I’m not sleepy, the sun is just too hard on the eyes. Snow is almost gone on Mt Ruapehu so as traditional Pinoys we dutifully pose for the Facebook post later. They are almost all grown up !
[ Note : Happy birthdays to Andrew Ong (9th Sept), Tess Aldeguer-Tangco (13th Sept), Archie Mallare (15th Sept), Stephen Liao (16th Sept), Wilson Ong (16th Sept), Martin Go (19th Sept), Ronald Y Lui (23rd Sept), and my former boss at Coke, JB Baylon (25th Sept), thanks to all the support and prayers for Jerome and Lady Jalbuena, her therapy is ongoing, and congrats to the UP Pep Squad on the successful defense of their UAAP cheerleading title ! Woohoo ! ]
THAT EAGLES tune is catchy, timeless and endearing, but it’s hard to be the new kid in town. You feel all the eyes on you, you don’t have a single friend to hang out with, and there’s no one save your folks, usually clueless and too busy themselves, to give you tips on the places to go and sights to see.
The above is true only three-quarters of the time, because during the odd weekend esposa hermosa and I try our darnedest best to show Ganda and Bunso around, the two having been in Wellington less then five months this week. Their own mom and stepdad, with whom they stay, are also model guides and mentors to Asians acclimatizing themselves to probably the southernmost capital city in the world, with the bonus of being one of the most diverse, multi-lingual and multi-cultural demographics around.
But during workdays they’re on their own, and there is only so much time you can spend in libraries, museums, parks and the like before you have culture and greenery flowing out of your ears.
Being Pinoys, one of the most social creatures in the world, their next impulse is to seek out people, preferably people of their own age. This isn’t too practical as well, most of their age group being in either university or middle school most of the time. I advise them not to be choosy in selecting friends and acquaintances, in fact seeking out people of different races, the more multi-colored the better. Given their natural shyness and /or propensity to gravitate towards youth in their demographic, i.e, Southeast Asian 18-20s, the inclination is to find Pinoys, in the food court, on the street, wherever.
I’m unqualifedly happy that the two, particularly Ganda, have taken the time to tell us about their goings-on in their new environment, I’m sure it’s a heavily edited version, what with all the TMI details that she thinks her folks don’t want to know about, and which only heightens the usual paranoia that fathers reserve for their daughters, particularly those in the blossoming stage.
But I’m under no illusion that our kids tell us everything about their lives. In the first place, except in relation to the big picture, a lot of the time it’s not my affair anymore, they are after all already young adults and in another era would’ve been encouraged to marry and start their own families. In the second place, humans reach that inevitable phase when you have to let them soar on their own wings and succeed and fail on their own terms, damn the torpedoes and bite my tongue when they something incredibly clueless and breathtakingly naive.
Don’t tell them that I told you, but I don’t envy them right now : extracted from the comfortable environment of friends, org-mates and BFFs in their respective universities back home, they have been abruptly transplanted into an unfamiliar, less-than-colorful and not-so-welcoming milieu. Plans for summer vacations, internships and endless frolicking in beaches, rest houses and giant malls have been scuttled indefinitely. For Ganda, almost a college graduate, and Bunso, barely out of the multi-tasking of high school honors section, it was a lot to ask.
But they have handled it well, with elegance and a maturity beyond their years. They have adapted to so many things, having four parents instead of two not the least. Add to that chilly nippy and goose bump-inducing temperatures that pummel them each time they venture out the door; a diet that is not exactly conducive to the Pinoy palate, and having to overhaul their personalities just to be able to make new friends. It’s just as well that they are just beginning their lives as citizens of the world, for youth are better positioned than any age group to adapt, adjust and molt their skin into any environment, I just don’t know how long it would’ve taken me. You won’t hear me tell them, but I admire their resiliency, as Asians, as Pinoys and as owners of half my DNA.
I feign indifference when Bunso tips me off about lurking potential suitors in Ganda’s 50-meter radius, but I take it yet as another sign of normalcy : which parent, when you think about it, wouldn’t be proud that the fair members of his brood receive flattering attention? Not to put too fine a point on it, but if she gives brown skins, black hairs and sub-five-sixers (like her dad) equal priority with the Chris Evanses, budding Mark Zuckerburgs and future Nobel laureates of their new universe, all would be right in my world.
Thanks for reading!