Merry Christmas. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. RC and RG were up before me, went downstairs and opened their presents. I started cooking crab and corn soup. Last night, I cooked pancit, baked cookies and made fruit salad. Instead of the traditional turkey, I bought barbecued chicken. RC gave me a present, an angel that he did at school. It was made of a tiny flowerpot and a wooden ball for the head. RK had a present for me as well. It was a candleholder made of a Gerber jar covered with multi-coloured tissue paper and trimmed with red beads, similar to the Red Lobster necklaces we got during the Taste of Manitoba.
R didn’t get up until past 8:00 a.m. although I kept waking him up earlier. He was still eating breakfast when Mama came over at 8:20, told him to hurry up because we didn’t want to stand up in church again like we did last year.
When we came outside, RC said, “Why is there nobody outside?” There wasn’t a single soul out there. I told him that in the Philippines, the streets would be full of people on Christmas Day. No wonder Filipinos here want to go home for the holidays. Mas masaya raw kasi duon.
The church was elegantly decorated. In addition to the silver stars that have been hanging above the altar since the first week of advent, the altar was decorated with bright red poinsettias. There were clear glass cubes and white cotton strips that looked like ice and snow. There were several three-feet tall Christmas trees adorned with Christmas lights. There were also boxes wrapped in shiny gold paper. The boxes have white paper on top of each printed with the words: Joy, Love, Forgiveness, Peace, Hope, Charity, Justice, Faith, Jesus – the gifts of Christmas. The huge crucifix at the front was covered with a long dark cloth with a big eight-pointed silver star. The walls were decorated with green wreaths adorned with more silver stars. I saw people dressed in their best, well only the ones who weren’t wearing their winter coats.
During the sermon, which was a very nice one, RC started to have a tummy ache. I asked him if he had to go to the washroom. At first he said no. After a few more times asking him, he said yes. We went to the washroom. When he came out I asked if he “went.” He said no. When we came back to our seats, I smelled his utot.
We had lunch at my sister’s place. She prepared spaghetti, lumpia, ham in pineapple, and garlic bread. Mama made puto-bumbong and cheesecake. I brought the food that I prepared last night and this morning. Mama mentioned that she saw Myra yesterday and told her, “Mommy, nakakatuwa naman si RG. Napakamaginoo (He’s a gentleman.)" Last night, when we talked to R’s Tatay on the phone, I heard R told him, “Namumupo si RG, ano.” He does say PO. Well, I guess that we must be raising him right. I am proud of him.
After lunch, we took lots of pictures and opened presents. I heard sis say, "A, look at the present I gave Lola, it’s a sewing machine.” I thought to myself, what was she talking about? I was the one who gave it to Ma. Sis got the same present I got for Mama. It was a watch in a sewing machine trinket. And it turns out that we bought it from the same store. “Magkapatid nga kayo,” said Mama.
My pamangkins gave me a thank you card. They wrote very touching words like: “Thank you very much po for taking care of the little ones when they were sick and preparing the food during lunch. Thank you very much for substituting for our parents and helping our younger siblings with lunch. Thank you for taking care of us while my mom and dad were in the Philippines.” I was happy to know that they appreciated my help when all I did was allot 45 minutes of my day to them during those 2 weeks and let the sick ones stayed with me during the day while I worked. It was Mama who helped the most. She stayed with them and cooked for them. This is what families do. And I just want to stress that it feels good to hear the words "Thank you."
We watched Spiderman 2 there. Later at home, we watched Jet Li’s “Hero.”
I was so exhausted at night.