Ebb and Flow

By John Wu

Living here feels like having your perfect music playlist. There’s a nice song for every moment: sunny days, rainy nights, highs and lows. Everyone I meet have their own unique style, tone and personality. It even includes the times when you get woken up by dogs and roosters at 5am every morning. They are the really bad songs you still keep because they’re just too catchy.

Just like any perfect playlist, you feel a sense of familiarity and a little adventure. It is a similar feeling living with my host family and also meeting other families as well. My host family, with Eugena, Ardy and their son Lance, though are people who I just recently met, have always welcomed me with a feeling of home. It was also always a great time when I spent time with other families, who coincidently were related to my host family.

Living with my host family are the go-to songs. Whenever I come home, I feel that the peacefulness of the house helps me to calm down and reflect things. It doesn’t matter to me that we might be less talkative than others, I prefer that. My host dad, Ardy, is a man of few words. But by seeing the way he does things, he puts a lot of heart into everything he does. When you see him walk, you feel that every step he takes is a sturdy one. And because he used to be a barangay councilor in water systems, he can always find the right way to fix something in the house. To me, he seems like the model of a good husband, reliable, durable, thoughtful.

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Eugena, my host mom, has a very interesting and lovely character. To me, she is like the combination of a mother and a grandparent, which is the best of both worlds. Not only does she cook one of the best food in the village, she is very fun to talk with and joke around with. I like going outside with her to feed her dogs, and see her play with them.

Lance, their only son, is very shy and quiet. He’s quite a gamer, so its easy for me to get along with him and play video games. I’m happy that he is opening up to me day by day. He’s pretty good at basketball, and hope he plays more, or else he will need glasses soon if he plays video games all day. It really sucks getting glasses at a really young age.

Your perfect playlist probably has very amazing musicians and singers. And It is a blessing that many of the people in Tubod Mar are very talented artists. Music can be heard in so many places. Although their song selections may be a little too old for me and I am a poor singer, the most memorable moments here are often places with music. These images pop up in my head with clearest quality and most emotion, like the church and the chapels, the karaoke house, and even with the fishermen who sing with their guitar. Maybe its because people here are very expressive, and a feel emotionally connected when I sing with them.

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Last week, however, my performance of a host son was not very good. I wasn’t very thoughtful of how other people in the village felt, and some things that I did last week probably made Eugina shake her head a couple times. She says she cares for me and that Pinoys are people that put a lot of importance in family. I should try to understand that some of the things I do might not be common in her normal life.

This week’s goal: think more from the perspective of the locals

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