The Inexplicable

There is a reason, dear blog readers, why self is sleeping next to Dearest Mum in her big narra bed tonight.  The reason is:

We were yesterday in Punta Fuego, we took brother’s boat out to a nearby island.  At sunset, we cast Ying’s ashes on the water, along with flowers and rosaries (This was supposed to have happened last month.  In fact, self posted about it.  Only to find, upon her arrival, a few weeks ago, that it had not yet happened.  Oh, strange mystery of life.  But she is glad she was able to participate in this ceremony for Ying, who self loved with all her heart, who was as dear to self as her own sister).  We said prayers.  Self wished:  “Go in peace, Ying.”

This afternoon, we went home.  Self was alone in the house.  Everyone was in brother’s unit, a few doors down.  Self heard movement on the stairs.  She thought it was Dearest Mum.  She called out, “Mom, is that you?”  No answer.  Self peered down the stairwell.  Saw no one.  A few seconds later, she heard it again: the same sound on the stairs.  She peered down again.  This time, she picked up her bag and practically flew down the stairs and out of the house.  Just a few yards away, she saw Dearest Mum, walking.

“Was that you on the stairs?” she asked.

Dearest Mum said no, she’d never even entered the house.

This evening, we all had dinner at Serendra.  Beautiful evening, a fresh breeze was blowing.  When we got home, Dearest Mum stooped, picked up something from the doorstep.  A rosary.  One of the ones we threw from the boat.

“How did this get here?”  Dearest Mum asked.  “Could your brother have gone into the house?”

“No,” self said.

“It was right here, on the front step,” Dearest Mum said.  She showed it to self.  Yes, it was one of the rosaries self thought she had thrown from the boat.

“Could it have fallen out of your bag?” Dearest Mum asked.

Self shook her head.  The last she had seen the rosaries was on the boat.  At that point, when Dearest Mum asked if self would like to sleep with her in her room, she didn’t have to ask twice.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The “Yaya” Culture

Self getting so tired of the yaya culture, she can’t tell ya.

She has lived and breathed it for the last 20 days.

Self understands that families here cannot live without the yaya.  To guard their toddlers every minute of their waking life.  To wipe asses and so forth and so on.  To fork food into children’s often unwilling mouths.  To be ordered about.  To give that extra sense of security when one is wandering in a strange place.

And yet, if it were not for Dear Bro’s two yayas, self would be bereft, utterly bereft.  One yaya, Marietta, is 29 years old.  She hails from Bacolod.  She has a college degree, she tells self:  a Bachelor of Arts in “Customs.”  What is that?  Marietta says it is a degree that would have allowed her to work in the Customs area of the airport.  (Self had no idea, none, that such a degree even existed)

The other yaya is Fe.  She brings self her coffee every morning.  She loads self’s cell phone with “Smart” minutes (when not chasing after Dearest Mum).  She has a five-year-old boy somewhere in the outskirts of Manila, that her husband watches.  She sees her son only twice a month, on her days off.  The trip back and forth to her home takes a total of four hours.

Self would like to remember these yayas.  She tells them she hopes they will still be around when she returns (hopefully not for another couple of years).  She darts glances at them when her frustrations with her family are at their height.  She reads in their silent eyes sympathy, or understanding.

Self longs to be back in the absolute isolation of her home in Redwood City, California.  Where she is surrounded by books, only by books.  And the two beagles.  And a TV which is tuned to CNN all day.  And where no one judges whether she is a bad or good daughter.

Then, dear blog readers will be treated once again to excerpts from The Economist or The New York Times Book Review.  Or to self’s opinion on a current movie.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Wanderings: Punta Fuego, Batangas

Sunset, Viewed from the Deck of Brother's Boat

Sunset, Viewed from the Deck of Brother's Boat

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