March is hot. Last night, surprisingly, it rained. Cousins had taken her to Italia, which is a really neat restaurant/art gallery. Last night was the opening for a new exhibit, Fécondé, by Lydia Velasco: Self saw vivid paintings of striking women in native Filipino (peasant?) attire (salakots, etc), but with pretty fab jewelry, long manicured nails. The women were dusky, full-lipped, high-cheekboned — not the traditional-looking Filipino women of Amorsolo. Self’s favorite was a series called “A Mother’s Love.”
The food was an assortment of Italian-inspired hors d’ouerves, paella (Yumm! Self cannot seem to restrain herself from eating and eating, this trip. The first comment made to her by anyone here was: “Parang tumaba ka.“) and a most delicious pizza (which self was unable to eat, as she was already feeling over-loaded).
Today and yesterday, self’s nails are painted a bright blue. The manicures here cost 70 pesos ($1.64). If she gets tired of her blue nails, she’ll pick a new color tomorrow. The manicurista will be so happy to see her, for self’s usual tip is 30 pesos (70 US cents).
She opens her e-mail and gets a message from the Smithsonian. She’ll be in Washington, DC in April, for the “Asian American Encounters” at the National Portrait Gallery. April is cherry blossom time in Washington. The city will be beautiful. And, for the first time ever, the husband is accompanying self to one of her literary events. Yup, he actually got his ticket, before self left for Bacolod.
Since self is such an indefatigable researcher, she finds the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Blog, and discovers that Japan donated 2000 cherry trees to the nation’s capitol in 1910. Unfortunately, however, those trees arrived “diseased” and the whole lot had to be destroyed. “Dr. Jukichi Tamine, who had funded the original gift, again put up money for the purchase of more trees . . . Taken from a variety of cherry trees lining the Arakawa River in Tokyo, 3020 cuttings (or “scions”) arrived for planting in 1912.”
The first Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC was held in 1935. “Since that time, the gift has been reciprocated several times, as clippings from the DC cherry trees have been sent back to Japan to repair damage (from World War II and other incidents of flooding) to trees that line the Arakawa River.”
Later in April, son and Jennie will be in the Bay Area for a conference. Happy happy joy joy! Definitely, we must take them out to dinner.
In the meantime, self plans to spend the rest of the day planning day trips. She’d love to return to the sugar central in La Carlota. Never will she forget the sight of an absolute mountain of brown sugar in the warehouse there, in September last year.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.