Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Disappointment Strikes

I excitedly started counting down for this "grand" vacation to the Philippines several months out.  It had been a whole decade since I've stepped foot here, my mother being the only relative I've seen regularly since she treks over every year or so to visit us. To say I was excited was a gross understatement. I grew up in a family that spent vacations back home (here) rather than in new locales.  My sister and I cherished those times, flying back to the Philippines, staying at a hot and cramped house with a toilet that didn't have a flushing mechanism rigged to it. We didn't care, we were with our cousins, and we spent the days running around the small village, sneaking up on the corrugated steel roofs, telling of crushes and ghost stories of a half-man half-horse that smoked cigars and lounged in large trees (i know...weird...but "kapres" were scary when you were 8 years old).

I had this intense desire to show the Mister and kids how I had grown up this way, and I talked it up to them, going on and on about family members and their respective this cousin was the neighborhood alarm clock since he tended to turn up the soft ballads radio station while he bathed in the morning and sang along with his loudest most off-key voice, often transposing his own personalized lyrics to the songs...or how this uncle had a habit of grabbing unsuspecting nephews and nieces and bit their fingers...or that cousin who had a pair of intensely hyperactive children whom I was sure would make great playmates for the girls. 

I had hoped that perhaps my children would make those lifelong connections as I did, forging close relationships this time with their second cousins (the children of my cousins)...that just maybe they would be the ones begging to go back whenever the opportunity for a vacation came up again.  Sadly, it is not so. 

I don't know what happened between the ten years I have been gone. Or even from when I was a child and now...Back then, although the language barrier was always never seemed to be an issue.  I was raised bilingual (I am fluent in both English and Filipino), although my little sister could only understand Filipino but could not fluently speak it. There were times I had difficulty translating what I wanted to say into terms my cousins would understand...but we always found a way to understand each other...

Now, it seems this language barrier has manifested into a physical roadblock, standing in between Mister D and his cousins his age.  And as I had explained to my eldest beforehand, he would have to make the initial effort to communicate with them, as children here are generally shy and uncomfortable when it came to speaking English.  Being here for our second week, I've sat back and appreciated my normally timid son's attempts to make a connection with them.  This is not a natural thing for him, either.  And when I observe him approach a group of cousins and then see those guys turn their backs all for the mere fact that they are uncomfortable with communication, it simply hurts my heart.  And angers me all at the same time.  Here is my son, the one who is different, making the attempt to fit in...putting himself out there, as uncomfortable as any kid who is trying to be accepted...and he gets shunned.

It angers me to see such rudeness...such ignorance...such weakness.  It makes me want to point fingers and set blame...on those kids for hurting my child...on their parents for raising children who lack a spine...but in reality, I am just angry at myself for putting my faith in these people only to have my son hurt.

Now, Mister D has expressed his disappointment in the family I had talked up so much.  He says he does not want to return, and that perhaps he would be happier if we made an early return to Alaska. And I can't blame him.

And let's not even get into the other family drama ever present here...goodness! constantly hearing about it has exhausted me. One thinks she is being taken advantage of and disrespected.  The other thinks she is also being taken advantage of and disrespected. WTF. Has anybody heard of actually talking to the other person and trying to sort things out? So I am here, a sounding board for both, as they refuse to look at anything said at face value, instead twisting it and molding it to serve as some poisonous weapon to further corrode the relationship. It does wonders for the Christmas spirit.

Nine days into this vacation, I spent in my room crying, fed up with the drama. The hubby and I have decided to approach this vacation in a different way now.  Instead of the grand month-long family reunion I had built up for Fam Och to enjoy, we are instead focusing inward into our own family.  This will be just like any other Fam Och vacay...all five of us, enjoying what's available here in terms of entertainment, food, and culture. There will be no hurt alienated feelings when it is just us.  No petty concerns or little white lies...false pretenses...and plain old stupidity. I am officially done with it.  I have never imagined this would be such a disappointment. Good thing is, it's not too late to change that.  Hopefully, with this inward approach, it'll still be a memorable vacation rather than an enormous waste of money.


  1. For the first time in a long time.... I am speechless. Tsk Tsk :(. That sucks.

  2. go bagiuo, vigan, ilocos, etc...out of town escapades might be a good idea...kiks