Where to begin?
At the beginning? From my birth?
My parents are from the Philippines and I acknowledge there is a whole wealth of knowledge, and culture, and life histories that contributed to who I am.
But reciting from memory, I feel like I don’t know a lot.
A short and incomplete list off the top of my head:
The Aswang. Lapu-Lapu. 400 Years of Spanish Oppression. The Marcos Dictatorship followed by a remarkable in its miracle of non violence People Power Revolution. Chocolate Soup. Eating a duck egg.
A smattering of embarrassing to my own ears Tagalog.
I’ve been complimented for my Tokyo accented Japanese but here I am. A world where a deceptively young looking and simultaneously matronly Filipino woman clicks her tongue, shakes her head, and simply says, “Sayang.”
The only thing I really know is how I got to where I am now. That part is the only reliable part. So the beginning.
Which I guess means what I know about my parents.
This blog is sort of a return to form of sorts, maybe an intermediate step, but on the other hand maybe I can never go back.
Been up for a few hours so I mixed up a drink that’s half orange juice and half energy drink.
I’m calling it a “Guru-mosa.”
Woke up at four this morning to avoid The Others, couldn’t stay indoors forever.
After all, laundry was not going to do itself. I didn’t realize I could have been adding a little detergent to the prewash cup this whole time. Not sure if the colors on my masks are brighter since the last wash, gonna check my instagram later for comparison pics!
We are double masking as The Pandemic continues, and supplies everywhere seem to be dwindling. Not that it matters lately, with our delivery infrastructure silently failing these past few years.
But seriously, these two week delays are getting out of hand. We’re almost out of shelf stable vanilla soy milk. Been drinking so, so many lattes at home lately!
This post started with a mention of not eating pork in my #food channel on my video games guild slack.
I’ll be honest with you, I have never been to a Jollibee. I think I’ve had ships that pass in the night encounters where I saw one in a shopping mall or drove past one on my way someplace else.
It’s not that I didn’t know what it was. I remember my friends in the Old Neighborhood talking about it. Remarking on how weird or how good or how things are different, between Here and Over There. These were the friends whose families “went back home” to the Philippines once a year.
My parents decided that a Private Catholic School Education was more important, this is one of those sacrifices that they made. For reasons unknown to me then, but clearly financial in retrospect, I never went back “home” to the Philippines.
I forgot about Jollibee for a while and then I got to college. I was attending a Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue in Boston. Jollibee again.
Same conversations. Rumors of one opening stateside begin to circulate. I come back to DC and spread this news to other Filipinos, who in all honesty, get pretty excited about it.
I enter the workforce and three decades pass.
In the background of my life, Jollibee gains a foothold stateside.
In my #food channel a link pops up from one of my Filipino friends. Jollibee is opening up a half hour away.
Slowly a plan forms in my head. It’s weird that the plan involves multiple risk models, but this is the time during which we find ourselves.
And then, “A 46 Year Old Filipino Man Tries Jollibee For the First Time Ever”
Today is the first day in a long time that I’ve felt like singing. It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt like singing. What a terrible thing to write.
Today is also the first day in a long time that I’ve felt like being visible again.
Let me back up a bit.
Back when I decided to take a sabbatical from social media. I was just getting sick of reading everything over the course of the previous administration.
Every unjust, hurtful statement.
Every… you know, I’m going to be honest, this was just about every time anyone associated with the previous administration opened their mouth and said anything.
My personal reserves ran dry.
So I decided to take a break. I reviewed the last thing I remember posting. It was a picture on Instagram of a board game I played at a friend’s house. I ducked out, announced nothing, and decided to use that time differently.
I focused inward. I threw myself into personal non public slacks, private signal messages, and worked on building better relationships with my relatives and my found family.
Just about a year in, about a month before I was set to return, a pandemic happened.
A Pandemic. The kind of thing that happens in history books. The great plagues of yore. And even then, it’s only something I’ve read about. Surely we live in a time and age where we know how to handle these things because of science, and reason.
Now, 400,000 people are dead. Clearly, I was wrong. I was wrong about a lot of things. About my neighborhood, about America, about my career.
Time passed and life changed. In some ways better, in some ways worse, in a lot of ways different.
I thought I was going to make it to the second year, but well, here we are.
The first day in a long time that I’ve felt like singing, and it feels wonderful.