Friday, July 29, 2011

Of cats and men....(again)

When a man cuddles with me, it makes me feel needed and wanted, even sultry, but then, quickly it gets to feel retarded that I'd think of telling him: Get off already! (there! I've always wanted to say it). But when Chat's cat sits on my chest and plop his stinky behind on my face, I get cross eyed from his "I'd cuddle with you when I want to" cuteness. But I can't cuddle with my cat here in Cebu. Here's why. Can you even recognize him from the dirt?

I hate to show the above pictures to Chat because she just sent this box of dewormer and grooming kit via Fedex. She can't understand why Winn is full of worms and why he can't sleep with me.

I know you're saying, can we talk about something else? We're sick and tired of hearing about your cat. Well, what else is there to talk about? My life has become so boring, I would have to pawn my kidney so I can afford excitement.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The real vagabonds

Three days ago, Chat's uncle who's a very close friend of mine was ambushed and killed here in Cebu. The gunman pumped 5 bullets into his chest and he died on the spot. I feel an enormous loss, I have no words to describe it. Yesterday, I was in such a stupor, I thought of running back to Dallas or anywhere just to get the hell out of here, when I had an unexpected visitor. See the boy hugging the ground on the left? That's Arnold.
The first time I met with them, I told them that they need to clean up the area where we're meeting. The next day, Arnold swept the whole area clean. He bragged that he cleaned it all by himself with the broom that one of the boys stole from the hardware store across the street. When I meet with them, we don't do much-- I bring whatever I can afford to feed them and we just hang out and talk. They tell me about their day and I tell them to go home to their parents and stop scavenging and stealing. Well, guess who listened and obeyed? Arnold. He showed up at my door last night with his 3 cousins and told me: "I went home like you told us, see, I am clean now." He told me that Jennifer, the only girl in the group also went home but her father shaved her head bald, so Jennifer is back on the street again. I went to find her today, but I was told she went hiding.

I stocked up on noodles and bought a thermos bottle to carry hot water. Jordan is getting so big now that I can't tell him what to do anymore. So I found a smaller one. I am training her and take her with me to see the boys and warn her that if she falls in love with a homeless boy and she moves in with him, she will be homeless too.
Here's my entourage ---the neighborhood strays. Joshua carries the food for the boys and Em-em to carry the queens chair. And Albert? well, he sees me and just follows without asking where I'm going because he equates my name with food.
Of course they love to come help me because they think it's just the coolest thing that I treat them to a side road eatery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

gold, God, goons

Let's face it--- kids are not impressed by their parents gold or accomplishments. They don't care that they're driven in a brand new car or their butts are seated on leather seats of your Mercedes on their way to the day care. What they care about is that you're running around with them playing hide and seek or standing in the kitchen baking cookies while they're giddily cleaning the bowl of the chocolate mix with their tongue. That, they can understand and will brag about. And remember.

When Chat arrived the US, I was not working yet, so when she came home from school, she'd see me standing over the kitchen counter. Then soon I started working. I was proud and bragged to myself that "I am doing this all for you." But what does Chat remember? That she arrives from school to an empty house. Then longingly she would recall that day she opened the door and saw me in the kitchen baking cookies for her snack.

By no means I am telling mothers to stop working (if they have to) so they can stay at home with their kids. But you know what? Most mothers don't really have to work outside of the home. I've learned my lesson and I try to impart what I've learned to new parents and I try to make it up to these street kids. I also tell my church friends who has a "feeding ministry" that kids will not understand love from a God who they don't see, if the people who feeds them doesn't know how to love them. I have not arrived, because as I've always said, I don't do kids, but this I say, children and adults don't care what we know, unless they know that we care. We can tell these kids God loves them and recite bible verses and make them memorize it in exchange for food. But the question is: Is that love?

After I left the boys last Saturday, the police raided them because one of the boys was accused of stabbing the jeepney dispatcher across the bridge. So when I came back Sunday, the boys were nowhere to be found, but one was left to look out for me. When they knew it was safe, they came out and I fed them and we talked and they told me they could not stay there anymore.

Yesterday, I stopped by there and could not find any of them. But when I was crossing the skywalk, I found Mark Anthony. I call him my "favorite goon".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kids....and more of them

It's overwhelming. They're everywhere. They're young and committing petty crime, with their brains wasted on rugby and who knows what else? So where do I begin and can it be sustained whatever I decide to do with them? Well, I don't have the answer, but I know I can't ignore them anymore. I did not seek help and support from my pastor friends because I just wanted to hang out with them and get to know them. And to let them know that though their minds are lost, God knows exactly where they are.

Around noon yesterday I went to assess the situation. Meet Mark Anthony, Jack and Lars. Under the bridge half dazed from sniffing rugby. And bummed out from begging and stealing and hunger.

I told them I will be back around 530pm when it's cooler. The 3 of them said they'd wait for me. I came back with Jordan and look, I have the whole gang waiting for me.
They showed me their cave under the bridge and held up the sign that they took with the item they stole from the mini-store. It's not funny, but you have to find the humor in it.
I told them about being a mother, how it must have pained their mother not knowing where they are and wondering if they're still alive. But most of them except for Mark Anthony who said that his mother told him to get out of her life and not come back, the rest said the same thing; their parents beat them up when they didn't obey. In other words, they want to live in a world without authority, rules and guidelines. Before I fed them bread and orange juice, Jordan shared his experiences with them; how he was also a street kid like them. Until I found him and he had to straighten up or I'd beat him to a pulp if he disobeyed.
Rio pulled me aside so he can have his picture taken, all by himself. He said he didn't want the "dirty" kids around him. Then he asked if I am on Facebook. I said no, I am not. He proceeded to mouth off the password to his Facebook account, which was a series of numbers. When I asked why too many digits and no letters, he said it's his cell phone number. Daaang, you have a cell phone? He said he did, until the police caught him.
In all this excitement, can you spot me among them? Well, take a good look.. so when you hear of my death, you'll know what killed me.

Work, the cure for hunger

Chat has sponsored several kids here in Cebu but this one I've taken a special interest because of the circumstance that she's in. Her mother is a drunk and suffers from asthma and kidney problem, but she does laundry for people and is a good worker....when she's not drinking. I am training this kid to work because as I've said, the cure for hunger is work. And she's come a long way, in her writing too.

After she worked, I gave her water to bathe, food and new clothes. And some money which I am training her to learn to budget. But she said her mother wants half of it, I told her it's ok--you still have to budget regardless if it's a million or a dollar.

She did this whole area all by herself, in less than an hour. Without any supervision.
I mean, no human supervision.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Food or lack of it

My cousin came to town to see her mom and also celebrate her grandmas death anniversary. And of course, that means food.

On the way home, I passed by this tree---very pleasing to the eyes, but I don't know what it's called.Then as I crossed the bridge closer to my place, this is what I saw. Hungry and addicted children. It's overwhelming to see them hungry after I had just eaten too much good food. But I've come to conclude that the cure for hunger is a job. And yet where do we begin, when it's the parents who have failed these kids?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wrong side of 45

I have been on "the wrong side of 45" for several years now. When people say it's not fun being old, it's true... so don't do it. I have blogged about emails spamming my inbox selling me motorized scooter and how that rubbed my scales the wrong way. Well, if that wasn't insulting enough, the floodgate has opened to more personal emails.

They're now telling me, that at my age, I should get a "genie bra for the much needed lift." I wanted to email them back and tell them, no, thank you. My nipples down on my knees are just cool. And then there's this group of lawyers, even with a real persons name as the sender, giving me a final notice to join the class action suit for a "hip replacement recall." I don't know, but I don't think I want to give them back this hip, wherever and whoever it came from.

You see why getting old is not fun? It's not enough that my body tells me so everyday, there are actually people out there, meeting in boardrooms, sipping their java and blowing a camel, thinking of ways how to come into my life and insult me. And without subtlety. But then again, you should not beat around the bush with an old person. You want a man? Don't bother going to young peoples dating site. Go diretly to senior or over 45 They have to get straight to the point, because after all, I may not live long enough for that green banana in my dining table to ripen. And they have to be quick while I'm still able to differentiate the numbers; from my daughter's phone number to that of my credit card, to buy whatever it is they're selling to old people.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Of cats and human litter

Ok, Ok. I hear you---enough about cats already.

He's very Westernized. He's getting a tan or an intake of vitamin D.

He's allowed to stay inside for now because he lacerated his paw from a broken glass and I don't want it infected. He likes to stay under the bench. Or under my computer table.

I bury my head under the litter box and pretend that everything is cool in the world. The reality is, I've seen it all, yet, it still overwhelms me to see this. Mother and daughter living under the bridge. Kids found that sniffing glue suppresses hunger. Then it's too late, they're addicted to it.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Never say never

I don't do kids and cats. That used to be my mantra but they keep straying into my life. Let me in, let me in.
Well, should I say more about the cat? Besides giving me allergies with his dander what's his contribution?
At least Jordan can grill. Remember him then?

Well, he's grown. And if Oprah can have her chef, I can too. If you can call frying a banana as cooking.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Too old for that

I'm not anti-social, I just prefer to be a loner. Though sometimes my preferrence for solitude makes Howard Hughes look sociable, I have no problem making friends....because as Chat likes to say: If they're hospice bound, insane criminals or just plain insane, I attract them. True enough, two months after I arrived here in Cebu, this bipolar neighbor of mine found me. Or maybe I found her.

But as quick as we bonded, was how quick I had to desist from her because I have no energy to tackle her manic and argumentative moods. I understand that to choose friends who are only like me is a form of narcissism, but I just could not hack it having to defend my position every time I say something. I could take her opinion about my opinion, but I'm too tired and too brain dead to be on the defensive position all the time.

I am an introvert in the sense that most of the time I am preoccupied with my own thoughts, but I love social contact; I enjoy people and their stories and I long to be with people---just not in big doses. Or with bipolar beings. Being with people 3 days in a row (or one hour with her) would land me some place with men and women in white coats and hardly readable handwriting. And where most of their supply gowns are straightjackets. No wonder I love cats. They don't talk back so I don't have to argue. And no wonder I'm still single.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Look who's older (2)

I don't usually celebrate my birthday except when Chat wants to make a big deal out of it. But this year I wanted to make a big deal out of it, so I celebrated it for 2 days. Last Saturday was the pig extravagansa; we grilled the ribs, roasted the head, braised the legs and stewed the rest. The "hood" ate all day, then took home everything that was left. Then yesterday was the icing on the cake; I took my "writing students" to go with me to a town south of here. We rode the airconditioned bus, which was a treat for everyone because none of them had been on a bus --more so an airconditioned one.

Chicken drumstick, rice and hot soup for breakfast after we got off the bus. They asked for hot soup because they said the air on the bus was so cold for their stomach. It made sense, until they said they want a cold soda too.

We then took off to the countryside and hang around by the water.
And by lunch time I was very tired. And broke. But very happy.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Look who's older..

Chat asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I told her I want a pig. "And what are you going to do with it?" I told her to just look at my blog after she sends me the money. The goat snuggling up with the pig.
I wonder what the USDA agents and the homeowners association would do if I do something like this in my apartment in Dallas. I told the neighborhood boys I am buying a pig (or Chat is) for my birthday but I have no guests and they can cook the pork in any way they like and whoever happens to come by gets to eat. I didn't get to eat because I had so much fun because this is what my dad used to do---open house to the hoi polloi. (Well, the hoity toity is welcome too if they can stand the fun.)