Friday, September 22, 2006

getting back on track

I think I'm getting back on track again. Busy addressing envelopes and I've been to the post office to mail those pesky envelopes that I manage to forget to bring with me everytime I head that way.

It's funny how the things we read do influence our lives a lot. I remember thinking that I must be in early menopause ( during the early stages of my pregnancy). My reason for thinking this came from me reading an article in one of the women's magazines my mother-in-law loves to pass on to me ( because they are good for practicing my language skills ). Anyway, this article was all about women in early menopause and all the symptoms resembled the symptoms I was having. Nausea, headaches, being tired, warm when it's cold and cold when it's warm. Since it was seven years since I had Joel Jan, I figured out it could be nothing else but early menopause. Imagine my surprise when I found it wasn't menopause but pregnancy. Well, tickle me pink. Having a baby beats going into early menopause any day :)

Babies on the mind. I have succumbed to nesting fever. Yup. I look around the house and think about all the things that have to be done and wonder why my belly is getting in the way of me doing all these things. I am looking forward to all the redecorating and rearranging that's going to take place.

During my first pregnancy I remember walking to and from the train station almost everyday. I was taking language lessons then, and this probably explains Joel's aptitude with language. Do children absorb what we learn while they are still in the womb? In any case, it amazes me how Joel Jan switches easily from Dutch to English and how he's managed to pick up some filipino words which his father still can't master .

It's fun listening to him say: What did I tell you, O di ba? See, see, O.

He says it exactly like a filipino would say it. And how come he's figured out that when he says "sige na, please", Mama sort of finds it really hard to resist him?

He's also picked up on how I use "hay naku talaga!" when I'm a bit exasperated. Like when he crosses the street on his bike, just in front of me so I have to press hard on my handbrake.

"Don't you do that again, hay naku talaga, Joel Jan!"

Later, I'll hear this repeated back at me when I manage to keep away something that's meant to not be kept away, like this lego car he's busy building.

"Mama, I was working on that. Hay naku talaga!"

These days, we have this conversations while biking home from school about what we have in the Philippines and what they have here in The Netherlands.

"The Netherlands has havens," he said to me the other day. "Do they also have havens in your country?"

"Of course we have havens in The Philippines."

"But probably not as modern as the havens in Rotterdam," he says.

Today, we had another discussion about skin color and about how I am a Filipina and not a Dutchwoman. This discussion seems to come back around every now and then. I think it's hard for him in some ways.

I remember when we came back from the Philippines. He was silent in the back of the car on the way back from Schiphol. I thought he'd fallen asleep, until I heard a sniff.

Me: Are you okay?

Joel: Yes. Except, I don't know anymore where my real home is.

A part of Joel Jan still longs to return to the Philippines and I understand how this experience of going home at this age has affected him in a deeper way than previous visits. For one, he's much more mature now and he understands how distance means him not being able to see or enjoy his grandparents and his aunts and uncles as much as he used to.

I am glad for the openness that still exists between us. Glad that he's not yet in those years where Mom and Dad come from a different planet. And I understand too how his need to feel grounded here in The Netherlands has a lot to do with him missing The Philippines and the family we've left over there.

Joel Jan: Mama, when are we going back again to the Philippines?

Yes, I know he misses home too.


Blogger Ash'man said...

Waaa! This makes me miss home too! (home is where the heart is... and right now... I think I have a number of homes as well... ^_^)
Miss you guys...

25 September, 2006  

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