I have been an adopted daughter of the UAE for as long as I remember.
8 years 4 months and I don’t want to be ridiculous for counting even the days and hours. As an adopted country cradling to numerous expats, I am one to call myself lucky. She has been a good mother to me, tolerant of my ignorance and of my primitive ways and enhance them, at least what myself says.
Scenario: Your parents live in a remote area and facts are slapping you in the face like back and forth because living there is not possible while you are studying in the city’s university, which is hundred hours away; so either your mother or father talk to their sisters or brothers or anyone who share their blood type or tracing family tree to accommodate you and promising the heavens that you are a kind of girl who helps in the house chores and not the one who gives headaches. They, both of them, might commit a doubtful promise to your relatives, that forever they would be grateful to them if they would just place a roof on your head, while you are burning the midnight oil. Then, things would turn out well to all parties involved because you blend in well in the family. Although no one on earth did one know that you are sometimes crying into your sleep.
Cut the drama! But it is, nevertheless is one of the closest scenario I can think of. While experiencing life in a different country, culture, weather, be it with a roller coaster of emotions and I actually grown up as a big girl. I simply, just, cannot deny how I miss home.
Seriously, who doesn’t? Who doesn’t miss the early morning sunlight brush your cheeks while knowing that it will be a beautiful day with amazing opportunities would happen? like bumping into your high school friends. Like spending your afternoon with your neighbor when all you wanted to do was just to say hi and ended up talking in loud voice while there is a concrete gate separating you and no one even wonder why no one has invited anyone? Like dieting is not an option because the mere fact you step outside of your compound, stalls of food are snatching your concentration and find yourself buying too much because you miss the street food.
My home is where the average of tropical cyclones can be around 19 visits a year. Yes.You. Read. It. Right. Nineteen. Maybe more?
But who cares? We all do, however, this is just one of the million things that we cannot do anything about. Not in our hands. Frowning about it, talking about it wouldn’t prevent these typhoons who visit us. They just love us. So as resilient as my people are, we know the meaning of “There’s a rainbow after the storm”, figuratively and literally.
I miss home, there are some days I feel delirious closing my eyes so tight as if I am going to be transported there anytime. But of course, in the land without the community you grew up with, who would wake you up in your daydream? Of course, your boss! Calling your name more than twice, you pretend that you just didn’t hear. Inside of you, you shake your head while chasing the corporate mask you are just wearing few seconds ago, wondering why it did slip away.
Yes. I miss the street that I used to walked on and the people who lived on that street. Tricycle drivers who in their good days, were to offer to drop me home without asking for fare. Familiar smiles from the people that knew me, my section in school, my ancestors, how many boys didn’t try to joke around with me because of my uncles and brothers.
I miss the old gates that protected the 3 houses inside our family compound.
I miss the shrieking noise of the steel gate that betrayed the opener because it didn’t keep quiet. That rustic gate who cried like a wolf in the middle of the night if anyone tried to open it after the heavy rain.
I miss the dogs that used to guard us. The ones with weird people’s name. The ones who supposed to guard us from strangers but ended up biting me and my cousins and the dogs who photobombed us during family photos. Photobombing us before we even know the word. We loved them, anyway.
I miss the clothesline with wet clothes with droplets of water, that me and my cousins used to pretend that they were drizzles and grandmother shouting at us telling “Don’t you have nothing to do? Pick the stones from the uncooked rice” her idea of fun.
I miss the old wide iron drum that my grandmother placed under the roof’s water way to collect the rain.No one knows who helped her to put it there. It was so heavy that no one dared to move it even after my grandmother died years ago. It was only removed when dengue had been serious matter.
I miss the guava trees that I used to climb up on even when I was still in my uniform skirts dancing on the thin branches while calling my cousins who were my playmates. Inviting them how sweet the guavas were. I would stay longer if the wind was nice. It fascinated me to look at our gray roof. It made me feel big, somewhat capable, of I just didn’t know what.
I miss the rice fields when during the harvest time always tempting us children to run and play with the golden haystack, making our mothers crazy watching us itching ourselves like a mad dog after the crazy afternoon throwing at each other a ball made of haystacks. My mother would control herself not to pinch me because I was already suffering of an unbearable itch.
Wallah. I miss home and home is calling.
I am delaying up no more. I am gonna answer soon.