So for the Christmas vacation, we went back to the Philippines. I had my Ipod ready for the whole holiday. I stuffed it with Relient K’s Christmas album and other Christmas songs. These songs are the theme song of my vacation, I guess.
It was a long tiring month and we did not get enough sleep every single night. At Mama and Papa’s (my grandparents in my father’s side) house, we stayed up until midnight because of jet lag. Also adding to our sleeplessness was the very noisy church across the road. We did not hear the Mosque’s call to prayer the whole month, but we did hear the noisy church singing. Sometimes a firefly would decide to wander into the room. It’s light is so bright and pretty, distracting me from my concentration on sleeping.
As grandparents, they often fed us so much. After eating a very heavy breakfast Mama offers one heavy snack after another. She just doesn’t stop feeding us like her life depends on it. It was so hard to refuse because all my sweet grandmother had to offer was delicious and nothing like it was ever sold in Abu Dhabi. Mama was not the only one feeding us so much, every single old woman we met served us so much food and would say something like “Eat my daughter! No one is on a diet in my house!” They’ll never understand the meaning of “I am very full” or “I am going to explode.” I got so much heavier by the end of the month, no doubt about it.
The second week of December, my sister and I stayed with our cousins’ at their house. The whole week was full of fun and craziness. We all stayed up until past 3 in the morning, playing video games, watching movies and eating junk food. Sure, we were being so unhealthy and I am absolutely not used to it, but we had so much fun. Besides, I don’t always get to sleep late just to have fun. One day, our uncle drove us to a far away place to see what they were constructing. We ate at a “five star restaurant” that we all thought was a bit old, worn-out, and disgusting–but don’t get me wrong, the food was good. He left us in a very scary room full of bugs and not to mention a huge spider by the plywood wall. We called the place “Five Star Hotel.” The electrical wiring was faulty, so while we were talking about Matthew, the scary cannibal in the forest that we saw on TV earlier in the morning, the lights went out like we were in a horror movie or something. My cousin screamed, and we were all scaring each other in that “five star hotel” saying, “Hala! Matthew is coming to eat us all!” Another night, we went to a Beatles tribute mini concert. Everyone else did not want to go, but our uncle forced us anyway. He thought there was going to be free food, but it turns out that the food was not free at all. We waited for so long before the concert started. The shawarma was awful (Arabs make it perfectly, but Filipinos don’t), and the concert wasn’t all that great either. Then it started to drizzle, forcing us to leave. When we got back to their house, we watched horror movies and played video games the whole night. We didn’t sleep for fear that the dead Thai woman in the horror movie will come and get us. In the morning, all of us were so tired and sleepy.
On Christmas day, we were back to staying at Mama and Papa’s house. When I woke up, a familiar voice greeted me. It was Ate Leovie! I haven’t seen her in a long while. In the afternoon, we went to visit Papa at the hospital. He was very happy to see us. No matter how severe his cancer became, he was still the same happy man. I will never forget that moment in the hospital when he accidentally punched me on my head. (Don’t ask me how and why he accidentally punched me because I have no idea how it happened.) It hurt a lot, but I thought it was pretty funny. He gave me a hug as he apologized. Everyday I thought about him and hoped that his would find peace soon, because his physical body was in so much pain already.(He died a few months after we flew back to Abu Dhabi.)
In the last week of December, we stayed at Lolo Vic and Lola Cora’s house. We had to sleep on the hard floor. Every morning my body was very sore and I couldn’t sleep at all during the night. Lolo and Lola’s house had access to the internet so it wasn’t all that bad either. When my sister and I would get bored, we would play with our Lolo’s cats. The cats were not very friendly, but we played with them anyway. While we were there I invited my old friends to bowling. It was a fun reunion.
The last days of our vacation was spent back at Mama and Papa’s house. We got to hang out with Ate Leovie and talk to her about all the funny things that we used to do in our old home. We talked about our old dog, about the music we used to listen to, and we played Pinoy Henyo all afternoon. We missed her so much. She was like an older sister to us.
On our plane ride back to Abu Dhabi, I discovered my love for country music as I listened to Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Eli Young Band, Luke Bryan, and others.
When we came back it felt so good to be in nice cool Abu Dhabi winter weather (because it was so hot in the Philippines). It also felt good to breathe in fresh air, and not smoke-smelling air. But most importantly, MY BED. FINALLY, AFTER A WHOLE MONTH OF NOT SLEEPING, I CAN SLEEP!!!!!