What I love about living in Vancouver is its diverse community. A very good example is exploring the restaurants around Douglas and seeing the many international flavors that each has to offer. Many of our families originated from different places, which makes everyone have unique and fascinating stories, from the many languages to the various traditions.
I recently had a chance to visit the motherland, the Philippines, more specifically an island called Cebu. The moment I came out of the plane, I could already see and feel the vast difference between Canada and the Philippines, from the people to the weather. I noticed that I am a lot taller than most of the people there, whereas in Canada I’m just considered average height (5’10). The weather was clearly different and the air was a lot more humid than I was used to. Those were just a few things right off the bat.
Since we speak our native tongue (Tagalog) at home, I figured there would only be minor adjustments for me, but they turned out to be major ones because of the fact that the locals speak Tagalog 100x faster than I do (at least that’s how it sounded like to me). That meant it took my jet-lagged self a few seconds to process any spoken information. Not only did I feel lost whenever I had conversations with my cousins, I also I had to politely ask at least two to three times for them to repeat something since I just couldn’t keep up.
The overall way of life there is very simple yet people seem to enjoy every detail of their life, even the little things such as drinking water or juice. The minimalist set-up and simplicity of my grandma’s house, where we stayed, made it really relaxing and calming. The house’s classic style reminded me of the days where there were no smartphones and there was more human-to-human interaction, when I learned to played the ukulele, card- and board games, and I did other activities that required no technology. Staying at my grandma’s house, I noticed that I was truly maximizing every second and it felt like I had control over time rather than time having control over me.
Having traditional food in the Philippines was also a change since my mom is not the best cook. Things just taste different there considering they have better access to fresher and local ingredients. One of the things I really miss is my grandma’s cooking . Even though we do have Filipino restaurants here, It’s just not the same (If your grandparents cook traditional homemade food, you know this feeling too well). What sucks about being treated to such great food in the Philippines is that when I got back to Vancouver, I did not have an appetite at all, which is rare since I’m always hungry.
Reconnecting with my relatives was what made my time in the Philippines special. we shared a true bond which made each moment extra special. We shared laughter, thoughts, prayers, tears and everything we did felt surreal and magical.
One thing everyone should take from my post is this: if you can, go to where you or your parents originated from and just experience how they once lived. This is your home away from home. Travel and collect memories, not materials.