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Welcome Home!


My thoughtful cousin sent me an email that said, "Welcome home!". This reminded me of the welcome I received at San Francisco airport from Customs examiners. I was randomly picked from hundreds of passengers who arrived from Tokyo earlier this week. My one small suitcase was carefully checked as well as my handbag and handcarry. I hadn't really bought anything while abroad except 2 almerez that my Mom and sister asked me to bring. I didn't know how to translate almerez into English but one of the examiners knew what I was describing with my hands. I was pounding my right hand against a make believe stone bowl. He said it's a mortar and pestle. I had a difficult time finding these as my sister asked for a white marble almerez, the best of which come from the island of Romblon. Luckily my resourceful tricycle driver found them in the market. He had to go back and look for another one as the first store had only one in stock. Problem is these weigh a ton and my luggage seemed ready to tip at any moment.

Back to the search. What I find most annoying with these searches is how items in my carefully packed suitcase are pulled out and I can't put them back neatly or at all. The zipper usually won't close anymore because everything is hastily repacked. No matter. Home is a short drive away.

Welcome home! Where is home? I recently read a book written by an Irish woman who devoted a chapter on "Home is where my toothbrush is". But I have a toothbrush in my car, my travel bag and in each of my two homes. When I was working, I had one in my desk drawer. Yet I didn't think the workplace was home. It's not that simple.

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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar

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