Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Georgia On My Mind

two glazed doughnuts, a banana, and ice cold water.

that's what i just had for breakfast-- after walking about two or three miles around the community with my sister, Honey.

it's quite a change from my usual big breakfast fare in Bacolod of rice, eggs, meat or fish, and Tipco juice.

but, i guess, ironically, in a land of (excess) food Abundance, i am learning to scale down.

i eat only an average of two meals a day now. each meal is quite big enough, with really large servings. i am not able to fully digest one before another one comes along.

one time, Mama brought us to Atlanta Bread Company, a fastfood place, really, and also serving soups, salads and sandwiches. each of us ordered their Half-and-Half special (half soup, half salad; or half salad, half sandwich), and it was good, like all food here seem to be. but we couldn't finish our Half-and-Halves even... that's how big the servings are.

Honey and i joke around that we love it here-- we get to fit into Petite sizes (when we're Large and even Extra-Large back home!) and we look slim and dainty compared to the huge number of men and women here who not only fill up their clothes, but even overflow them, if not for their wearing really huge tent-size shirts and pants and dresses!

the other day, Carmen, Mama's assistant in shipping the butterlfy wings products, took us to Stonecrest Mall and treated Honey and i to three Victoria's Secret panties each (which were on sale for 3 for $30). we couldn't decide which sizes we were as the flimsy, lacey and silky panties all looked almost the same size. we asked the ample saleslady which size she thought we were, and she looks us over briefly and declared, "i think you'd fit into Small!"

oohhhh, women's heaven!!! : ) : ) : )

***

Georgia is beautiful, pleasant, with an old-worldish charm, a slow-paced lifestyle(compared to L.A., our brief layover, and Hong Kong, what we know of New York, etc.), with lots of trees and greenery all around-- a lot like Bacolod and Silay.

for our 12 days here, we have only gone to CNN and downtown, a lake named Blalock, and looked over the beautiful houses in the newer, upscale side of Atlanta in Peachtree City. most of the places we go to are the food and grocery shops-- Publix, Costco, the smaller convenience stores-- as those are the only places Mama can only go to these days now. With her thrice-weekly dialysis sessions, she gets easily tired. so, it's her friends who take turns taking us to the other places.

i have yet to visit the Martin Luther King, the Margaret Mitchell and Gone with the Wind Museums, as well as Stone Mountain Park and Six Flags.

as in Bacolod, im not really into the mall and pop culture touristy spots like the Coca Cola Museum; im more into the arts and culture and history sites, as well as the nature sites.

Honey and i plan to learn and master the MARTA (train and bus system), but we haven't gotten around to it yet. we are still enjoying just basically staying at home with mama, talking, cooking (i know the basics now! yippee!!!), doing housework (i am discovering that i love washing best, particularly dishes, laundry-- anything that gets my hands into water!), talking long walks, meditating (me, while Honey prays), working on the pc (me, mostly), massaging mama... just bonding with mama and each other again as women now, something we never got to do while we were growing up.

***

we live in East Point with mama and our stepdad, Larry, at Ben Hill Road, in an older community. Larry is a big boss at the school board. we like him. he is quiet and wise, gentle but firm, and funny, too. like the father everyone should have.

there are a lot of black people here, as Atlanta is 60% black. but, unlike the tv and movie stereotypes, they are educated-looking, conservatively dressed, polite and friendly.

same with the white people, too. by the way.

***

we only got a whiff of L.A. culture in our layover at the airport, but immediately, one could tell the difference. there was an over-casualness and informality there, while here, upon landing at Hartsfield Airport, we could immediately sense the more conservative and formal atmosphere of the people and Atlanta.

***

i like it here. the weather is very similar to Philippine weather. and the lifestyle fits my own preferences and needs, too.

except for the excess food everywhere, that is.

every time i eat with others, and there are still huge leftovers which just get thrown away--and this, after one or two more meals eating the leftovers--i feel sad, because i remember our folks and street kids back home, who barely have enough to feed themselves one decent meal a day.

when i get assigned to throw the leftovers into the trash bin, i am careful to wrap them separately and cleanly-- just in case some hobo somewhere gets into our trash and finds our leftover food for his/her own need, although i haven't seen any hobo yet.

***

Mama wants at least one of us to stay here longer with her, but we can't. Honey has only a month or so on leave from her tv hosting job, while i have to get back to my book launch and other projects.

but, we're also open to the idea of maybe coming back again soon. we have 10-year-multiple-entry visas after all.

we'd like to come back with our children and family next, though. we'd like them to see the sights we see, experience the experiences we live here, and realize for themselves, too, how, the world is really so much bigger, wider, and more abundant than how we've been conditioned to live it so far, way back home.

***

now, if only there's a way to ship the "leftovers" (i would rather call them excess food, in the first place, produced too much and over and above what people really need) here to the rest of the world out there, too.

life would be so much better.
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