Last night while I was writing Back to Tatay’s Garden, I couldn’t help but reminisce all the memories I had as a kid.
Nostalgia. Nostalgia. Nostalgia.Nostalgia.
Where oh where do I begin?
Currently listening to: Take me Back by Sarah Jarosz
I grew up in the Philippines. Warm, sunny, Philippines. My sun-kissed skin says it all.
I woke up to the rooster’s crow at dawn (even during summer breaks). It served me well. I was never late for anything. The rooster had no snooze button!
I hurried downstairs because I was excited for breakfast which almost always includes pandesal, a sweet Filipino version of dinner rolls. When I woke up early enough, I accompanied nanay (grandmother) to the bakery. The nearest one is five minutes away from our house so we always walked there. Sometimes, we would wait for pandesal vendors who rode bicycles around town with a basket full of freshly-baked bread strapped on the bike’s rear.
We ate pandesal with butter. I still remember how it melted in my mouth, how it tasted. It was the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
On Saturdays, I collected my dad’s newspapers. Tatay and I weighed them first before selling them to the junkyard. Sometimes we sold them for 10 or 15 pesos–enough to buy cheese bread for merienda.
I helped nanay trim the grass, pick some vegetables from her garden, and cook lunch. My parents told me stories about how I followed the smell of food that always led me to nanay’s kitchen when I was four. That was when she decided to teach me how to cook. First cooking lesson: fried eggs.
In the afternoon, my grandfather shared his adventures when he was a boy. He described how the world was, how the world looked back then. He described it so vividly that sometimes when I close my eyes, I could see it. I could see him. I could see five-year-old tatay running in the field behind their bahay kubo, having the time of his life.
To be continued…