maybe it's the honking of the jeeps or tricycles. maybe it's the smell of the fish ball or banana-q. or .. maybe i'm just homesick! living away from home often times gives me that urge to go home and experience the things i was used to. it has been a long time i'm living here and i only had 3 vacations during those 15 years. whew! i can't help but look back...
it was one of the cold days of february 1995, -2°C of temperature, i remember -- when another filipina sneaked up on me while i was standing in queque at questura (foreigners' bureau). it was five o'clock in the morning and, probably i'm the 400th person on the line! "how long have you been standing here?" asked the filipina who'd just arrived. "well, i've been freezing out here since five o'clock", i replied. she just shook her head and said, "it's hard to be an immigrant here, isn't it?", she added followed by a deep breath while travelling her eyes to the diffferent nationalities in line. her name is haydee and she had just arrived. the office will be opened at 8:30 am, so while waiting for our turn to get ourselves an appointment in applying for permit of stay here in italy, we passed our time sharing experiences of living in the fast-phased city of milan.
when i first came here back in 1994, i felt like a little kid wondering about all the new things i see -- the places, the people, the foods, etc. i asked myself "how could i possibly live in this strange place?" i simply panicked, but told myself "it's all right, everything's gonna be fine".
i think everyone who first got here experienced the way i did. being a stranger - i'm expected to be a little stupid. i mean, being stupid is the pattern, or the norm, because you don't know what everything is all about. i can exist on the level for weeks or months without reprimand. together with hundreds, i'm granted broad freedom and immunities. i can go on taking pictures, wearing what i want, looking haggard...
i can do walking around dazed, squinting into fold-out maps...i don't know how to talk to people because most of the italians don't know english language, i don't know how to get anywhere, what ticket to buy for travelling; don't know what the money means...whew! all those things made me feel stupidly funny!
it's just nice watching the italian people around. i was amazed of their blue, green or gray eyes; their mannequin looks; the blond hairs and towering heights. but the adolescent ones were much to notice. i keep seeing teenage males wearing enormous pants the two or three teenagers could occupy. pants that a clown would probably refuse to wear. the young men wear these pants so low, so that the waist is about knee level and pants' butt drags on the ground. what i want to know is how do they buy these pants? do they try them on to make sure they don't fit?
for teenage girls, they wear a lot of earrings, maximum of 6 pairs each ear, plus one or two on their nose. i wonder how do they manage them? contrary to the big pants, girls wear the so-tight fit ones and with a low waist cut letting the people see their navels. i even see some bald headed teenage girls, or long-haired guys. what had happened to the teenagers now?
whew! totally, some kind of wanders when you're not home and had grown up with the conservative environment and society, filipino culture, which mainly based on traditional values.
but, that's just the way it is. being far from home, you tend to miss all! the culture, the way of living at least "normally" compared to a strange country. life could be good here. with a good-paying job, you can even buy things you want, as you never did in your own home. sometimes, i tend to wish i could live here: having high standard of living and the comforts. but, i certainly love my "real home", the philippines where i grew up.
My family and friends are all there, and i can't trade it for something else...