-By Giselle Lai Lok Chi
Before coming to Philippines, I do not have much expectations living with the host family. I know this is a good way for me to have a better understanding of the culture of local families and be friends with them. That’s all. However, what I have learned and gained from them are beyond imagination. I feel really glad and blessed to live with them in the coming three weeks.
I live with Gacita’s family. Its house is quite cozy and big. Libeth is the mother of five daughters. Two of their daughters are working in city town so I can just meet Janarie, Novem and Jeanna. Catherine and I received a warm welcome from them upon arrival.
It is remarkable that I had my first bucket shower in my life. Living in Hong Kong for 21 years, I never think water can be so valuable and scarce. Whenever I pour a bucket of water onto my body, it is a blessing. Moreover, it feels really cool under the hot weather. Another challenge for me is to sleep with thousands of insects. Although lizards are quite terrifying, I become friend with them as they can kill insects surrounding me. Gacita’s family laughed at us when they found we were threatened by insects.
Staying in Gacita’s family allows me to learn from them and reflect on myself.
Life is not all about money but a close relationship with one another. Gacita’s family is not rich but they try their best to accommodate all our needs. Libeth treats us as if we were her daughters. Moreover, they treasure the time spending with one another. Everyday, they stay together in dining room after dinner. Janarie helps her dad to do some massage whereas Jeanna and Novem chat or watch TV with Libeth. I feel ashamed because I spend so little time with my family since I have entered the university. I should not take the love from my parents for granted.
Moreover, life can be simple. Unlike Hong Kong where people have lots of luxurious, Filipinos (especially who live in Guimaras) live with just basic necessities. Sarcastically, people here are happy and easily satisfied. Kids do not have toys or electronic devices but they play happily by just running around the yard; teenagers do not have smart phone or notebook but spending time with their parents; adults do not cry for luxurious house or car but they just working hard to earn a living for their families. Being distracted by new technology or social media, people nowadays are always full of dissatisfaction, they seems to forget life can be that simple and easy. I treat everything as a thanksgiving now.
The following pictures paint thousand words.