Archive for January, 2009
It’s after 7 pm on the beach in Puerto Galera: just killing time, waiting for the fun in DC to begin: somewhere around midnight, we’ll walk over to a nearby resort where folks are congregating to watch it all unfold. Today brought some mildly lengthy travel, and some welcome beach time, but more than anything it brings the inauguration. I spent a chunk of last evening on the internet in a Starbucks in Makati, my eyes welling up just reading New York Times coverage of everything I’m not able to watch on TV right now. It’s on TV: there’s just no TV where we are.
I’m in the Philippines, by the way. In case you hadn’t guessed.
Talking to Kuya Pon yesterday about the American election made me more excited and proud than ever about this turn America’s hopefully taking: Kuya, a longtime Manila politician, exceedingly well-educated in American history and politics, said he broke out in shivers and tears when he was watching the US election night coverage, and saw that Obama won. I’ve been feeling some frustration at being so far away, watching this at a distance from the Philippines. But if Kuya Pon could be so affected by the election from here in November, there’s no reason I can’t be equally affected by the inauguration from here this January, as well. Perhaps it’s personally appropriate, anyway: when I was 14, and we first moved back to the US from Southeast Asia, I was mortified by just how arrogantly America-centric the US was, a condition that worsened, then improved, then spiralled into an epic parody of awfulness. Now I’m out in the world again, and the new President, beyond all issues of race, is the new breed of global leader I didn’t see as a kid, and have yearned for as an adult, one that will hopefully finally reflect the wonders of our world beyond a long history of nationalistic narcissism.
Even since before my fall teaching semester ended, it seems like there’s been one trip after another: Philadelphia, Tahoe, Florida, Manila, and on top of those, applications and projects to put together that have taken my imagination to Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, Turkey and the Czech Republic. I’ve kept meaning to post about all of this, but it keeps shifting by the minute, and slipping away from me. Suffice to say, my usual new years’ superstitions about Jan 1 shaping the year to come suggests that I’m in for more travel than ever this coming year.
At any rate, since I’m here in the Philippines this moment, we’ll focus on that. This trip: unexpected, unplanned. Mom got the jones to come, since one of her relatives was seriously ill, and since my teaching semester for spring wasn’t starting until late January, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit. Mom hasn’t been back since 1995, while I’ve been back on my own 5 times in the interim. She may have been born here, but I claim the city as home-like turf these days. I’m an adopted grand-daughter of Manila.
Given the multiple independent visits I’ve made over the past years, it’s been a really different experience making the classic family visit trip. Less personal time, kicking-it with-friends-time, yes, but I’m getting such an amazing download in terms of family history and heritage, and getting great bonding time with Mom. We’re driving each other a little crazy here and there, but since the last similar trip we took was almost 20 years ago, I’m treasuring it nonetheless. There will come a time when I won’t get to even bicker with her about things like this, and so all of it is priceless, no matter what.
We’re here in Puerto Galera for a few days, then back to Manila, then home to the US.
To think that those galleons once took shelter here.
Shiver me timbers.
…is carmen sandiego?
2009 is gonna rock. More soon.