Pumapatak na naman ang Ulan..

..sa bubong ng bahay.. di maiwang gumawa ng di inaasahang bagay..” – The Apo Hiking Society

So goes one of my favorite songs from that trio.  It’s raining and I decided to leave my “good” (translated: working) umbrella at home because this morning, the sun was out and the skies were clear.  Hmmmmm.. I know I should’ve switched to Fox 5 news from Sesame Street even if only to catch the weather report.  But I wanted to give Ernie and Big Bird the chance to delight my little boy with their “Journey to Ernie”.  I didn’t even make it to “Elmo’s World”.

I guess I will just have to brave it.  Had I known it was going to rain, I wouldn’t have worn a skirt.  Then again, I am wearing my boots.. so maybe that will work out after all.

I love rainy and cloudy days like this for as long as I’m indoors.  It makes me want to cozy up to Angelo.  Alan is too far away to do any of that.  =)  We’d watch the rain from the window sill and he will probably try to give me a coo or two.  I so enjoy watching him take an earnest look in his face, sometimes even furrowing his brows and then babbling as if he were trying to discuss some serious matter with me.  I simply say yes and try to make out like I can understand everything he is saying.

Nothing can compare to seeing him light up when he hears my voice or see me emerge from the stairwell.  On rainy days like this, we can just watch the rain come down.. warm in each other’s arms, and I fall in love with my little man all over again.

Getting Ready for Paris

I haven’t really had the chance to brush up on my plans for Paris except that I have printed Fodor’s recommendations for the best of a 3-day stay. I have also started reading the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown primarily because of a section called the Da Vinci Code Touron Fodor’s, and after reading the first 40 pages of the book on the way to work this morning, I now understand why.

The book has sat on my bookshelf for a while now, but since I’m off to Paris on Wednesday the 23rd, I thought I might as well get into it and then try to do part of the tour. Much as The Broker by JOHN GRISHAM has spurred an interest in Bologna, Italy, the Da Vinci code has already given me some interesting backgrounders on some of the sights I am looking forward to seeing. While I doubt I will be able to do the whole Da Vinci Code tour, I am at least getting a good introduction to the sites I am visiting.

I leave on a red-eye flight on Wednesday, getting there at just before 8AM the next day. I will meet Alan at their hotel, the Hotel Warwick Champs-Elysees and will spend the day going around on my own. We will then spend most of the weekend touring Paris together. I know I have very little time to enjoy the sights but I know this isn’t going to be my first and last visit to the City of Lights. I look forward to coming back and soaking in more of the sights in due time.

Mother and Son

Written last night

It’s almost midnight and I just finished pumping milk for Angel’s breakfast tomorrow.  Even if I had just nursed him on one breast, I still managed to produce 6 1/2 ounces of milk.  How I envy the women who are part of an e-group I joined hwo average double that at this same stage — 9 month.  Still, I derive such great pleasure and fulfillment knowing I am still nursing Angel.  I intend to keep doing that for the next 3 months until he is a year old.

We still cosleep with him and will move him to his crib once we wean him from breastmilk.  For now, he and I are inseparable at night.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to make him wait for me to finish my chores and bedtime routines before we settle down and turn in, but I also enjoy the way he calls me to pick him up so we can start playing.  In the mornings, he is my alarm clock, often waking up ahead of Alan and me.

I can’t tell him enough how much he means to me and how much I have missed him all day.  I know he knows..

Falling in Line

Written last night

I have always had this thing about the discipline of falling in line and taking one’s turn. The nuns at St. Paul (Pasig and then Quezon City where I went for Elementary and High school ages ago) had early on instilled in us the need to walk in single file in an orderly fashion and to keep our place in the line and wait our turn.

Most bus stops have their prospective passengers lining up, more so at the beginning of the route such as the various buses that pick up passengers at Main Street. (This reminds me of the lines for the FX back in Manila from Broadway going to Makati or from Makati going wherever else in the Metro Manila area.)

While I mostly opt for the QM1A which is the express bus that takes me to and from Manhattan and my doorstep, I sometimes brave the 7 train if I’m going home alone. Once I get off the subway on Main Street, I head for the Q27 Limited Bus Stop that takes me to the co-op community where we live. It is a pretty long ride that ends in Jamaica, so the line is often long.

Today the line wound around the corner and we had quite a wait. I must’ve been somewhere among the last possible seated passengers-to-be when a woman around my age tried to sneak into the line 4 people ahead of me. I have noticed that the women who do this would do it by trying to sneak in front of men instead of women because they probably figure the men will be gentlemanly enough not to rebuff such a brazen attempt to get ahead of the others.

I called the woman’s attention to tell her the end of the line was way past me. She feigned a mistake saying she thought it was a line for the next bus route, and I said no, it’s still the line for the same bus she and I were lining up for. Although there were probably another 20 people behind me, she still managed to cut in around 8 people behind. I couldn’t help but just shake my head in disbelief.

There will always be people who will try and get away with what they can, unmindful of other people. It’s that kind of attitude that makes even the meek go wild with frustration at other’s inconsiderate actions. It’s a personal choice not to let that happen, that is why I always choose to speak up. Otherwise, the audacious will keep getting ahead and the meek left behind. Sometimes they just need to be reminded that other people do mind, and the bold are put in their place. Sometimes, just a simple “Excuse, but there’s a line here” will take care of the undisciplined who try to get ahead of those with the patience to respect others who were there before them.

A Blur of a Day

It’s been a crazy day here at work and I didn’t get the chance to write much down, despite several attempts to put something coherent to post here.

I will be rushing out — heady with the day’s chaos and hoping for some down time with Angelo. I can’t wait to see him light up when he sees me, pick himself up and inch his way close to where I am, stretching his arms out so I can pick him up.  I try not to indulge him too soon because then it means not being able to do anything much anymore but then, I live for his hug and his kiss and just being with him.

Time to get out of here then..


All Set for Paris

I have been faithfully watching the fares on AA.com to go down so I can purchase my non-stop flight to Paris. I originally got a price hold for $401, and by the time I had applied for my visa to France, it was $886. Today I bought it for $398, now a web special, and I’m just counting the days and waiting for my visa. Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for Paris, although I have yet to immerse myself in reading about the places I will be visiting.

I bought a 2005 calendar of French Impressionism to use as a journal while there. i think I’ll do my first entry today. I also mean to use its pages for letters to friends which I hope I can mail from Paris.

I haven’t quite started packing yet but I don’t expect I would need to bring much, considering I will be there for only 3 1/2 days, and I intend to travel light. Alan and I had also agreed that I would order my main meals from room service to save on money because our food expense would be 50% off as part of his employee perks. (I should remember to bring ziplock bags for my “baon”.) Food and drinks in Paris, I heard, can be pretty expensive. I will sample some espresso and crepes, though, and maybe some eclairs and french pastries.

Postcards are definitely on my shopping list, of course, and I am writing a postcard pal from Avignon with the help of Google’s translator, requesting for information on where to buy postcards in the city of lights. In the hope of making my own postcards, too, I am taking my digital camera, a “toy” camera I will load with black and white film, and I might just get a disposable advantix (for panoramic shots of the Eiffel tower in particular) in addition to that.

Candies and snacks? I think I’ll bring my own. That ought to save me some money. Now it’s time I studied the place and try to get some phrases together.

Paris, ici je viens! (Paris, here I come!)

My Valentine Monday

Alan brought me to work today because he leaves for Paris tonight. I kept telling him I miss him already. Even if we have been married 5 years and he has been on at least 2 business trips every year, it is still difficult for me to sleep without him beside me. I remember how we used to have little quarrels about his falling asleep on the couch watching TV, because I don’t really drift off into a deep sleep until I feel him there beside me.

It’s the second trip since Angel came into our lives, and it’s just so different sleeping with the whole bed to Angel and I. If it’s any consolation, I’m joining him after a week and half for a 4 day little getaway in Paris.

I’m wearing the ring he gave me as a valentine’s day present. I msut say it completely threw me off guard. We never really gave presents to each other for V-day, but this year, he just felt he had to because it was our fifth Valentine’s day as husband and wife, and our 6th together. Our first ever valentine’s date was still in Manila when he had brought his family home for the “pamanhikan”. After that, we had “One if by land, Two if by sea” in 2001, Le Colonial in 2002, Indochine in 2003, and Anisa in 2004. For 2005, it will probably be LeCeladon in Paris.

It is indeed a happy valentine’s day for me because I have Alan and now, Angel, as my valentine. A red letter day? You can say that again.

Any day is Valentine's Day

I’m typing this with one hand, lying in bed, with the laptop on my lap, ang Angel nursing on one side.  I’d really very much rather be sleeping, but I thought I’d do even just a short entry here before turning in.

The way my weekends go, it’s a feat to actually be able to write e-mail or get any work done online.  I’m just lucky Angel’s in position here and I can actually type even if in this weird position.

Our weekend went by rather too fast, although we spent a good part of it here at home, as Alan tried to take in as much time as he can with Angel.  He will be in Paris 2 weeks and I’m joining him for the last 4 days.  That means 2 weeks of no hugs or kisses from his “mini Me”, Angel. 

We tried to watch “Hitch” as a valentine movie date Saturday evening but the movie was sold out.  Instead we opted to stay home and just lie with Angel in his little play pen til the wee hours of the morning.  Today we did indulge ourselves a little and stopped by to share a waffle bowl of one of the banana concoctions of Coldstone creamery. 

It’s our fifth valentine’s day together as husband and wife, and we still take the time to go out on little dates — he still insists I put my hand on his right lap as he drives so he can hold it, and we hold hands through every movie we watch.. yes, up to now.  Alan’s the type of guy who can make any day Valentine’s day– that’s why I feel so lucky to have him in my life.

A Special Valentine

My Valentine’s day this year came 2 days early — with my special valentines (yes, in the plural sense) Alan and Angel gave me their valentine gift this morning.  It was a beautiful diamond ring which I now wear on my right hand.

It’s a special gift not only because besides my engagement ring and then my wedding band, this is the only ring I received from anyone outside my family.  Alan and I don’t really exchange gifts during Valentine’s Day because we usually just go on a special date at some fancy restaurant — but this year was special.  I got a pre-Valentine gift (a pink Kenneth Cole raincoat) and I knew I was getting a ring because Alan had to ask for my ring size.  I just didn’t expect it would be a diamond ring.  Simple and elegant but beautiful– special because the diamond is my birthstone, and a diamond is a diamond.

It’s a red lettered day this Valentine’s Day indeed.

PinoyTalk: A Filipina in New York

What is it to be Filipino in the US — specifically here in New York? It’s a difficult question to answer even if I have been here almost 5 years now.

I arrived in June 2000 all set to get married and embrace this new life. I left behind a career in Corporate Communications with an American multinational who pirated me from a British multinational in the same line of business. My whole family was left behind in Manila along with my dearest friends. The only thing that brought me here to New York was — corny as it may be to some people — love. There was a man who actually swept me off my feet and made me think about growing old together with no ifs and buts, and he even brought home his whole family to Manila for the “pamanhikan” to boot — so I stuck to my new direction with a passion I had never known ever before.

The hardest part about the adjustment was being away from everything I held dear to my heart. For a good 6 months or so after I arrived here, there were nights when I would just break out into sobs as Alan slept soundly beside me. Sometimes just the mere thought of my brother or my mom or my dad would bring me to tears. I would cry when I received letters or pictures from back home.

Culturally, it was an easy adjustment. I was taking the subway on my own within my first month in the big apple. While at first I had to listen more intently to foreigners speaking the language (trying to buy a hotdog or magazine perhaps), I eventually got the hang of it, and put the right twang into my English, and before long, it was a breeze talking the talk so to speak.

Perhaps it was the fact that New York is awash with various nationalities which makes me feel at home even among people who are not of my own race and kind. It is the homogenous blend of skin colors and languages that makes one feel at home being from a different place in a city as dynamic as Manhattan. You never feel like you stick out like a sore thumb because you are Asian. There always be enough Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and fellow Pinoys to make you feel like you are part of the crowd even if you are a minority.

I have not quite lost my link to home — after all, I have only been here 5 years. I still catch myself saying “sa atin” when referring to things in Manila when I talk to my mom or friends or family visiting from the Philippines. One time my hubby actually called my attention to this and told me I ought to be saying “doon” or “sa kanila” because this is where I live now. I never truly realized the meaning of “Home is where the heart is” until he said that. I guess it IS true that home is here now, but I cannot deny the fact that I still keep coming back to what used to be my home, back in Manila.

When I hurt myself while cooking or perhaps tripping while walking, my expression of pain is still “Aray!” and not automatically “Ouch!”. In the heat of an argument, I still express my emotions best in Tagalog. I have a subscription that allows me to keep track of Philippine television (although I wouldn’t be caught dead subscribing to TFC), and everyday, I visit at least one daily newspaper from Manila online.

I’m just one of the many immigrants here in New York but I don’t feel as though the city has swallowed my identity. I still consider myself Filipino, and even if my son was born here in the United States, I will raise him believing he is a Filipino in America and not just a Fil-American. I may not be able to imbibe the “po” and “opo” we grew up with into his vocabulary, but I will make sure he learns conversational Tagalog at least.

The years will come and go, but I know that I will always be a Pinay in New York — never just a New Yorker — but a Filipina New Yorker.. sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa.