Papa, I’m Going to Europe!

It’s hard to begin writing to you. I don’t know where to start. Guess I want to say, I miss you. It’s been ten years since you passed away. I never thought I could overcome the grief. Eventually, with Mama’s guidance and the Bible, I did. I always thought you were the best, guess I always will. Yup, it’s from a song. But it’s true. I will always look up to you.

I remember when I was still little, I would see pictures of you on a gray coat, white shirt and gray slacks pants, standing in front of a majestic high rise building. You were all smiles. Then I remember another picture of you standing in front of a pagoda wearing a comfy looking sweater. You were so proud of telling me all the time whenever I asked where were those pictures taken. You would say, “Japan”. After twenty years when I began working in the government, I had the chance to go to India also with an office mate like what you did. This time for a Student Exchange Programme. I saw the Taj Mahal and took millions of photos of it and it with me, all smiles just like you. I realized then why you were smiling so wide on those photos.

One of your closest friends was an Australian diplomat stationed in our country for an international organization. Eldest Brother always tells me that you often took him to your friend’s house, a condominium unit with a pool. With maids. And the pool had lights on the floor. The maids served Eldest Brother and Elder Brother cold juices while they swam.

You also had another friend, an African American pop singer.

Your dream was to go to Mexico and see the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. You were  reading about Her all your life. You had dreamt about Her once and since then you became a believer of her precious grace. You always wanted to see the spot where San Diego found Her. You always wanted to go to Mexico. You never had the chance.

Maybe because I grew up seeing you having the time of your life with friends of different skin colors. Maybe because I grew up with our house filled with paintings of places and by artists of other continents. Maybe because you respected everyone and had never looked down on any of them based on who they were or where they came from. Maybe because you were laughing your way on life. Maybe because you knew what each country’s flag look like. Maybe these are the things why I am who I am today.

In a couple of months I’ll be going to Europe. I will be having the time of my life. I will be taking pictures with friends of different skin colors. I will be marveling at the paintings of artists who speak different languages. I will be breathing freely on a society that will respect me for who I am. I will be laughing so hard. And as I look at the evening sky, at the stars, I will be talking to you in prayer. Maybe you have an internet connect up there. Visit my journal.

Thank you for teaching me how to love the earth in its entirety, how to love everyone regardless of race and color, how to have fun in life everywhere in the world, how to marvel at the wondrous beauties of our humanity, how to smile.

I hope I’m making you proud. Papa, I’m going to Europe!

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