On my flight back to Vancouver I was seated by the aisle and there was an empty seat in between and a Filipino Tita by the window. So even though I flew economy I had more space than usual. Tbh I think I kept seeing her around Vancouver throughout the holidays. It was weird.
Nobody fetched me at the airport because it was a weekday and everyone was working and I didn’t tell my friends either. So I used my debit card and bought a ticket BUT! it was the new compass machine and I honestly didn’t know how it worked so I bought a second one at Edmonds ( i only had $20 to my name huhuhuhu). I stopped by downtown to get the house keys from my sister and we chitchatted a bit and she gave me a panini which was really good and which served as my lunch. I felt so happy, just the familiarity and ease of commuting home (and being able to peacefully sleep on the train) and the fresh cold sharp air on my skin. It was like I never left.
When I got home I tried contacting Arvin because I wanted to surprise him but he was still packing and running late for his flight to Alberta (I judged him but you will soon find out why we are friends.) We actually missed eachother at the airport by a few hours! I ended up falling asleep until evening because jetlag. The next night the Filipino Cooperative had a Christmas Party and the food was so good, I gorged myself with kare-kare and greeted my titos and titas with beso beso (cheek to cheek, both sides.)
For the first week I really just stayed home and slept a lot. I ended up cooking a lot too because I’d get so hungry and I’d rummage through the fridge and make these delicious leftover dishes. What else could I do? Manila fastfood had the best online delivery, while Vancouver’s is non-existent. Don’t get me started about talking on the phone, besides I was broke. And of course I was embarrassed to ask money from my family lol.
Which turned around because on the second week my old job asked if I could fill in for their receptionist. I lazed around for a few days until I saw my bank account- then boom, I was off to work for a week! It wasn’t really so bad. I knew the drill, noone had to tell me what to do. Everybody was happy I was there and the Christmas chocolates, oh!
So I basically just hung out with my family and friends. I finally got to surprise Arvin after he came back to Alberta thanks to Jorgen’s help. It was a little anticlimatic because we were in the hospital room. Jorgen had been admitted due to an inflamed appendix and we were keeping him company. After saying our goodbyes we clumsily entered another patient’s side of the room. He was in his hospital gown reading a paper and he looked so shocked when Arvin and I stumbled in. We were both shocked too, I swear I could see Arvin’s wide-eyed look as we mumbled apologies and fumbled our way outside of the room. Arvin grabbed me by the wrist and we ran out as fast as we could. When we got to the elevator we were on the floor breathless and dying of laughter. Same old disaster life. “I know we’re both a mess but it just magnifies itself when we’re together!” Arvin told me. Sure enough Jorgen had something to say about it the next day.
Everyone was busy up until the 2nd week though. I tried to hang out with my little sister but she’s a teenager, a uni student and a working student and a dancer = no time. This is how our conversations usually went:
“I cleared this day for you so we could hang out.”
“I thought it was tomorrow pa!”
“Ugh. next time then.”
She’s such a little scammer though, she was going to treat me but she forgot her debit card so I ended up buying her lunch. Loljk, it wasn’t a scam.
There was also that time Arvin was looking through food photos at 12 mn and was craving for a Taro Slushie. I was already in my PJs about to sleep. So we went. Wayne picked us up from our respective households. We ended up playing four rounds of Uno Cards inside the car, parked by my street lol.
On another day, I had the brightest idea to go to Grouse Mountain to shoot snow. My family went along with it. They did not blame me. Thank you.
I would like to let everyone to know that the reason my mother has this huge grin on her face is because she threw a snowball at me right after this shot. And oh, how she revelled in it.
It was really cold and crowded and everywhere you went was a long lineup but for some reason it didn’t really put us in a foul mood. Being outdoors, seeing the pine trees powdered with snow and sparkling in christmas lights- there was just so much joy and beauty in our surroundings. The kids were playing and rolling on hills of snow, adults were ice skating, warming their hands by the fire. I found it to be such a fulfilling day.
On the last day of the year my mum and I went to Walmart so I could stock up on stuff for my trip back to the Philippines. Groceries in the Philippines cost as much as in Vancouver so why not get it from here right. When we got home my sister helped me pack (as always) while I tried to bake Coffee Buns for the first time. I splattered our kitchen wall with dough when I turned the mixer on full speed. I left the dough to rise while we celebrated new year’s at our neighbours. I wasn’t done packing and baking while everyone had gone to sleep so I asked my little sister if she could finish filling and topping the last batch of coffeebuns for me.
The next day I had to look for 1) my Philippine Passport 2) keys to my locks 3) something else I couldn’t find. Then I finally finished packing, an hour before I was set to leave for my flight. If your’e still reading this, this is the part where you tell me I shouldn’t have judged Arvin for being a mess.
My family saw me off at the airport. We said our goodbyes but this time I didn’t cry. I was pretty excited and filled with the warmth, love, and care they poured all over me while I was home. I was really happy.
My friends caught up and also said their goodbyes at the airport. I think we hugged thrice before Arvin really let me go.
Ah, and there it was- waiting to take me back to what I started.