Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sun, You're Expensive in this Part of the World!

We recently acquired a new place. The selection process was a bit unusual since it was lottery-based; that is, they put your name on queue and upon your number, you then get to choose the house and lot you prefer. We were number 13, and the lot of our choice was in the middle range, price-wise and area-wise.

During the tenth selection, we were already wondering why that lot hasn't been selected yet. We were really glad we got our area of choice but at the back of our heads came the question, why wasn't it popular?

It's a corner lot. It's a bit bigger compared to the regular lots. It's a bit isolated since it's beside some trees and big rocks.

Why?

Two months later, you then slowly realize why. Originally, I thought it was the amount of leaves that come into the backyard, especially during the autumn season. I guess that's also a factor. But more than anything, I guess it's because there's not enough sun at the back porch!

Growing up in a tropical country, sun is something that we take for granted. There is even an advisory that you're only supposed to stay under the sun between sunrise and 8AM and later than 4PM, otherwise, the sun can be harmful to your skin. Almost everyone has an umbrella when going around, or stays under the shade to avoid the sun. It was hard-wired in my system to evade the sun as much as possible.

Coming here, it looked strange to me when someone basks under the sun during lunch time. But then, living here for almost four years, you get into that habit, as well. You really feel the sun's heat during summer and only some days in spring.

You then realize, the sun brings warmth and light physically, mentally and emotionally. There is a certain brightness in your life, a feeling of being alive.

It's funny how we look for shades and clouds in Philippines, but here, we look for the glare of the sun. And now that summer is coming, I'm just looking forward for the sun and the warmth!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Uncles and Aunties

When I was a kid, I call everyone that is around my parents' age Uncle and Auntie. I'm not sure if this practice is shared among all Filipino cultures, but at least that's how I was brought up.

One normally calls a person Uncle or Auntie, when he is related to your parents - their siblings or cousins. But that address extends to your parents' friends, as well. And for some, they even use that term to address strangers on an informal basis. It's a sign of respect for the elders.

I guess there is always that sense of community among the Filipinos. It's very typical of Filipinos to feel close to someone even if they only met recently. Filipinos use the word "friend" lightly. Acquaintances are friends already.

Ever since I moved to Sweden, I have learned not to treat everyone as friends. It seems here, when you refer someone to as "friend", it means you have shared a lot of private moments and have been through a lot.

But sometimes you just miss that feeling. That feeling of camaraderie, community. The sense of belongingness. I think that's why when Filipinos get together, they tend to be really loud and rowdy, and crazy at times. I just attended that type of get-together so I'm still a little hung up.

Unfortunately, there are always two sides of a coin. There is always that danger of people becoming too familiar, that they tend to intrude on your personal life. And talk about you. And invade your privacy. That "familiarity" sort of gives one the right to do that.

Most of the Swedes are very private. They only talk about safe topic, safe sentiments. They don't openly discuss their relationships or about their emotions. They have that wall that is very hard to penetrate. You'd think you've shared a bond the day before, then the day after, back goes that wall between you.

Seeing those sides of the coin... There is always a good and a bad to each side. It's just a matter of perspective.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Inga mera selfies, för vi ska ta en groupie

For those of you wondering what the title means - no more selfies, for we shall take a groupie. It's a line from one of entries to a Swedish song festival, entitled Groupie by Viktor and Samir.

It was pretty popular among the young kids since it has a dance tune to it. Both my sons love dancing to it.

This song always come to mind whenever I browse through my Facebook feed. Everday, I just don't fail to see selfies taken with faces up close, and all you see in the picture is the face. Why do you want to document your face? Is there something special to it?

I don't mind people taking solo pictures, especially when it comes to showing off places they've been, or that they've got nice new clothes on, or even have a funny story behind it. It's actually fun to look at these photos. I just wondered, when someone takes a picture of JUST the face, what does one really try to show? Makeup? Or how well-maintained your skin is?

I'm not really a selfie person so I can't really relate to what a selfie means. It's just annoying sometimes to see the same face, day by day, despite different angles and expression on the face. I came close to unfollowing people, but I don't want to do that because I still want to see what they're up to. These are still people of interest to me. After all, that's why we are friends in Facebook.

It just annoys the hell out of me to see those selfies *shrugs*