Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random Thoughts About Zamboanga – Part 1

These are random things I wasn’t able to cover in my recent posts about my trip to Zamboanga.
I had mentioned that I didn’t sleep well while I was in Zamboanga and not even on the flight back to L.A.  It wasn’t until I was in my own bed when I arrived on Thursday, September 13th, that I slept fitfully for 8 hours with some pharmacological help. Unfortunately, for several more weeks after that, I still suffered from insomnia. Before I left for Zamboanga, I would wake up at about 4 a.m. and could not sleep again. When I returned, I couldn’t fall asleep until 3 a.m., wake up at about 8 and my mind would feel cloudy the rest of the day until it awakened at about 7 p.m. 30 plus hours of jet lag is difficult to catch up with. Although I had a mild anti anxiety pill available while I was in Zamboanga, I didn’t want to take it because I didn’t want to be impaired in case something happened in the middle of the night. It turned out to be the right decision.
One of the more glaring observations I had in Zamboanga and perhaps that also goes for the whole Philippines, is the religiosity of the people. It seems like I’ve become more secular in my decades here in the U.S., that with the sudden exposure to so much religion, I experienced religion burn out after just a few days. There were so many rituals after someone dies and those rituals don’t necessarily serve the dead but just to make the living feel better about themselves. I apologize to the religious people for feeling that way. Despite my burn out on religion, I want to thank the Pabellon Family and Irene Hassan for their religious guidance.
Another major observation that was hard to miss was the kindness of people like the Tupaz and Pabellon families, the Mother Butler group, former classmates, relatives I haven’t seen in a long time, and even strangers. Somehow I had forgotten about the well known hospitality of Filipinos. Being a recipient of such hospitality, kindness, and compassion was a humbling experience. To the Tupaz Family, I heard that Mama was an investor in your company. In that case, she profited a thousandfold in the form of your kindness.
 I’m a loner by nature. I’ve never had so much face to face contact as I had in Zamboanga in the less than two weeks I was there. I had to brush up on my social skills rather quickly. Now, having returned to the U.S., I am starting to miss the human contact.
A few weeks before she died, my brother Larry told me that Mama gave away her handbags and shoes to the gay people operating a beauty salon next door. Then we gave away the rest later to the caregivers, helpers, and anyone who fancied anything. Each of Mama’s purses (and she had a lot) almost always contained a folding fan, a hanky, a rosary, and some money. I even found money I sent her two years ago. The receipt from the company I sent it through was with the money.
I use an internet appointment calendar and weeks before Mama’s birthday, the Memo To Me internet reminder service sent me an email saying that it was time to send money to Mama for her phone bill which I do once a year. Though I didn’t have to send money this year anymore, it still saddens me.
Another startling revelation was Mama’s remarkable memory. Even in her semi stuporous state, she would remind us what to do and even corrected the nurse in the hospital what medication she was scheduled  to take next.
           Thus concludes Part 1.

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