Permit me to express some rare sentiment here. Usually, the theme of this blog is either intellectual-slash-scientific (when I cannot help but lecture about topics in linguistics), anger management (when I am ranting about my rowdy students), domestic (when I am blogging about my day-to-day life), or plain trivial (when I blog about things that surprise me, such as the sagging fashion statement by many guys here, etc). But today, let me do something different.
Let me blog about my family.
The motive of this is my conversation with my parents about an hour ago thru Yahoo! Messenger. As it is, they are preparing for their move to Prague, Czech Republic, from Vienna, Austria. So for them, everything has been in boxes now. And tonight is the last day that their computer would be around. Starting tomorrow, it would also be packed and wouldn't see the light of day until they unpack in Prague.
So our conversation today was a bit more than the usual trivial.
It is weird to think that somehow, I feel closer to my parents now, now that I am physically thousands of miles away from them, compared to when we were living together, all four of us, in one roof. I guess I never realized how important they are to me until I moved here. I guess I took their presence for granted.
As my mother laughed on the jokes that I fondly crack for her earlier, it reminded me that life wasn't always funny for us. I got into big trouble a number of times while I was growing up. The first serious trouble I could remember was when I discovered video games when I was in fifth grade. I stole money from my Dad's closet just to fund my video game addiction. My allowance never sufficed. Of course, they eventually found out, and I received some harsh discipline for that. I still cannot forget the look of my Dad cry when we were sitting at the table, and he was giving me a sermon.
My Mom should be given credit for the way she trained her children with regard to housework. I remember when I was in 4th grade, she started making me do the dishes. One Sunday, I remember she cooked beef stew, and the pot was so heavy and stained, it took me three hours to finish. Yes, I remember me standing in front of the sink from noon to 3:00 pm. Looking back, I now realize how important those periods of learning were. Similar events happened when I stepped into 7th grade, when I became the one responsible for washing and ironing my own clothes. She would separate our clothes, because she wouldn't wash my clothes anymore. We would have to find time and do the chores ourself. The same goes with my sister. Ironing is no different. My mother showed me the proper steps in ironing shirts, pants, everything. Now, I memorized them the way I know how to tie a necktie round my neck. And now that I live alone, those skills are indeed very useful.
Cooking was also another learning area. Starting when I was in 10th grade, she would make me plan the family menu for at least one meal a week, which was typically a Sunday lunch. I am responsible for preparing the ingredients, sometimes, a day before, and I would cook it by myself, and she would hover around the kitchen making sure everything is in proper order. I remember, one time I decided I make Indian Chicken Curry. Everything was ready, except I forgot to cook the rice. She never told me, even though she knew that I am forgetting something. I only realized my mistake when I called "Table is ready" but I glanced at the rice, and lo and behold, it was not yet cooked. Now, I don't have a hard time feeding myself.
Those are just some of the things that linger in my head, which makes me grateful for what I have become. Without my parents, I never would have found myself in this disposition.
The picture above was the last picture taken that included all four of us. It was taken inside the Viennese tram. That is my Dad and Mom in the foreground, and my sister in between, and me standing at the back. Me and my sister were on our way to Vienna International Airport to fly back to Manila, and my parents are seeing us off. As of now, I don't know whether there will be another occasion like this in the near future, whether we would still find the four of us in one location in the world. But even if we are spread and scattered across continents and oceans, the family is closer than ever, if not physically, but in spirit.