Monday, March 20, 2006

May kwento ako (2)

To continue

I never had the same luxury as other people had when I was young. The same with my brothers and sisters. ..we were victims of pure poverty. I remember my first shoes – Converse…my parents bought me a pair of shoes, the first time, when I graduated in elementary. I had to keep the shoes well taken cared of…washed and dry all the time so it would last. My parents bought me a new pair of shoes, three years later – one shoes every three years! They got no choice because my toes were already coming out from the worn out Converse, hehehe. The same thing with pants, I mean long pants. I wore short pants (shorts), from grade 1 to grade six…until my graduation day, when my parents tried their best to buy me long pants. At first they tried borrowing from neighbors for my graduation, but it seemed that nobody would lend me/them….so off to ukay ukay they went…(pero ala pa yatang ukay ukay noon).

I had a younger sister….I remember we asked our dear father for a lapis…he bought one, cut it in two, he gave the other half with the eraser to my sister, and the other half to me…. saying here son…take this…for you’re eraser just cut from an unused tsinelas, or just borrow from your friends. Beat that!

My father was a very ambitious man, when my eldest brother graduated in High School; he tried his best to send him to College…to the chagrin and shocked of our neighbors. Reactions vary from: ambisyoso…hindi mo kaya yan,… saan ka kukuha ng pera sa pagpapa-aral sa mga anak mo? He took our neighbors comments as a challenge…off he goes to the pier every time the ship comes from Manila. Karga dito…karga doon.

Because, they really wanted us to finish our studies, my good mother…also…off she goes to a neighboring subdivision everyday to work as “labandera”. She told us, she would cry every time she washes other people’s clothes….and got a bad mouthing from whoever was kind enough to give her “labahan”. Drama! Hehe.

What about food? Coffee and a piece of pandesal in the morning, egg was a luxury, mostly lugaw for lunch, and lugaw for dinner….the food of the poor, what do you expect? Bagoong, tuyo and asin was familiar in the dining table.

To complement our parents efforts; I worked in High School, so was my brothers and sisters. I worked as a houseboy when I was 10, a student janitor in high school, and a fish vendor on weekends. My brothers helped my father push “kariton” in the pier. We worked…on anything, on everything, on any decent job…and we survived!

Yes, we survived. I obtained a scholarship in college, so was my sister. Both of my brothers passed the board exams without doing a review because my parents cannot afford it. My father rule was: you got one chance, no review, pass it or fail it. Kalas.

Well this story/drama happened over twenty years ago. All of my brothers and sisters are now college graduates and working, our eldest brother even obtained a PhD, some of my nieces and nephews are now in college and in high school (scholars mostly).

Me? Twenty years later, after this dramatic and challenging life, I was in Paris visiting the Louvre, and in Las Vegas in Monte Carlo trying my luck at the roulette tables, and in Grand Canyons telling my self how fascinating the sights are, or how cold it is in Montreal, and how beautiful the flowers of Kukeenhuf (spell check) of Netherlands are.

I had a great journey, not just around the world, but in life.

All we/I owe to a “Kargador sa Pier”. Thanks Tatay!

PS: That is the reason why I am very-very generous to kargadors whenever I travel.hehehehe.