“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” Elizabeth Lawrence said. And she is right in every way 🙂
I was born in my grandparent’s house at Salcedo Eastern Samar. Their humble domicile was my first home, the spacious backyard was my first enchanted forest, the boarding house was my first playhouse, the store was my first grocery, and the whole village was my first playground. I grew up with my mom’s folks. Because mom was working at Manila as well as my dad. When I was about four or five years old, I remember wondering why I have to live with my grandparents when all my cronies were living with their own folks. But now that I’m older, I realized why that is 🙂
My lola was every “granny” anyone would ever love to have. She was loving, caring, very thoughtful, kind in every way, the BEST cook, she spoils me(which is ALOT, even upto now!), she gives me whatever i want, and she was my savior! My aunt and uncle used to mock me everyday, and I can’t help but fight back. Whenever I reach the line too far, they would get their hands on me, but because lola was there, they did not stand a chance. 😀
My lolo was quite the disciplinarian, he has those eyes that would scrutinize your every move, he’s very keen, and is very neat for an old man. He’s surprisingly strong too, and if he orders you something and you failed to comply, you might as well start praying. He’s also quite the perfectionist! And I was scared of him. So, whatever he wants me to do, I comply. When he told me to sleep, I grudgingly went to bed. When he told me to eat up everything, I’ll grudgingly finish my meal. And when he told me not to eat too much sweets especially the candies and chocolates, I grudgingly stop picking candies at the store at my leisure.
Because of these people, I became a spoiled yet disciplined child.
I also had the wildest imagination. Our backyard was full of caimito, banana, and coconut trees. The front yard has a mango tree which I climb every morning. From atop the tree, I called my bestfriends. They were surely awake by the time I wake up because they were instructed to do household chores. I’m sure they heard my yelling, so after going down the tree, I drink my milk from the fridge. I prefferred my milk cold. Then, my lola would serve me my breakfast. After eating, my friends would be waiting for me at the front lawn. I hurriedly bade goodbye to my grandma then dashed out with my friends to their front yard and started playing encantadia. I was Amihan, jessa was Pirena, Cristy was Danaya, and lexa was Alena. We started sword fighting each other with bamboo stalks, and because I was Amihan, I always win! 😀 Our guy friends were also joining the fight and we were all having fun. Sometimes, we use our boarding house as our home when we play “bahay-bahayan”. After that, we visit the woods at the back of the elementary school and pretend to conjure spells and jinx each other. After the joyous 2-3 hours of playing, I immediately get back home before lolo does. If he found out I was playing outside, I’m so deaad! Then at four o’ clock every afternoon, I resume playing with my friends.
That was my routine until I was 7, when my mom decided I should live with her and my dad. It pained me to leave our place for manila because I was so attached to my kith and kin back there. But there was also this adventurous part in me where I wanna see more of the world I’ve been born to, so it was all a little bittersweet. When my folks changed their mind and decided to live here at Leyte, I was overjoyed. Because that meant that I could go home and see my grandparents and Salcedo more often. I visit every summer and reminisce everything that happened there. It was the place where I thought that I have powers. It was the place of my imagination, my fantasies, my childhood…
And most importantly, it is my own place under the sun… 🙂