Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Among Other Things...

Joel came home with a fever. I called him up on Saturday Morning wanting to know if all had gone well and how late we should pick him up. The house was so empty without him, and when I went to town, I felt as if I had misplaced some part of me. He had so many plans for Saturday, he would go swimming with his Tante Margie, they would go to the park, he would see his waterskiing hero...

"Pick me up at 6 p.m.," he said.

After an hour, Margie called me up.

"I think you have to come and pick him up" she said.

In the space of an hour, he had decided that he didn't want to go out and that he was just tired and wanted to go to bed.

We rushed over and found him lying in bed with a slight fever.

"I was homesick," he said.

So, we took him home with us, coddled him, and put him to bed. On Sunday, he was right as rain and raring to go to the circus. A good thing too because the tickets had been bought and it isn't like the circus comes to town every week.

Sunday was a lovely day. Jan and Joel went with Ruby and Rob to the circus while I spent the afternoon with Judith and her baby, Jonas. I just realized that I made lots of photos of Ruby and didn't make any of Jonas. I should do that next time. He is quite a lovely little boy with a sweet temperament.

"He's so easy," Judith says.

What wonder comes from seeing our children together. Joel Jan gets along so well with Ruby. We had a lovely afternoon and the circus was fun. So maybe we'll go to the big Christmas circus this coming December. They always have one in one of those big theaters in Scheveningen. Yes, say it again, Scheveningen. One sign of being properly "ingeburgered" (citizenized) is the ability to say the name of the place the way the Dutch do. With a guttural sch sound that isn't sk but something in between. You have to hear it to get it.


Last night, we had a visit from this brash Dutch lady.

"I suppose you don't miss the Philippines anymore," she says.

When I get comments like these, I wonder what planet the people who say them come from. Don't they understand that no matter where we go, we always carry within us some place that longs for home? It's taken me seven years to finally decide that I have to start putting down roots here. Inspite of that decision, I still dream of going home, I still long for the warmth of family, the immediacy of being there and of moving within the circle of security that comes from knowing that you can just be.

So, how does one put down roots in a new place? I find myself struggling to be just who I am. I sometimes find myself excusing the habits that are so taken for granted back home. It means adjusting, changing and changing again, and all the while struggling to hold on to what defines the real me.

Yes, I still get homesick. On some days, I wish I could just lie down in bed, draw the curtains close and dream myself across the ocean more than 10,000 miles away to the warmth of home and sunshine and the sound of my mother's voice. I sometimes wish I could but I can't.

So what do you do when the longing is sometimes too much to bear? I sit in front of the computer and type my longing to the world. I write my frustration at waiting and waiting for mail from home that never comes, I write me feeling like a ghost because in some way I am there and yet not there, here and yet not here.

Do we ever get over that longing for home? Do we ever lose that intense missing home feeling? There are days when the feeling is not as present as other days. But it's there, it's definitely there.


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