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Our daily life is full of simple things that just refresh our hearts and make us reflect, if only one has the time to stop for a second and look at them.
As I write my cleaning lady, a lovely Filipina woman called Maria who comes here every Saturday morning, is going about her duties while speaking to her (extended) family over Skype on her iPhone. I come out my study room to get some water and noticed she was trying to view her family on cam on her 3G connection, so I set her up to use the home wi-fi, so she can have better video quality and send hers too. I had a glimpse of her incoming video and the sight of lots of young people smiling, eating cake (they have some birthday celebration tonight) and playing with each other just refreshed me as much as it did to her.
The honesty, compassion and inner strength of these Asian Angels never stop to amaze me. Marie is 45 years old, a mom of 5 children who are all living in the Philippines, north of Manila, with her husband and the usual extended family of sisters and brothers, cousins and a theory of young children. Not being able to see her children for more than a few weeks every year must be the worst blow one can inflict to a Mom. Working 7 days a week to see their family's joy over the pixelated filter of Skype must feel like being forever in jail. And yet, like many ladies in her same conditions, she musters the courage and patience to do just that: work hard (and honestly), stand up to their breadwinning duties and continue to hope that, soon enough, they will reunite with ther families. "Dum spiro, spero", I will continue to hope for as long as I am breathing. This is what sums up the Heart of true Pinays like Maria.
I can still hear her speaking Tagalog in her usual upbeat and giggling ways. And, you know one of those rare moments where, if you only could have a special camera that takes pictures of your soul, you would see it "smiling"? This is one of them. It might sound a trivial thing to (over)hear a foreign lady talking to her children far away. But, you know, it's a Mother's love on display. It's nothing trivial, it's the most powerful feeling in the world, one that can crush the edifice of bitterness and cynicism we spoiled Westerners like to hide behind, and can literally move mountains. I have never been happier to be in awe for something seemingly so ordinary, and yet so big. And yes, I am proud to have met another good person in my life, her being a Filipino being a coincidence. Or maybe not...
These thoughts are for you, Maria, though you'll never read them. May life give you all the best you deserve and bring you and your family back together soon.
And chaps, feel free to look for your hot young Filipina brides. Just remember though that it's precisely when the feathers of youth and outer beauty fade, that a woman's good heart will shine through even brighter. And you will know, more than you do now, that that's the woman who blessed the rest of your existence.