welcome to manila

the plane landed and seemed to bounce like five times. ahahahaha!

first time i went home, i was shocked about everything. my thought was, after only four years in the u.s., DON'T CALL ME BALIKBAYAN!!! i wasn't yet too hot, but i rounded a corner and there was this photographer who took photos of people who had just arrived. lucky me, he swerved my way and walked backwards to suffer my eyes with this HUGE flash - i haven't showered or fixed my hair in 23 hours, you freaky photog of tired people! nearing baggage claim i saw this booth and a photo of my surprised, confused, UGLY face cried in front of me!!! yuck!!!! i was sweaty, my hair was standing, my clothes wrinkled. i looked like i ate something bad. I WAS SO FAT I LOOKED LIKE A WHALE!

handlers teased me because i had written my first name all over the balikbayan box for my relatives in iloilo. i penned that name onto the box the night before without thinking. it helped me calm down that i'm returning to the homeland by myself. but now everyone in the airport knew my name!

i was apprehensive going outdoors because my name was all over the balikbayan box and i was hot and i had to watch my suitcase and box and there's NO PEOPLE at the waiting shed where relatives send off their wives abroad, and i hadn't arranged for a ride to any of my cousins' houses!!!

all i know's that they know i'm coming. and i had their number but i had no clue how to use those big silver pay phones anymore. i noticed the sun really gold but the sky kinda gray, and a festive vibe to the air. i was just getting used to the vibe when my uncle walked from my right and laughed at what i had just done:

i flew from chicago to manila on my own! yay!!!

before i can't even go to shoppersville on my own.

at the end of my trip my cousins bought me our favorite greenwich pizza - delivery! i think they wanted me to feel safe and comfortable in my now unfamiliar surroundings. at first i thought the pizza was extremely small and the crust too hard, but when i had finished my fourth slice with coke, it was time for storytelling and laughing, just like what our parents had done.

salamat, eugene!
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welcome, and thank you for boarding the ulanmaya transit express. tickets, please. mind the gap as you depart. have a pleasant experience.

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gromit is curious

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