The Laughter of Children

Today is a Sunday, and tradition tells us it is the Lord's day of rest.

But in the land of exile, this hardly comes as one, with domestic and community obligations that sometimes come intertwined. Time warper is what we become most of the time. We bend time. We cheat time and its unruly ability to run our lives.

I think of the days of our separation as family now, of about eight plus years, with only something like two times max of visiting them once a year for reasons that are obvious: it was economically exacting, these days of visitation. It meant, among others, maxing out your credit card. Okey, cards, and then upon coming back to the land of your exile, you try to cheat meals and other needed purchases so you can pay the minimum amount the banks require or else they report you to the credit bureau and then your credit score will go down the drain.

For this is how we live our life over here, in the America of our dreams.

The Ilokano saying goes: 'We do not pick dollars from trees.'

That one means exasperation, sending a text message that says we live here from paycheck to paycheck, if not on deficit. Those who wallow in wealth, well, they wallow in wealth, and they are swallows that do not make an American summer.

Today's Sunday is the second of Easter, and soon, I will celebrate a decade of staying in my adoptive land. I have metamorphosed into another citizen of another land. Today's Sunday too, three children, classmates of my youngest daughter, came to draw up a plan for their year-end project about some grand design for a grand dream. And they had those whiteboard to boot, with those fancy markers of all colors.

Two nights ago, another classmate, the BFF of that youngest, stayed put so she would get to understand how probability works. The missus knows her stuff, degreed in that art, and patiently, she told them about those marbles in several colors and figuring what chance one gets color X, or color Y given some variables.

Today, our house is filled with laughter. My youngest daughter, an 11 year-old ex-fearful girl is laughing hard, so hard because finally, finally, after almost two years of figuring it out how to live her young American and immigrant life, she has come home to laugh, and laugh the hardest.

It is a repeat of our humble home in the Philippines, with classmates of children spending time in our humble home, sometimes days and days on end, with the missus worried about how to make the grocery supplies last longer.

Ah, I tell her. I better spend for them in my house than spending gas money to look for them all over.

Feed them, I say.

Hon, HI/
April 7, 2013

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