Hello There Cali ( A Reunion)

Hello There Cali ( A Reunion)

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From the moment I stepped inside Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I knew in my heart that this travel is going to be different from the others. One year of preparation to get the Visa, all the anxiety, is all worth it. I've never been so excited in my life. 

Passing by the Immigration and waiting til Boarding time was a blur. Heck I did not even mind having a 15 hour lay over in China which made my stomach sick. When I saw the parting of the timezone from my airplane window, I did not have words. For the first time in my life, I was struck speechless. Yep, this trip is going to be awesome. 

Everything went by on a blur again. Landing San Francisco International Airport, going through Immigration and the claiming my baggage. All zeroed in when I saw my Mom, heading our way. I haven't seen her in 2 years. I missed her sweet dimpled smile, compassionate eyes and all that is my Mom. Everything else did not matter when she finally hugged me. All is well in the world. Not even my jetlag fazed me.

Travelling from San Francisco to Concord California took us two hours. I could not believe there's also traffic in the US, but it's much bearable compared to Philippine traffic. And I could not believe I am seeing California for the first time, all things considered.Finally we arrived in Concord. It's a quiet place, like all people here are just chill and just peaceful. I love it. And I love the weather too. You know the first thing I did when we arrived Mom's apartment? I just sat on the couch and sat there for a good 10 minutes. Color me awestruck, not in shock but awestruck. Mom lives in a cute homey apartment. All those times I was wondering how Mom lived her life in the US, well here I am looking at it. It's one thing hearing it from my Mom everytime she comes home in the Philippines, it's a different story fiinally seeing it with my own eyes. And I'm so very happy.

We did not do much the next day, domesticated as I am, I tackled chores. Laundry and all that jazz. I love doing the laundry here. I mean everything is so very convenient. Believe me I'm not a laundry person. But here in California, I could do the laundry the whole day, and clean the house and cook all of the meals without complaining about it. And I complain. A Lot. That says a lot. We picked up my Mom after work and cooked dinner. I missed cooking with my Mom. Even if we didn't talked much, the comfortable silence is sending motherly love all over my body. I love bed times on Concord too. It means i get to say goodnight to my Mom for reals. Kiss and hug her before going to sleep. I know I'm an adult already, but hey, who doesn't want hugs and kisses from Mommy before bedtime.

The next day, even with Mom still at work, it was decided that we explore San Francisco. It's bartable from Concord, for about an hour and a half. The Concord Bart station is not much different from the trains i rode from the different countires I've been to. But the mrt in Japan is sort of comparable with this one. I LOVE the cold weather, and i fell inlove with it even more when we arrived in San Francisco because it was  a few degrees colder. Cold weather is life is you ask me. From the bart station, it's a 15 minute walk going to the San Francisco Port. I think we were right smack in the middle of the business district, so all I see were people bundled up, in a hurry with a hot drink on hand. Right there and then I wanted to purchase a condo in San Fran. My heart was definitely ensnared by the weather, and the way of life. But my pocket says otherwise, so yeah, hold your horses Kaye. We walked all the way from the Bay Bridge to Pier 39. And from there we rode the double decker bus so we can see the Golden Gate Bridge and some of the other places around San Fran. The experience was so cool! and literally too. I was freezing but like i said, I love cold weathers. And there's the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It's not gold. Ha-ha. It's actually just a bridge much to my dismay. But it was also a historical landmark. I love historical landmarks. After Golden Gate we explored Fisher Man's Wharf and everything in it, yummy food included ( Clam chowder is to die for) then off we went exploring Pier 39 again and its lazy sea lions. Yes, really lazy sea lions. Tummy full and head heady with the new experience, we rode the Bart station going home to Concord. Of course, just like the recent travels I had, we got lost. Wrong train cart this time. Because I thought Bart is just like the Philippine MRT where you ride a cart and it will bring you staight to the station you're going to. Nope, I was so wrong and so far away from Concord than I realized. I just laughed it off and waited for the right train. Getting lost has always been part of any trips I had. And in a way, for me, it's fun being lost. It's weird I know, but when you get lost, you can test how adventurous you can be. Mom was still at work and would get off the next day, she worried that we got lost, but hey, we were able to get back home didn't we. 

I was so happy when Mom got off from work the following day. Her Vacation leave was approved. And we only have one more week together until we get back to the Philippines.  Everday we went to different places, met Mom's friends and some of people from my hometown in Rizal, and then celebrated Memorial day in Pitsburgh, where my mom's cousin live. Everyday I observe how they live their life in the US. All of the people here are so busy. Working their ass off is an on point description. I was able to do stuff I don't usually do in the Philippines like pump my own gas. It was so liberating in a way. huh. I never knew pumping my own gas was liberating until I did it. Driving is so different in the US too. Everyone is so discplined on the road. I drove (tourist can drive for 30 days using their license) and toyed with the speed limits .Which gave my Mom a mini heart attack everytime. Can't blame her if she still thinks that I'm still a kid. Because sometimes, this is just between you and me, well I still throw a tanrum. Well kidding aside, I really can't blame Mom. I know, that even if I'm a grown woman, I will always be her Kikay, her little girl. I understand that with crystal clear clarity, because i feel the same with my son, he is growing up so fast as we speak but I still see him as my baby boy, always will. Parenting. It makes us all crazy doesn't it. 

In record time, we've been to Lake Tahoe, Reno Nevada and then Los Angeles, all in 4 days. I was amazed with the scenery, food, the HUGE serving of food, culture, way of life and disciple they have. Then it's time to go home. Two weeks is not enough but I am still thankful for the time I had with my Mom. It's time to go back and be an adult and a Mom again. My son doesn't want to go back, talk about Granma's spoiled little kid. But he has school to attend to. 

It's time to go back and be an adult. You know what I learned about this trip? and this is really a cliche' but a good cliche' mind you.. I realized that Home, is not a place, but Home is/are the people you are with. I felt at Home in an instant in my Mom's homey apartment, I always feel at home anywhere near my Mom. I guess one can never be at home being with a person or people who doesn't make them happy in a way. I can be in Eiffel Tower and not feel at home because I'm not happy. Get what I'm saying? My family makes me happy, makes me feel safe and supported. And no Taj Mahal or Golden Gate Bridge will make me feel otherwise. Hugging my Mom and turning away from her was the hardest thing I did this year. And yes I cried. A lot. I realized California is nothing compared to my need to be with my Mother. So it's not California that I will be missing but my Mom. Those wine nights with her, shopping and cooking and going places with her. I know I'll be seeing her again soon, and knowing that will keep me going. It's then that I said my goodbyes with Califonia promising myself that I will be back again and soon.

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Jestan Mendame August 20th, 2017

Awesome Cath!!! I love your story!

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