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Location: Chicago, United States

I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

My eldest son yesterday during the Memorial Day holiday, while we are doing some barbequing at the back yard, said to me that he is really serious with his girlfriend. Said he will go to Florida next month to visit her and be introduced to the family of the girl. My son told me he will be there for at least six days, getting to know everybody because the girl's parents are both divorced and have their own family now.

I was asking my son if this is final -- and he told me that he is now really sure that this is the girl that he wanted to be with for the rest of his life.

So, this coming Fall, I will take my final vacation for this year and will be in Hongkong with my wife and we will be buying the engagement ring in preparation for the big event of his proposal. He will not tell us when, but my son told me it will be next year.

This evening, he passed by the house on his way to his apartment and checked with me and his mom. He said he was tired and will just go home to his own apartment and crash there. He gave me a big hug, while I was on my lounge chair reading my favorite book and whispered in my ears that he loves me very much. Then he went to his mom's room and did the same thing. I cannot ask him to stay a little bit longer, offered him some dinner because I still have lots of food from yesterday's cook out, but he said he just want to go home and rest.

He said he just stop by to check on us because he might not be able to pass by the house tomorrow and see us leave for our vacation to Vancouver, BC. He just told me and his mom, to just kiss all his cousins and his paternal uncle and aunt for him.

I don't know, Auntie Patti Koh -- I think when a person is getting old, one becomes sentimental and wanted to cling on to their children. I guess my boys are from a different culture and upbringing. They were both born here in the states and have been too Caucasian all the way. But Pinoy culture of love and respect is still inherent in them. What else can I say.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Dear Aunti Patti Koh,

My eldest son surprised us last tuesday and told me and my wife that he is bringing along his girlfriend to the house for dinner and to be formally introduced to us by him.

Both myself and my wife was surprised about it, because we did not know that my sone has a serious girlfriend. We both knew that he does not have a serious girlfriend, much more so a girl who lives in New Jersey, from another state from our home. My son told us that the girl has already flown in from New Jersey last Monday and is with him at his apartment.

I told my wife, we will just wait and see. Life is full of surprises, so I told my wife and our son is one of those type of person who always wanted to surprise me and his mother.

So -- I have to prepare for dinner. I cooked spanish cuisine and gave all my best to what I have to serve for dinner come thursday evening. I told my wife, we will use the setting that I gave her on our 15th wedding anniversary. I prefer something special for the girl.

And so thursday came --- I made Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), and enchilada con jicama y mangga con avocado with sesame oil and red wine vinegar. The the apetizer is carne azada in a bed of boston lettuce, the main course was Arroz a la Paella con Valencia and the dessert was Leche flan.

The table setting was superb, including the wine and the smell and atmosphere of the entire house. It was only family -- myself, my wife, my youngest son and my eldest son together with his girlfriend. The dinner conversation was so nice, we never asked the girl about her family and what kind of family background and schooling she has. I told my wife we have to give our son privacy concerning his girlfriend. The girl is pure Irish, and thank God, she is also of the same religion like us.

After coffee was served, my wife handed the girl two sets of pearl bracelets in a brocaded silk chinese pouch as a parting gift. She was very please and appreciative about it.

The next day, my son called me up and told me that he is serious with this girl. So I asked him, if we have to prepare for an engagement ring. He did not say anything and I just heard a heavy sigh on the other end of the line.

So, Auntie Patti Koh -- I already told my wife that we have to be prepared for the wedding of our son. He will surprise us again, I am sure when he will tell us that he is engaged and is going to be married.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

I am off from work today, thank God I have sometime off to recover from so many ailing and angry airline passenger.

As you well know, I work for an airline and I am sitting on a telephone call center dedicated to all the complaints of passengers regarding their lost bags and what not. Needless to say, I get all sorts of passengers, but I don't know if they come in different size, shape and color.

I always come across our Kababayan who travels from back home and their BalikBayan boxes or their suitcases is either missing or gets delayed. I have come across one particular passenger, who was very nice, at the onset of the call and the conversation. She was telling me she originated from Manila then has to change plane in San Francisco, making San Francisco her port of entry, then she took the last leg of her flight into the airline that I work with. Nice lady -- she was telling me that the bag carries lots of "Pasalubong" for her grandchildren and her children. She was very nice about it, even the bag is missing for the last 13 days already. It is good there is no perishable item inside the bag.

Because this lady is very nice, I told her I will go out of my way and call back to the Philippines and ask help from her first carrier. So I did, and I was able to speak to some of our Kababyan back home. My friends on the phone and we help each other's problem. I told these Kababayans, that I have a feeling that this bag of Aling Simang (not her real name) is still with this airlines warehouse in Sam Francisco, and asked them if they could call or send some meters to their office and look for the bag, since I cannot get intouch with them from my end. They did located the bag, that same afternoon it was transferred to my airline and was then reunited with Aling Simang at around 8:30Pm pacific time. Before the bag gets delivered, I call Align Simang and was able to talk to the husband and advised the husband to wait for the bag. He was so polite and very appreciative for what I have done.

Nice people, that I went out of my way to assist and help solve their problem and locate their bag.

At around 1:30am (central time) I got a call form this woman. I immediately felt the Pinay 'twang, although she was trying to hide it. So, thinking that I can make her feel at home, I started talking to her in Tagalog, since I am gaited at the iternational calls and all of us speaks many different languages in the department and we are all allowed to talk to any passenger in their native tongue, if need be.

So this Pinay asked me, still in English, how come I immeidately knew that she is a Pinay. I said after working on the phone for a long time, I could immediate;y recognize a Kababayan when they speak. I hae said it in a very nice way.

Eto nah! She started giving litanies of her travel, how she was treated and finally said to me " I am using a VUSA, do you know what a VUSA is?" She then continued to talk and said, "it is so hard to get visa back home to come to the States and I will still go and travel to Canada". then she continued on, in a very Matrona like tone of voice, "I want you to see to it that you people deliver my bag tonite, we will just go out for dinner and donot fail to deliver the bag tonite, I am on a tight schedule, for I am heading out to Canada".

I just kept on listening, until she started to talk and be smart with me on the phone like my salary and pension is at the palm of her hand. I have to cut her off and told her that I will my best to get her bag delivered to her, if not tonite, maybe the next morning. Then she said in a very arrogant tone of voice, still in English, "Listen!, I am the one paying for your salary and the customer is always right, and what I am telling you --- you need to follow it to the letter, do you understand me?"

I was so intimidated from how this woman talk and command herself on the phone, so I immediately answered her in a mocking tone of voice (I don't care if the conversation is being recorder)...." Oh, I am sorry you are the one payng for my salary.... but that was very odd, I just received my paycheck this afternoon, and I did not see your name and signature in my paycheck!".

And so Dear Auntie Patti Koh, eto na naman ako, sa iyo. Sometimes, some of our Kababayans, (not all) but some, when they come to the states, it is as if they are the best thing that ever happened in this country when they came on a VUSA travel (Visit USA).I was asking myself, "is this woman going to overstay and join the rally of un-documented alien for recognition, or just simply going to tour the US and Canada as a PrimaDonna!. 'Dios Ko Day!"

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I was advised by my doctor to refrain from eating lots of fatty food and lessen my salt. He said it is bad for my cholesterol. I was given medication (ZOCOR) to take care of my cholesterol problem. But one thing bad that he asked me to do is to stop eating avocado, especially the one that I scrape and mix it with milk and splenda.

He said that avocado is high in cholesterol also. For awhile, I thouhgt it was just plain and simple truth that the mexican and latinos make a puree of it, looking like something that small babies did, and smells bad. It is called avocado guacamole. I don't eat that kind of thing --- the looks of it makes me think of things that I dont want to think.

There are some recipes also that is mixed with chunks of avocado and mix with green salad. It is looking good also and I like it.

Some of my friends here, especially the Latina friends of mine at work does not believe me that the avocado is considered a fruit in the Phils. This is considered a veggie in the states, and tomato is a fruit. I told them that avocado can be made into ice cream, and they made faces and said that that seems yukky. So one time, I made the avocado shake and have frozen some of it in the ice cube maker, then I took it home to work. I explained to them to taste a little bit of it, and since it is on cube type, if they dont like it, just throw it away. But when they have tasted it, they want some more of it.

The avocado here, is small and purple in color, but the meat is very nice and there's not much fibers, compared to those that we have in the Phils. I told them also, that sometimes in our province, when avocado is so abundant, it is being given as food for pigs. Of course they will not believe me also. I described to them that the avocado back home is elongated and green in color and there are also purple in color.

I can't understand, Auntie Patti Koh ---- why some people here are so squeamish about how some of the fruits in the Phils. looks like and how we use it. But when I asked them to try the avocado shake, now I am being asked to make it very often.

Oh well!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

It is supposedly spring time. I have done my spring cleaning, removed all the junk and garbage from the basement and seeded the front lawn with new grass seeds and trim the apple trees and the hedges on the side of the house.

I thought it was and will be a continuing nice and good weather, until this week -- there is lots of rain and the temperature is really dropping and it is very cold. I have to bring out my winter jacket again from the basement closet and use again the heater for the house.

It is sooooo cold!!!

Right now, it is raining, with strong wind. There goes all my tulip flowers. The flowers from the apple trees at the back has been blown contineously on the ground and maybe the buds will not bear fruit or fruits.

I have given a trim to my dog Misty.My little Bichon Frisce, and now I cannot take her for a walk outside because of the cold weather. She will not wear her winter wear to walk outside. So, she will be stuck up inside the house for awhile.

I am off today, and this will not be a good day off. The weather sock!

So Dear Auntie Patti Koh, sometimes I feel like going back to Pinas and settle there but my wife said, when I am back home, I will be complaining about hot and humid weather. Is it just man's nature to complain?

Monday, May 08, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I work in a predominantly female surroundings. I love them all, in the most Platonic ways of course. And they really come in different shapes and sizes.

There are women in my department that is so big, without exaggeration, that they cannot fit in an office chair that has a handle. They need to sit on a chair that does not have handles on it. I have friends that will make any man loose his mind and pant like a dog when they are near to you. The body's shape is really something, not to mention the frontal view of their body, that is really a knock out.

There are women in my department, that you don't want to come closer, unless you are wearing a gas mask or an oxygen mask. The smell is really soemthing. I don't know if it is coming from their feet, the rear entry hole or in their pundenda. I cannot stand the smell when some of this women passes by while I am on the phone listening to our passengers.

Some women, are very brave and very callous in what they wear and how they look like infront of other people. There are women who are so big , but still insists of wearing so tightly fitted dresses that sometimes I feel embarrass just lookign at them.

My wife is telling me not to be critical to these women. I told my wife, I am not critical of them --- I am their friend and I am close to them.

That is the reason, Auntie Patti Koh, I am so close to these women at work, because there are only four of us male in the department where I work. I have no choice but to be close to them --- I am overpowered at work.

And they really come in sifferent shapes and sizes --- and smell too!


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I work for a major airlines in Chicago, and our office is sitauted/located near the runway of the busiest airport in the world.

The runway is being re-configured and additonal ones has been made and the security of the peripheral has been given more security and better work.

Before the runway was re-configured and other works done at the runway, in our parking lot, at night or early in the morning, in my case at 2:00am, when I walk to my car at the parking lot, I always sees lots of animals prawling around the area. These are harmless creatures and in fact always gets scared of people when they saw us.

Deers abound the area, grazing on the grass at the bans of the parking lot. Then there are scunks, the most hated creature because of their smell and ferocious odor once the animal sprayed you with it. Not to mention the bunny rabbits, that is scattered all over the lawn, including the landscape area of our building. There are raccoons and squirrels and of course the coyote, which always makes some of the girls scream and yell out loud when they encounter this animal within the parking lot.

In general, the whole area is really a haven for so many creatures. But now, I can only see the bunny rabbit around the area of the parking lot. I miss these animals.

It is because, Auntie Patti Koh, the government needs more space for the landing strip and they don't care about the habitat of these poor creatures. The city said this is progress and they cannot help it. In fact on the other side of the airport, western strip of it, they are going to relocate an old cemetery that has been there long before the airport was built. The city is suing the airport and blocking the proposed movement and relocation of the cemetery and its lonely inhabitants.

Oh well!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

Last week, the brother of my friend arrived in the states. He was petitioned by his American girl friend, who has been in the Phils. three times for the past two years. This girl was so enamored by this guy. The girl is 25 years old and boy is 21 years old.

The girl is a German, French stock and the boy is a pure breed pinoy from Cebu city. A young, robust and dark skinned, typical young man from the south.

I have invited them for dinner at the house, together with my friend and his wife, so as not to make it look like that I was trying to check on the fiance of the brother of my friend.

During the course of the dinner, we were talking and getting some inputs from the two love birds on their intentions on how they want their wedding to be celebrated and be done. The girl wanted a garden wedding, at the backyard of her girl friend and her best friend. She is a Pentecostal and he is a Roman Catholic. The girl does not want a joint ceremony, but only wants the pure Pentecostal wedding ceremony. (I hope nobody will speak in different tongues and starts wiggling and shaking during the ceremony).

I was telling the brother of this kid, who is my best friend, that it is customary in the U.S. that the girl takes care of her wedding and the groom takes care of the rehearsal dinner with the family of the girl and the family of the groom and their wedding entourage. Myself and my wife was invited for the dinner rehearsal.My best friend said they dont have family in the States. It was only him and this youing man who is about to get married next month, June 24 to be exact. ON the insinuation of my best friend, him and his wife considers my and my wife as part of their family and wants us to be part of the rehearsal dinner. My wife agreed to it easily and I still have to see if I can be off on that particular day.

There is a big problem though. According to my best friend, her future sister in law is so domineering and trying to overshadow and underestimate the fiance. The girl demands that the fiance be baptized first as a Pentecostal before they get married. The boy said that he will and have already agreed on all the demands of the girl, but will never give into her demands that he be baptized as a Pentecostal.

And so dear Auntie Patti Koh ---- if the two are really in love with each other, so I told my best friend, religion should not be the issue. The greatest issue is getting married and live a happy married life. That is my fear for my two boys also. Their girlfriends are from a different faith. The girls are Jewish.

I think, I will watch the Passion of Christ no stop, if any of my boys gets married to a Jewish girl.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I was off from work today. It was a very nice day -- not so cold, even I was near the lake. I have to meet my best friend and we had lunch together within the area and vicinity of the great Northwestern University.

I love walking around this area. We call the entire area -- the Northshore. I live in the farthest end of the Northshore area and it is really very beautiful during this season of the year.

The whole neighborhood is enveloped with so many Tulips, in different colors and shades. My Tulips bulbs has already came out. It is crimson red. And I love it very much.

Driving along the Sheridan road, at the Northshore area, I have passed by houses with their well manicured lawns and well trimmed trees. The Mexicans are now starting to do their chores of cleaning and trimming the trees in the neighborhood. I do mine. In fact, I was cutting the grass at my front lawn with my dog Misty and did some trimming of my three apple trees at the back yard. I don't need to hire any help to do my lawn. It is an additional expense in the budget.

While driving along the historic Sheridan road, I have noticed that all the Tulips bulb has already bloom. There ia bright yellow, with tips of whitish color. There is a reddish color, with a mix of yellow on the side. There is the shocking color puple and mix with yellow and white Tulips. It was so fantasmagorical to look at. There is is yellow combine with white Tulips and then bordering hedges of green. It was so pleasing to the eyes.

Auntie Patti Koh..... I feel like singing the theme song of the movie Sound of Music. I just don't have the nun's habit to go with it, plus there is no mountain to run around. It was a very nice day, plus I was able to have lunch with my best friend and we were able to talk and share more stories on what is happening with ourselves and our families. We have not seen each other for a long time.