A FUNNY thing happened on the way to the end of twilight shift Tuesday night, somewhere between dinner break and 9 pm teatime (merienda to us back home). It seems that Mahal on her own, using tenacity and a bit of luck, bought herself at an excellent price, a new car.
And when the words excellent and price are used together in a single phrase by a Pinoy of the full or half blood, you know what I mean, low or value-for-money or simply cheap.
But that’s just scratching the surface of this little tale. Awkwardly, I admit that Mahal, though arriving in NZ no less than three-and-a-half years after I did, has overtaken me in almost every major step of migrant life.
She has mastered right-hand driving in record time (one year after arrival), albeit with a little help from her boss; held two regular part-time jobs without too much fuss and has learned to use TradeMe with such facility that I can hardly believe she’s just started to use it.
TradeMe is similar to the internet auction site eBay, except that it’s hugely popular among New Zealanders, who use it for every major purchase that isn’t brand new, with about 60% of the entire NZ population using the site and around 70,000 on TradeMe during peak hours, astounding statistics for a country of relatively small size (4.2 million).
She found the car that she wanted at the price that suited her (now our) budget, bid for it smartly and ferociously (allegedly till the last minute) of bidding, even experiencing a memorable sidelight of her first successful bid in the form of a “sore loser” bidder who complained that the bidding deadline was (illegally) extended beyond such deadline. Obviously the complainer was already contemplating ownership at the price he/she bid before the final bid. The new car was in our eyes everything she wanted : newer, hopefully less problematic , and admittedly more pleasing to the eye which was plain to see from the moment we collected it from the car yard.
Lost in the moment was the realization that we were very very soon (in fact, moments after taking possession of the new car) going to say goodbye via trade-in to our 1991 Nissan Pulsar who had served us without complaint for the past two years.
The model year would be memorable in itself for me, just a year earlier than daughter Ganda’s birth year and the year Pinatubo turned Luzon upside down, unforgettable in that it brought Mahal and myself to all those garage sales, deserted beaches, trips where we got lost several times before we found our destination, the hundreds of short drives to the grocery, mall and meetings with friends, relatives and acquaintances…
The windy, hailstormy and rainy Mondays that scuttled any hopes of using the bike to work, taken care of with a grunt and vrrooom by our stoic and always smiling Pulsar the Gray, the times we moved furniture and stuff by jamming all sorts of things into four corners of the ever-accommodating beast of burden, and the unintended (but welcome) benefit of keeping the cold out while we escaped from an unexpectedly overcast walkabout day.
For sure, we would enjoy new, fantastic adventures with our new companion but for now our happy memories will be dominated by the car that we shared two years of our lives with, Pulsar the Gray. May your new masters appreciate you as much as we did, lovely beast!
Thanks for reading!
- who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hood? (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Trade Me founder regrets blunt comments (stuff.co.nz)