My parents moved to Canada in the seventies as part of a big wave of immigrants that decided to establish new lives in a different, welcoming country. They met and married in Toronto, had me, and remained. My father came from Greece, and I’ve been fortunate to visit the country often (and once for a long time). My mother, on the other hand, is from the Philippines, where I’ve never been. My mother hadn’t gone back in over 15 years herself, and last spring when she started talking about taking a trip I knew I had to go with her. I wanted to see the country where she grew up; I wanted to meet the other half of my family.
A trip to the Philippines is harder to coordinate than one to Greece, but we eventually got our schedules sorted out, and on Christmas Day I booked myself a ticket for a 20+ hour journey from Montreal to Vancouver and then Vancouver to Manila. I was excited, but this excitement promptly got swallowed up by day to day life. I worked a lot. I tried to write. We had houseguests and did typical Montreal things involving poutine and skating.
And now the trip is around the corner: I leave on Saturday. I arrive in Manila on Monday morning, where I’ll meet my mother, who has been there for a week and a half already. The weather will be very different from the snow and cold here in Canada, and I’m looking forward to this unexpected winter break. But other than the temperature shift, I have no idea what to expect. Either way, I’ll be arming myself with a camera, a notebook and my laptop. The trip is relatively short for such a long distance (two weeks), but I have a feeling it will be the kind that inspires many words, photos, feelings.
I’ll keep you posted. See you in a few weeks.