Thank You from the Philippines

“This morning I thought that I wanted to see the Philippines in the newspaper this often…but for different reasons. My heart is with you, tatlim!” – a message sent by my Brazilian friend

In this trying times when we, Filipinos, are on our knees, we only have this to say:



Les, I feel like I’ve been convinced by some indian guys to go horseback riding with the Dalton Brothers in Cappadocia.

Really, what was I thinking? Writing on your blog? (Is it on or in your blog?? Ooooffff I don’t even know English enough for this! Give me a dictionary, lütfen!) you can see, I left it to the last minutes of this day. Cause I’m brazilian and we do that: we leave everything for the last minute!

Maybe not because I’m brazilian…maybe cause I spent the whole day thinking about what to write here, and thinking about everything we lived together and thinking how much you mean to me. And I couldn’t find the words to explain that…

What is the Universe telling us when it puts both of us in the same country, same city, doing the same thing and with some people in common to introduce us in the middle of a crowded street at the end of some random day?

Bilmiyorum 😉

I just know I thank the Universe for that. I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful that in the middle of a strange country, with people talking a strange language and having some strange food we decided not to be strangers anymore.

I’m thankful for our courage and for not having giving up on each other… Cause we have to admit: we even look weird together. It seems like we were not build to be friends! But we did it! In the middle of akward moments and some feelings that I was only thinking about beer and that you were not thinking about having fun (“She behaves like an old lady” I thought!)…in the middle of all these things, we made it!

And now, here I am… to start a new chapter! A written one 😉

Let’s see how it goes. Hope it tastes like manti and doesn’t look like a buyuk maymun 😉Imagem

One Day At A Time

December 19, 2012

Kanapa saya di sini?

That was the question I was asking the waiter and the cashier serving me last night over dinner. And also to practice (or brag?) that finally, I am getting the hang of Bahasa Indonesia.

“Kanapa saya di sini?”

Why am I here?

Last night was difficult. I found myself sending my sister some distressed Whatsapp message begging her to go online in Skype.

I had some idle time before dinner and decided to browse through Facebook. And what did I see? Posts of people who are preparing for Christmas holidays or photos of people attending their Christmas parties.

And where am I again? Oh. In Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country in the whole wide world.

At least my workplace tried their best to catch even a little of that Christmas spirit that I am so used to. They put up some Christmas trees here and there and some of those glittery tinsels hanged in odd places around.

Still, Christmas, Philippines. Incomparable. Don’t get me started.

So I tried to entertain myself by watching TV while I eat dinner alone. Channel News Asia is discussing how 2012 fared with 2011. Another reminder. New Year. Indonesia. Haaaayyyy…

My sister was still trying to connect to Skype though she was failing terribly. The internet connection she has that time was terrible.

I jogged my brain. Who else can listen to my childish rants? Aaaahhh. Alan.

He said he is in Serendra and cannot Skype. But of course this is me and I don’t take no for an answer. A few minutes later and my Skype was ringing. The connection again was terrible. I think this time it is from my end. He gave up with Skype and just called me in my Indo number. And I still have to check if it is a collect call as what he claims. Do collect calls still exist? That is so historical. Anyway.

The call helped. Hearing something familiar and speaking something familiar made me relax.

I was still at a loss on what to do after that. Dinner is finished and I still have some time before I hit the bed. The other expat colleague was sprawled in one couch drinking his Bintang wondering as well why the hell he was here.

Then the cashier told me he will leave the resto for a while as he needs to attend some Christmas party planning. That my bill will be handled by the waiter. That he will try to be back as soon as he can.

Wait! Christmas party planning! That sounds familiar. Where is it? I wanna come! I wanna join! So I dragged the other expat and bundled his Bintangs and off we went to gatecrash some Christmas party planning.

One part of their Christmas program is a skit. They were practicing. I volunteered myself to be part of it. Yes, this is me. They say for my part, I can speak in English. Tidak! No! I will speak Indonesian. I will try to twist my tongue and speak Indonesian.

I got a round of applause after I did my part. Whew. Now the loneliness is lifting. Social interaction. It helps a lot.

And I got to convince the other expat that we sing together some English Christmas carols. Yeah. I love embarrassing myself in public. We still have to practice our songs though.

The planning was over. I went back to my room. Alan went online in Skype. The connection was a little bit better. We managed to have some decent conversation. About Simuno at Panaguri.

Yeah, we spent almost 2 hours recalling our Filipino subjects back in grade school and high school. It started with my Bahasa Indonesia which I am trying so hard to learn. I told him that Bahasa Indonesia is a little bit easier to study and remember for a foreigner than studying Filipino. They don’t have any tenses here. No need for prefixes and suffixes.

And that’s where all those pangngalan, pangabay, pantukoy, and panguri came out.

Nerdy talk. 2 hours of remembering lantay, pahambing at pasukdol. Of pasalaysay, pautos, patanong and padamdam. Of laughing our ass out with pambalana and pangatnig.

Oh my gad. It was hilarious. And I just amazed myself that I can still remember all these things.

Thank gad my internet connection turned bad when we started talking about stoichiometry, joules, valences, Kelvin, Rankine and others. I suck in those subjects.

I learned one thing.

Yes, loneliness can creep in once in a while but there is so much more in life than that. Family, friends, new experiences and old memories.

Life is good.

So, kanapa saya di sini?

I still don’t know.

And I don’t care.

Because life is what we make it.

I will just take it one day at a time.

Manny Pacquiao and Missing Home

Pacquiao made me homesick

I totally forgot it was the big fight. I was so busy checking Ikea online for Christmas stuff that we will be using to decorate the place here. Anyway, in one of those lulls when some Christmas images were loading, I checked my phone for some updates. And there, I saw it. The stream of tweets and FB posts came like water. It was like I was watching the fight. And then Pacquiao got knocked down. And then it was over. What the…

Despite the distance and the growing disinterest really in the sport because I find it too barbaric though I still watch it (I know…), I can’t help but be one with the Filipino community as we console ourselves for the great loss. I saw the twitpic of ABS-CBN and seeing Pacman lie flat, face down on the floor gave me the creeps. That is our champion. Heavy.

Anyway, the fight also made me think of home. Boxing fights like this transform the house into a fan crowd. All schedules for the afternoon will be cancelled. Lunch will be cooked early. Meal will be eaten 30 minutes ahead than usual, and the person in charge to wash the dishes will moan to high heavens because of the high chances of missing some very good jabs here and there.

My Dad loves boxing. I think his fascination with the sport rubbed into us unconsciously.

Since we were kids we always watch a good match with him on TV. It will all start early in the morning when we will all run for the newspaper and read all the commentaries about the fight, psych ourselves on who is the better boxer and then root for that person until he wins or loses. And it will end as we watch reruns and expert commentaries of the fight that was.

And now that I am here, far from the maddening cheers and hoots of all the Filipinos watching the match, I felt homesick. Haaaay.

I am one with every Filipino lamenting for this loss. I can’t say more. It was just a heavy, saddening loss. Even though we always say it was a good fight despite the knock out, we all know that it is Marquez we want to see there on the floor.

And I am also lamenting for the lost time I should have spent with my family preparing lunch early, eating the meal 30 minutes ahead than usual and hoping that it wouldn’t be my schedule to wash the dishes and miss some good jabs here and there.

I miss home.