LOS ANGELES, California – Finally, my almost 105-day journey from my country to half of the globe is almost over- a journey across borders, across cultures, and across national identities.
In a few days, I am returning to my native Philippines replete with memories and beautiful things that ever happened to me from this great nation which I will forever treasure for as long as I live. I can bet on that.
Some of these unforgettable moments in my life were all condensed, written in more than two-dozen articles I published in the TIMES the past days of my more than three months of stay in my daughter’s place in USA.
While I am not totally saying goodbye to Uncle Sam as at this time I am still on the status as a ‘balikbayan’ in lieu of my being a Green Card holder, and knowing fully well that my children living here are happy and secured with their respective family.
But at the end of the day, the decision is still mine whether I still intend to make US my permanent residence. My readers will know my decision after I avail of the 300 days I asked the US authority to make this trip outside the country possible.
Rebuilding your life in a different world where almost everything is new, can be a daunting task. Faced with multiple choices to make, it is for you to decide whether to meet the challenge so as to reach your goal or misfortune.
I am not a failure because for every hour in a day I spent in the house of my daughter in Illinois, a state of America, I can’t ask for more. It is beyond expectation and almost changed my life as everything from the environment, from food to robots that took over most of the household chores from humans; and the people of different races and colors I met and easily acquainted with, they are all new to me but greatly contributed to my very existence.
I learned a lot from them and they too learned from me about our country and Filipino hospitality. With this I expand more my horizon in life.
My only concern is these devices in the household. While I may enjoy the sight of seeing unmanned grass mower and robot sweeping the floor, I also think of our overseas workers who may soon become unemployed because of these modern machines.
My daughter Tala, a licensed practical nurse and still single pampered me with her love and care a father can only wish for from his children. My only regret is that she didn’t allow me to drive her Volvo car or Nathan’s sports car. Dah!
My namesake son Jeckjeck, also a registered nurse in a hospital in Vancouver, Canada, is living with his family there for more than two decades now. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit them due to time constraints. But my son assured me to see the Kadayawan celebration with his family next week. See you then.
My eldest granddaughter Johannah Joy is with her mother in Missouri. She was with me in coming here after more than a year staying in Davao City with her father.
I am beginning to miss many of the best top attractions I visited in between when Tala and Nathan were off from their jobs.
These were the Holy Hill Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, a place of peace and beauty in the heart of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine; the “Return Visit” monumental 31 foot tall bronze Lincoln sculpture honoring the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln on display in front of the award-winning Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum; the Lake Geneva, known place of the super rich and famous in Wisconsin; the 360 Chicago’s best observation deck located on the 94th floor in North Michigan Avenue overlooking the city skyline and Lake Michigan and four neighboring states, among others.
Of course, the fishing trip at the 48-acre Lake Defiance with maximum depth of 18 feet at McHenry Dam in Illinois. My US trip will not be complete if my favorite outdoor hobby in my country was not a part of my itinerary here.
I wrote this article from my first cousin Ely Dumasal Tolentino’s residence in Glendora, California where I stayed for two days with my daughter Tala and boyfriend Nathan as guests. Tala and Nathan joined with me in LA and returned to Illinois after seeing me off the Tom Bradley International Terminal on my non-stop flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila.
Brainstorm columnist Atty. Cesar Europa is right when he wrote in Pilipino: “Alam ba ninyo na sa kahabaan ng panahon ay tayong mga Pinoy lang pala ang gumagamit ng “comfort room”? Sa Amerika, “washroom” “restroom” o kaya “ladies’ room” o men’s room ang gamit nila, habang sa Inglatera naman ay “water closet” ang malimit na ginagamit?”
I was inside the lobby of LAX then after a 13-hour non stopped flight from Manila when I approached a Caucasian looking lady sweeper and asked if she can show me the comfort room. At first she gave me a dagger look but after knowing that I am a Filipino, she pointed to me the direction where I could pee – a men’s restroom.
CR or comfort room to the Americans means I want to make love with her inside, of all places – a toilet.