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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Manila, Manila!

I’ve been in a Manila a little over a week and it’s been a whirlwind of activity. Of course my main priority at this time is taking care of my dad who is slowly recovering from very invasive surgery. Luckily we have been blessed with wonderful news and the surgery was successful. Another miracle that we must be thankful for and that reminds us how good God truly is to us. My dad’s recovery though is slow and there are a few minor bumps along the way. The last few days we have been encamped at the hospital trying to make sure we can help him through this difficult time. It is a bittersweet time for me. On the one hand I am so happy to be home and to have this chance to take care of my dad. But on the other, it is very hard for me to see my dad in pain and so very anxious about his recovery. The one blessing is my mom who has remained unbelievably calm and clear-headed even at our lowest points. This has been a true test to our family and I am so proud to say that we have all held on and stayed together through the good and bad.

Being home has also been a wonderful experience. Things are so familiar but also so different. It’s been almost 8 years since I last was in Manila and I am amazed at the things that have remained the same yet fascinated by everything that has changed. It’s so great to be home. It is hard to describe how I felt when I first saw my family, friends and household helper (especially those I have not seen in 8 years!). I am so happy to handout pasalubong for everyone since I’ve been planning this homecoming for ages and have been anticipating this for so long! It was surreal to walk through the house I grew up in and to visit places I used to frequent when I lived here. It is quite strange to see so many new places to visit, eat, shop and hang out. In the beginning it was hard for me to even fathom being here after waiting to come home for so long. But I got used to it pretty quickly!

There are many good and not so good things about Manila (the same as in Torrance, or L.A., or Berkeley, or anywhere else I have lived before). But it’s all a matter of perspective and of acclimating yourself to your surroundings. It’s true Manila weather is pretty hard to tolerate at first – I can’t recall it being this humid when I lived here! And the traffic is just an endless parking lot where cars crawl at a very slow pace – not to mention the crazy driving people get away with here! I am so worried that we will sideswiped one of those jeepneys or motorcycles that seem to appear almost at every turn or that one of those lumbering smoke-belching buses will ram into our car! But despite all these, it is so good to be home. It is wonderful having our helpers take care of our every little need, it is great seeing my grandmothers (both ama and guama) and a few of my aunts and uncles, it is fun hanging out with my best friend, Les, and some of my high school friends, it is awesome shopping at the Xmas bazaar, and the best part is hanging out with Jim and Joy (both of whom are going out of their way to make this a special homecoming). It just reminds me that even in all the time I’ve been away, Manila will always be home in my heart.


joyeee said...

Great Blog dets!!! We miss you so much and we're glad you're home... hope you had fun in our food trips and shopping sprees...more to come for sure! :) Love you!

leslie Ty said...

It's soooooo great to have you back in Jo! =)

We had a blast last Saturday when we had lunch...they kept on asking me when can we have another get together...since i'm your offcial social secretary...i have to check with you first =)

I'm really happy your back Jo =)

can't wait to hang out again!

Anonymous said...

hey jo, how you been?

Anonymous said...

hi joanne,
once in a while i read your blog. i enjoy them to be honest. lately though, i just wanted to check on your dads condition and you. maybe you posted some up-dates.
i pray for you & your family.


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