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The whole family (me, Mom, sister, brother-in-law and their three kids, plus my Dad's only sister, who is unmarried) were returning from a five-day visit to Tacloban City, where we joined the annual clan reunion on my mother's side.
We flew out two days after Christmas, and returned on New Year's Eve. Aunts and cousins were convincing us to stay through New Year, but no one was prepared to greet 2020 away from home.
The first flight out is always best to avoid delays. However...
The typhoon (Ursula) that pummeled Eastern Visayas before Christmas must've backed up flights because the airport was super slammed and it took us two hours to check-in on the way there!
So, the check-in and wait for departure was more than twice the length of the actual flying time.
Coming back, we were lined up at the airport an hour or so before they finally opened and allowed passengers to check-in. I dunno know why it took them forever to get started... The provincial pace, perhaps?
Both flights were uneventful. And because first flights required us to wake up very early, I slept as soon as I buckled up and awoke as we landed.
We were actually planning a trip to Japan in the summer, but COVID happened.
What I do recall was driving to a mall to buy cake for my sister's birthday in July last year. That was around the time when lockdowns were easing because of the supposedly improving situation.
But it wasn't really inside a mall because the bakeshop entrance was still outside the establishment. There were other errands after that but nothing that would have me enter a mall.
I didn't go Christmas shopping in 2019 (yeah, I've become a Scrooge haha, and because I hate crowds), but I guess it was during the third quarter of that year that I last stepped in some mall.
The last time I went promenading in a mall was maybe early 2019. It feels like ages ago...
Do I miss it? Not really. I miss going to my Sunday market more.
Unless there was something very specific that I need to get from a store that's inside a mall, I avoid the place. Or if I do go, it is at some odd time - just as it opens or some dead hour - so I can shop or walk around in peace.
Yes, I was already an adult, and it was so many years after running and bathing in the rain when I did.
First, it had to be hard rain, not just a shower that would end quickly.
Next it had to be continuous for at least 30 minutes. Why? We weren't allowed to go out right after the first downpour because you're catching acid rain. Not good for the skin or for our health.
We're blessed to have ample space around the house that would allow us to cavort and play with or without rain. At some point, we would be exposing ourselves because our gate is grilled, not some full steel door.
Still, who walks around under hard driving rain?
So, the last time I recall, and it is a hazy memory, I and my late sister braved the showers and took a bath under the rain. That means some running around first to enjoy getting wet without worrying, then standing under some spout to soap and shampoo.
There's a lot of shouting in glee, and due to the cold, when you play in the rain.
However, it is kinda difficult to get a proper bath under these circumstances.
For one, no one plays in the rain naked! Well, at least not if you're an adult (gasp!). Maybe small kids, if they were allowed to, would. But you at least need to be wearing shorts and a shirt. So, scrubbing with soap isn't as satisfying or thoroughly cleansing.
But rainwater is sort of slimy, so that should do the trick.
Second, you can't really stay long under the rain because it'll be cold and you could get sick. Thankfully, in all those occasions that we played under the rain, we never got the sniffles because someone would always be screaming at us to come in already.
Third, unless you have an outdoor bathroom, it's quite a challenge to get inside the house because you'd be dripping wet! Yeah, you can towel off but you'd still be wearing wet clothes while tromping to the bathroom.
Yes, I'd like to go one more round of playing under the rain, if possible.
Blame it on the Internet, and emails and messaging apps. Why labor on writing with a pen when you can easily type your message and shoot these out using the quickest ways possible so the recipient gets it real time?
But for anyone who's ever written letters by hand, and used snail mail to get it to some far away place, there is a thrill to the whole exercise. (Right @emily2u ?)
During that era when I was into letter writing, most of these were done on my bed. Not on a table, or a desk. On my bed, hunched up, or lying on my tummy, while carefully crafting a letter so I didn't have to make a mistake that needed erasing, or worse, to crumple the stationery and toss it to the trash can.
I used to love collecting stationeries and would spend both time and money in bookstores, selecting new arrivals that I could both use to send letters or just to keep.
It's the process that held so much sentimentality.
If you did this regularly, it was like talking to someone about how your life has been, any significant events that happened that you wished to share, or some juicy news that the other person would get a kick out of.
The actual writing can make your hand ache, depending on how you write. But after, when it's time to fold the paper, put it inside the envelope, seal the envelope and stick a stamp on it... this was very gratifying.
You'd accomplish something because there was time and effort involved.
At the post office, you slide it into the mailbox and feel a sense of anticipation. The letter will be flying off to its destination, and will be received by the other party, who will hopefully reply the same way.
For anyone who's been in constant communication via snail mail, there is always excitement to receive a handwritten letter. It never mattered if it was long or short. It was getting one from someone who also took the effort to do what you did that made it a joyful exercise.
I pity kids today who do not know how to pen a letter. It's so alien to them that you could communicate back and forth to someone, even if it took days or weeks to receive.
Actually holding a pen and putting down words on a paper is not only a chore for them, but it makes them anxious. "What do I write?" they wonder.
It's a lost art, but one that should be re-introduced, don't you think?
For those who've never done it, try writing at least one.