Missing some Christmas spirit

Another sleep-disturbed morning.

I wish to split into 2 persons and let the other one roam around town and find the best bargain apartment we could easily move into. I miss having a satisfying sleep… If it ain’t noise, it’s the weather that’s keeping me awake. (Actually, its the construction workers having coffee next door that woke me up again). It’s the middle of November and we’re still dead warm in here. I could’ve been stoned asleep at Dasma if I were there now.

Homesickness strikes again.

It actually struck me yesterday as we were planning how to put on the Christmas lights we just bought.

I remember my mom & dad’s bedroom back at Summerwind where I loved to lounge at come November nights, or as early as when my mom would put up those Christmas lights. Often, I’d nag her when she buys something new. But when it’s up there brightening the tiny window on a cool night, it feels most like home…

Outside, neighbors have pitched in money to decorate the entire street with lanterns and Christmas lights. It was magical for us kids. It was inviting for anyone lost in the village.

And then back when we were small, when we used to live with my Lolo and Lola in the old two-storey house, I recall how Christmas was so looked forward to. My tita would be climbing up the roof to make a simple star pattern out of Christmas lights in front of the capiz windows. It’s the first thing you’d see when you enter our compound. Then come those parol vendors. We used to buy some foil-made lanterns and hang it out the silong.

And even when I was grown up, I looked forward to Christmas like any kid wanting presents. Except that, this time around, I had the capacity to give as well. I know I’m a spendthrift, but no matter how simple or cheap it is, I made sure I bought presents for people who mattered. Christmas shopping was fun even if it’s not for myself.

Finally, how could anyone forget Christmas in Dasmariñas when the City is literally lit up as early as November. From little barangay streets, to the highways and the town plaza – everything looks sparkling. I hate to admit it, but it somehow looks like a studio set for a Christmas movie. And I miss it.

Right now, I’m just sad that I’m not feeling that Christmas spirit.

The neighborhood here doesn’t make an effort to decorate. I’ve only seen one out of a 100 houses with series lights outside and that giant Christmas tree at Fuente Osmeña circle assembled every year. Malls feel more with spirit, probably because they’re selling Christmas decors and the air-conditioning feels great. I’ve only seen a few Christmas lantern vendors on the market. I can’t believe an entire stretch of street could be so bare this time of the year.

I don’t even have Christmas shopping on my agenda next month. I guess because there are no friends to give presents to. And families here go home at Christmas or are affiliated to a different religion.

It’s an advantage for a financially challenged couple like us. We’ll most likely be spending on baby stuff and furniture in the coming months. We have a long list of things to buy. And looking for a place to move to is always our priority. But it stings to be reminded that this year is a bit different. And I’m wanting so bad to put an effort to somehow make it different. But being pregnant makes it all the more difficult.

This year, I can’t imagine how Christmas morning would be like. But I hope somehow, it would be brighter, colder and merry as it should be…

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Ways of enjoying the rainy days when I was younger

Magic Knight Rayearth

Magic Knight Rayearth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m so up early today! (Woke up around 6 but got off bed around quarter to 7.) Mr. H has an early trip to the next city and has to be there by 8:30 AM which is about now. I hope he made it in time. Meanwhile, I’m glad my energy’s bursting! Probably due to the local puto & tsokolate sold outside. (Can’t believe they sell home-made hot choco on the streets outside, another thing uniquely Cebuano).

Announcements of class suspensions, flood and black outs dominate, as we digest the early morning news through breakfast. The weather report said there would be torrential downpour over Southern Tagalog. In my mind, how I wish I was there! ^_^

When I was young, rain gave me a lot of productive and peaceful moments. The sudden class suspensions would give me extra time spent at home. And while my parents are away at work, my brother and I have the entire house to ourselves – with the constant phone calls and monitoring of course. That little sense of independence and chill gave me time to…

Clean and arrange my room to the most princess-like interior decorating I could.

We live in a home with an oven-like temperature during the summer, with winds we could only feel if we open both our main door and windows. Its normal to sweat at every move we make. That’s why waking up by a loud rainfall send extra adrenaline and comfort knowing its going to be a bit cooler most of the day. So when Mommy & Daddy leave for work, I turn my room upside down, change the linens (even if its the middle of the week), wipe the dusts, rummage through school memorabilias and sort out junks. The greatest feeling afterward is seeing my room all pink and clean.

Hot baths

I’m an otaku and a kid who grew up watching Japan Video Topics on local TV. Often, I dream of bathing in a warm tub and just soaking. But of course, the traditional middle-income Filipino household would only have a pail and tabo on the bathroom/comfort room. So to emulate the Japanese tradition of soaking in a steamy hot bath, I boil up water in our largest cooking pot (filling about 1/3 of the pail) and mix with it with 2/3 cold water. The result – a satisfying hot bath! And this is usually the perfect time to use imported liquid bath soaps my relatives abroad send me as pasalubong! – THIS and lying in freshly changed bed linen is the best indulgence I could have back then! ^_^

Note: Hot baths only make sense when its the middle of the rainy season in the Philippines. Trust me, summer is HOT AS HELL!

Cook an experimental dish

What comes after getting my room clean and indulging in a warm bath? Eating of course!

And when we were young, we weren’t spoiled to eat outside fast foods often. Two things I’m obsessed with are mashed potatoes (the ones they serve at Kenny Rogers and KFC) and fried potatoes in creamy sizzling sauce (served at our local Country Side Steak House) which is the steak side dish. My Mom usually stocks on potatoes, margarine and cream which I whip into a dish or a snack to feast on with my brother. He often smirks when I cook but he eats it anyway so I guess it didn’t taste that bad. :))

Unfortunately, nowadays, my stomach gets upset at the slightest content of starch, triggering gas attacks and vomiting (since I’m pregnant). >_>

Watch anime, draw, write poetry, and read books

Now that I realize it, I’m quite envious that I was able to do all of these back then. What’s a kid gotta do when classes are suspended anyway? You’ve got local TV showing anime runs of Little Women, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in the morning. In the afternoon, the more action-packed and shounen/shoujo-themed series of Gundam, Magic Knight Rayearth, Zenki and BT’X occupy the kid-inclined timeslots. As early as I got to know about Voltron and Sailormoon, my fondness of learning the art of drawing manga has kept my old notebooks and stocks of bond paper full of drawings that my Mom used to nag to me about it. I don’t know why though. I’m a pretty neat artist and I don’t scatter and occupy the dining or living room just to sketch. I even tried creating my own stories and manga strips.

That kept me writing, at first, kind of in a novel format. Then switched to dialogues with captions on how I’d be drawing the frames. I was in the school publication and was kept interested because I was mingling with co-artists (who are real-life manga artists by now — Raph & Ian). Sigh! Those were the days! ^_^

I was also fond of reading. I got into the Sweet Valley High bandwagon, and later into poetry when I learned about Pablo Neruda in college’s world literature. I even kept this poetry journal — those I’ve written from elementary to college. Its something I kept written by hand and shown only to my best friend. 🙂 Sort of sisterhood secret.

Stare at the skies and listen to the trickle of the rain.

And when my mind’s exhausted of imagining – its the best time to embrace the painting of reality that’s unfolded in the skies, our wet garden and rusting gate. Its like emptying your mind in a blank stare, but at the same time appreciating that moment of peace. Storms and hurricanes are chaotic beauties of nature meant to be absorbed in solace.

Wait for the afternoon monay vendor

…It follows the time after siesta and we’re hungry again. Daddy usually comes home in the afternoon after police duty with a bag of merienda in hand – sometimes pancit, lomi or sopas. We pair it with freshly baked monay sold by a bike-riding vendor who still roams the village despite the rain.

All in all, rainy days are slow days meant to be enjoyed at back in my hometown.