The Taste of Home

My first taste of spring was optimistic, to put it lightly.  I was welcomed by Blizzard Jonas, and while my husband was slaving around shovelling snow, I was jumping in them.  Spring, though, looked exactly how I pictured it:  a true rebirth.  Everything that was dull and grey suddenly became bright and green, full of life and bloom.  So that only meant one thing:  it was time to fire up the grill.

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I meant it when I said that I miss my father’s cooking.  A part of me always struggles to bring that to the table, whenever I cook for our family or for a gathering.  In a way, I’m making sure that my father was not forgotten, and he was always known for being a good cook.  He’s a mechanic by the way, like my husband, but when he starts working in the kitchen, he will blow you away.

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My father always loved to grill… and I never liked it.  I found it difficult tempering the fire (especially back in my country where we do it in coals), it was too hot to keep cooking (since our normal day temperature was at least 95ºF), the food either cooked too fast or too slow, and you always ended up smelling like smoke.  But grilling was my father’s forte.

Imagine my joy when I heard from family members that my husband’s grilled pork belly tasted so closely to my father’s.  Since moving here, I requested for that pork belly every other month or so, and he would make it the same way, and it would taste the same way.  And it would always be perfect.

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Each time there’d be a gathering here, I try to volunteer his cooking.  Most of the time though, they’d request for it, just like when people requested my father to grill.  I feel blessed and fortunate to have the past, the present and the future all existing in the person I chose to spend my life with.

I truly am living the dream.

One of the things that I genuinely miss in this life is my father's cooking. For those who met him, they would say that #sirboy's cooking was warm, savory and inviting. It tasted like you're cared for and loved. When he passed, that was one of my first thoughts: I will never taste my father's cooking ever again. Then, this man came along. I'd like to believe it's a confirmation that I truly am meant to be with him. His grilled dishes never fail to make me think of my Tatay, especially his liempo. And it makes sense too, that my husband would be the one person I'd leave my home for, only for him to bring back to me — laid perfectly on my table, hot and seared to perfection — the meals that would make me feel like I never left. I love you, Allan. #carlallan #love #blessmyheart #foodforthought

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Four years today

It’s been four years today, and it still feels like first.  Migrating to a completely new place is not enough to keep me from remembering that on this day, four years ago, at 5 in the morning, my father passed without me by his side.

Four years ago, my brothers experienced the worst kind of sorrow and the highest level of despair, and I was not present to comfort them.

Four years ago, my mother had to witness the love of her life be torn away from her, quite instantaneously, without my arms around her.

Four years ago, I failed my family because I was too self-indulgent to be home for the weekend.

Four years ago.  Feels like first.

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Riding the Bus

Diary entry June 24, 2016

After months of waiting, this week, I was finally presented the opportunity to use the local bus by myself.  I’m pretty sure not a lot of people would share my enthusiasm, but I have used public transportation for as long as I can remember.  So this is a landmark for me.

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I walked to my stop 10 minutes early.  The bus arrived 10 minutes late; too many kids out from school made him drive slower and more cautiously than usual.  I dropped my exact fare at the machine; the driver gave me my receipt.  It was a pleasant afternoon.  If there’s no one waiting at the stop, the bus speeds along.  There were only a few passengers; the driver greeted each one as they boarded.

I know if I had just asked, I could have been driven to my destination and I would have traveled for 12 minutes instead of 30.  But this is what I want for the my country:  scheduled bus stops at designated locations, affordable fare, disciplined riders, clean and orderly busses with space for the handicapped.  I truly believe that efficient mass transit will lessen so much of our country’s burden.

In the meantime, I have to bear the thought that my mother still has to leave at 5i n the morning to catch a bus or a shuttle that will traverse the streets for almost (and sometimes over) two hours before getting her to a drop off point some five blocks from her office.  My mother is in her early 60s.

Oh, the injustice that someone half her age enjoys the convenience and the leisure that she should be enjoying now.