today marks my 11th year of moving to the u.s. we moved sept. 1, 1994.

just hours ago a friend of mine called my cell phone to make sure i am leaving for florida tomorrow.

it's still clear in my mind how yesterday eleven years ago i said i'll see you later and i will come back to my old university. the bus pulled away from the gates and passed by my old apartment. it was beautiful. cold, at the foot of a mountain. the countryside was green and beautiful. the bus descended to a city just like any big city like my hometown.

i write from a skyscraper in the middle of the third largest city of the last remaining superpower. sometimes i go online to read news from home and end up staring at the articles' accompanying photographs of my old city. since they're photographs, much of their background is stripped, and i rarely recognize anything in them. but i never open my own old photoalbums.

instead when i think of landmarks like today, i remember glaring yellow streetlights in a train stop on irving park road, exiting a nondescript silver train car and walking pavement; an underpass. i remember not recognizing pigeon dung on the gray sidewalk. i remember it cold. my mother, knowing exactly where she was going, what she was doing. our boxes and suitcases, bulging from the back of my uncle's sedan. and his welcome, "andito na kamo di sa amerika."

on television right now is the houston astrodome, each inch of floor covered with katrina victims, waiting for something to eat. many left in new orleans haven't eaten for five days. today, united airlines flew more than 100 people from new orleans to chicago. chicago is taking names of those who would like to temporary house a few of the hundred. a friend from biloxi is marooned in southern florida, and she doesn't know if she still has a house to come home to.

several weeks ago, friends and i talked about the massive exodus of thousands of filipinos, several filled 747 aircraft every hour. my friends called it "fleeing." they run to chase dreams for themselves and everyone around them. they leave because of war and natural disasters.

they're no different from the ones resting on the floors of the houston astrodome right now, those who come from new orleans, biloxi, gulfport, and their suburbs. how many of them have always wanted to get out of their cities? how many of them will now work to swell houston's way of life?

tomorrow we go to florida for something else entirely. there will be much remembering about katrina victims. there might even be a victim who'll say something. maybe someone will say something about why they moved, what happened, and why was it so cruicial that they needed to leave.

my uncle grins widely and opens a black iron gate. we enter a house, quiet, flooded with yellow lights.
ei!!that was soo hilarious!! especially the puppies u mde!! soo cute,i remember my puppy in germany!! cool!!
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