Friday, December 24, 2004

Hello, Saori (reprised)

Dear Saori,

My family usually sleeps through Christmas morning. We're often too tired from all the before-Christmas preparations. After attending the midnight mass to honor the birth of Jesus, we wind up eating, passing around presents and going to sleep at 3:00 a.m. (4:00 a.m. on your clock). It's pretty much the same, I think, for most middle class families living in the Metro-Manila area.
In the provinces, it's a little different. There is a service (or mass depending on the type of Christianity the Filipino observes) and usually a dance or party that is open to the community. At least, this has been my observation of one province.

Dancing and shows are still big in the rural areas, partly because the nearest shopping mall is far, far away. The communities are more tightly knit, because they literally have to depend on each other to make a livelihood. They have few activities outside of agriculture, the market, school or tending to livestock. They welcome any reason to celebrate and break the routine of the day-to-day activity. The influence of the city, though, is causing mini-malls, bars, coffee shops and Internet cafes to appear like mushrooms in the areas that border the can expect that some of our province-based countrymen will spend Christmas in one of those.
I am glad your father is getting better.

[My cousin] is spending time at our other cousin's home. I'm sure she misses you and she will be happy to hear that you and your father are fine.

I would appreciate seeing those pictures you mentioned. Perhaps one day I'll go to Japan to see the cherry blossoms fall for myself. In the meantime, I'm saving my imaginary money for a trip to China, to climb the mountains and visit the temples I've only seen in movies and dreams.

Do have a merry Christmas, Saori-san.


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