I met a Filipino couple who’s been here more than 20 years, with two kids, 11 and 8, both speaking fluent French, as if there was no trace of Filipino in their tongues.
I don’t want to be 50 when my kid is 10. I don’t want to be telling them to stop using the iPad whilst there are visitors around when I don’t even understand how an iPad works — an analogy of how the gap would make it harder for me to connect with my child because of the pace of our times. I wondered too when they would start enjoying their life. The kids still have a long way to go before school is over for them. How old will their parents be by then? This is not what I envisioned overseas Filipino families to look like in Europe, let alone Paris.
Before meeting them, we had a good laugh whilst trying to park the van along the street. It happened like this:
Obviously we had to park the van near the apartment of the couple. While the driver, a friend of my sister’s, was parking the van carefully, there was an Asian guy gesturing to us as if to direct us where and how to park properly. Then my brother in law blurted out nonchalantly, “Who’s this Chinese guy assisting us as if we were eating at his Chinese restaurant?”
Then one of us responded, “Eh tito ko yan eh.” (That’s my uncle!)
We laughed so hard our chests would explode, guffawing to over our hearts’ content! It was horribly good!
Then we opened the van to meet face to face this “Chinese” uncle, and imagine how we struggled trying to contain ourselves!
On the way up the apartment, we could already smell sinigang na baboy. The couple spoke (the husband is the “Chinese”) in Ilokano.
This was Paris but their humble abode was a Filipino home no doubt — Christmas tree adorned, little stuff that clutter the sala, Hello Kitty items lying around, framed photos of family members, floral lacy curtains, even Sony VHS players seemingly accumulating dusts but nonetheless displayed.
It’s heartwarming and delightful to see families reunite. You could feel they were excited to have visitors they didn’t want this time to end because, well, no one knows of the next time.
*This is part of a 68-Day Travel Diary called Reflections of a Nearly Thirty. Read the full Reflections Series here.