then Kuya sent another message. “Naikiss kita kanina kay Nanay.”

And that opened the floodgates of my eyes.

Nanay.

I will miss you buying cola for us every time we drop by for a visit.

I will miss you giving me Php100 every Christmas even if I’ve already started working. You always insist.

I will miss you worrying about the high cost of electric bill hence you turning off the TV and fan when you think we were not looking.

I will miss you eating dinner at 4 PM.

I will miss you going to bed at 6 PM.

I will miss you shooing us to go home when the clock strikes 3 PM. “Gagabihin na kayo sa daan.”

I will miss you when you say “Mangain ka ng santol dyan. Manguha kayo ng santol ahoy. Mag-uwi kayo ng langka. Dalhin niyo na ito.”

I will miss eating your shrimp recipe.

I will miss you every time you ask me when will I get married then a few hours later saying don’t get married too early.

I will miss a lot of things about you Nanay.

But more than anything else, I will miss YOU.

It is painful to see you go especially at this age when memories are so instilled that forgetting is next to impossible.

But just like anything in this world, we know there is a time for everything.

God said it is time.

Thanks for being our Nanay. You did such a great job.

Kiss Tatay for us. Until we meet again.

We love you. I love you.

Unusual Calmness

Where do I begin?

Silence.

Quiet acceptance.

There are things in life that shock us to our core and make us ask difficult questions which have no answers.

But then there are things in life that we graciously accept, not because we admitted defeat, but because deep within we know that that’s just the way it is.

Eventually for everybody, that’s just the way it is.

I have been trying to converse with the self. The I and the Me. Nobody wants to do the talking. Both are very quiet, pensive, brooding.

It is still a loss, says this person who has the front row seat now in my life.

I know. It is a loss. But I am surprised with the self. Instead of wailing and crying and questioning and bargaining, the self was still.

I can even say peaceful.

I don’t know where this foreboding feeling is coming from. There is sadness of course. But more than that, what is overpowering above all else is calmness.

“At the end of it all, the only question that matters is that did she have a happy life?”, the person asked.

I cannot answer that. Nobody can answer that.

But remembering those quick, stolen times when I caress her, tease her and share all my stupid stories to irritate her and make her laugh, I want to believe that even for a moment I made her happy.

“Lespoy, kelan ka mag-aasawa?” she always asks every time I bid her goodbye from my visit.

“Nanay! Ano ba?! Ang ganda ko kaya. Wag kang mag-alala. Bata pa ko. Tsaka bukas na lang! Gabi na kaya!” Then I will give her a hug and a kiss, bring her hand to my forehead and then quickly run to the car.

She will always stay by the gate to see me off. She’ll wave. I’ll wave. I’ll honk the horn, she’ll close the gate and then I will speed off.