So apparently Santa Claus is coming to town. No, actually, Santa Claus IS HERE. Already. Like clockwork, on the first of this month, the many malls of my country began to play Christmas music, preaching to me of Santa Claus’ impending arrival.
I wonder how Santa’s sled works here. Where does he land and does he have less fun here because we don’t have any chimneys? Where does he park when he visits the slums? Does he even visit the slums? Does he lose weight in the sauna-like heat of our tropical weather? Does he shave his beard and change his suit to better survive the weather?
Maybe he arrives in September because it takes him that long to maneuver through all the crazy Filipino traffic, cross all the many bodies of water that weave around our 7,107 islands, and deliver presents to all one hundred and three million, seven hundred and seventy five thousand and two of us (Philippine population as of July 2012, according to the CIA World Factbook: 103,775,002). Granted of course that all one hundred and three million, seven hundred and seventy five thousand and two of us evaded his naughty list for the year.
The Philippines’ Christmas season is just about in full swing, beginning September 1st. Never ever delayed! Once the “-ber” months hit (SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER), every Filipino’s heart begins to whisper with Christmas carols, louder and louder until December finally comes around and the festivities land inescapable. Already, beautiful Christmas lanterns for sale, line many street corners. Hence, my crazy ramblings about Santa Claus.
I’ve definitely missed the early coming of Christmas, being away for school all these years. While the rest of the world is preoccupied with celebrating fall, the changing colors of the leaves, Halloween, Dia de los Santos, Thanksgiving and other holidays before Christmas day, the Philippines jumps ahead and declares Christmas for five months of the year, spreading into the beginning of the new year.
I’d always have to work so hard to pump up my Christmas cheer before heading home for the holidays. I’d blast Christmas music in my dorm room, watch movies with plots set around Christmas, and last year even insisted on decorating our suite with sparkly, shiny Christmas decorations from the dollar store. I bought a tiny wreath too, decorated it with funky, glittery pipe cleaners and the flowers that I put in my hair.
But here I am for the first time in six years, begin to warm up to Christmas in September. Today marks two months since I moved back to the Philippines. Friends have asked me how its been going, and I’m undoubtedly still in the process of completely moving my mind and my heart to where my body is. It’s odd to think it’s only been two months, for so much has happened. So many doors have already been opened without delay, right where I am.
Thankfully, just as I had hoped, there is not a lack for things to do. Rather, the challenge is to make time for everything I want to be involved in. (Story of my liiiiife…) And unlike my college routine, the dance studio is not a five-minute walk from my bedroom, and my personal painting/drawing studio space isn’t yet frequented by friends and fellow artists for friendly visits, critiques or snack time. Last week in particular, was a week I felt homesick for the company of the friends that I have recently become incredibly distanced from. I began to miss my Wheaties more than any other time yet!
However, just as there are moments of longing and reminiscing, so are there moments of encouragement and affirmation. Incidentally, this week of missing old friends, was one of writing to AND receiving letters from friends, reconnecting with friends from long before college and other little joys.
The bottom line is that I am right where I am supposed to be. This story of my homecoming is rich with opportunity, discovery, and new and renewed personal connections. I am also enjoying easy access to Filipino mangoes. I’m enjoying the full cream milk. I’m getting used to falling asleep to frogs grunting low and deep, after the heavy rains have fallen. I’m enjoying the bananas, yellow on the outside AND inside too, incredibly sweet like candy. I am enjoying the company of family, very very much. And I am enjoying being home. Come visit? 🙂Some images in this post are not my own (all the Santa related ones) and were taken from the following websites: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-blog/2010/11/28/ http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Santa+Claus http://zamoracartoons.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html http://www.bestphotosite.net/santa-claus