Daughter, 5 years: Kailan ka ba uuwi, papa?
Father, in exile: Pag nakaipon ng pamasahe.
Daughter: Bakit po, magkano ang pamasahe?
Father, in exile: Mahal. Kaya nag-iipon ako.
Daughter: Magkano po kasi? May alkansiya ako, pauutangin kita.
An exchange between my daughter Francine, 5, and me
The new year brings in a lot of cheers, they say, and it is so.
We can only borrow the Aramaic "Amen" here and we concur, with delight in our hearts, that indeed joy has come knocking on the door of this exile in the land of the exiled, and say this is true and tell it as such, and accept it as such, and seal it in truth and love and faith.
The particulars of this joy can only come when I began to abandon myself to this laughter that seldom resides in my migrant heart, although I know full well that its germ is in there, because, when the world is not agog with all the meaningless and the vacuous, I can laugh to my heart's content.
But for the last several days beginning the 30th of December--31st in the Philippines--when I began monitoring the New Year's day celebration in the homeland, the youngest daughter began to bombard me with her cross-examination, as if she were fathoming the idea why I did not come home when her two aunties, one from the Middle East, and another from Germany, came home to be with their families.
I had thought of blogging our exchange so that someday she would be able to read what transpired between us during the transit of 2006 to 2007.
On the road to work each day, and during my free hours, I think of our usual exchange that now borders on the comical, with the daughter displaying such an exuberance I have not known, her verbal ability more than what you can expect from a five year-old, with wit that can make her siblings, far older that she is, laugh and forgive and tolerate her.
She can be the reigning princess of sibling sarcasm when she wants it, with a sarcasm that makes them sit up and think and rethink, and finally say, "Oo nga pala, ano!"
But today's blog from her elder sister is a surprise. Read up and you will laugh, that laughter the beginning of your laughters to come for one full year.
Francine--her Ilokano name is Nasudi which translates to "pure, immaculate"--has been quizzing me whether I have gotten her card, that one that she herself has made and that she has sent through a friend who vacationed in the homeland but has yet to come back to Honolulu.
No, I said.
Magugustuhan mo, papa, she said, eagerly and with confidence.
I know, and I thank you, I said. When I get it, I will let you know.
Today, I have come to know of a bigger truth: that since Christmas, that little girl has been obsessessed with card-making.
Her sister Camille says Francine a.k.a. Nasudi makes cards day in and day out--and this one card that she made and is posted by her sister, is a clue to what has been going on in her mind these days.
The signs are there: airplane, the sea, the lands, the home, the numbers, her age, her name, the skies, and two two texts: Grow Op and Abnormal Psychology. Where on earth did she get all those terms?
She makes me laugh, this girl. You can see the card at: camillerocks.blogspot.com
A Solver Agcaoili