Posts Tagged life

The Family Room

From my sister's kitchen.

Whenever my sister asks me what I want to do during my US visit, I say, “Nothing.”  Forget all the touristy places, all I really want to do is catch up with family.

My sister's toddlers.

My brother's youngest.

My brother's eldest, long boarding and growing up too fast.

In my family, catching up means lingering in the kitchen and exchanging stories over home-made food. Cooking comes second nature to all of us so it is natural that we convene in a place where we are all comfortable in. I find so much joy in watching my siblings prepare their own specialties. I am currently entertained by my brother’s cupcake making skills.

My brother, in his kitchen, making red velvet cupcakes. His are a lot better than mine.

My sister in law, Corina's coffee cupcakes!

Being in the kitchen is also bittersweet as it makes me wish that my Mom and Dad were here. I can imagine my Mom hovering over everyone’s pot, giving unsolicited culinary advice, while my Dad would pick from all the plates, telling his tall tales. Mom is the original head chef in the family and Dad was always the willing sous chef. I know it made them extremely happy to see everyone gather around food that they’ve made.

Daddy and Mommy, the original cooks in the family

Sinigang, everyone's favorite Filipino food!

So when I’m here, I don’t bother to make plans to go to tourist attractions. Where else can we have the best Filipino food, have the kids run around freely and be as loud as we want to be? The kitchen is all we need to make us feel at home.


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Reality (and) Bites

Yesterday was an interesting day. I met Martin, a friend that Mike made on a dive trip to Palau. Martin was in transit and had 10 hours to kill in Manila. Martin is one of the most open-minded people I have ever met. From the moment we shook hands, I instantly felt his genuine interest to get to know me and the nonexistence of judgement. It seems that that is a trait common to travelers who are so used to, and almost impervious to cultural differences. It is something that I admire in people and wish to emulate. The few hours that we got to spend with Martin were so enjoyable and refreshing and I truly hope to cross paths with him again.

Mike, Martin and LT, catching up in Manila

I told Martin that I thought he was lucky to be able to travel so much. He smiled and replied, “I’m not lucky. It’s just good karma.”

Today, on the other hand was not so great. It was my first full day at home and I did not get the lazy day I was hopping for. Instead, I did errands from the  couch and managed to stress myself out silly. Dealing with a bank, an airline and an embassy (find complete account of embassy ordeal here) put an emphasis on the reality that I am, in fact, a grown up. Reality bit me pretty hard today.

I tried distracting my distraught self by writing blog entries and cooking, as usual. I’ve had a bag of french beans waiting to be made into a salad so for a good 15 minutes, that’s all I did. There’s nothing like some quiet time in the kitchen to soothe one’s worried soul.

So here’s to new friends, simple food and hopefully, approved visas. Tomorrow will bring better things, I am sure.

French Bean Salad Dressing

2 tbsp. deli mustard 
2 tbps. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Japanes mayonnaise (or any good mayo)
salt and pepper
your choice of fresh or dried herbs
Toss dressing with blanched french beans. Serve chilled. 

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