A fairly new-found friend messaged me the other day if we could meet up yesterday. It has been three months I think since I last saw her. Since it had already been that long and she offered to pick me up from my place and drop me off afterwards, I said yes in an instant. She also told me that we can just have lunch in his fiance’s place so that I can see the newborn baby.
It is not her baby by the way. Her fiance is living in a two-bedroom apartment and he is sharing it with one of his close friends who I’ve already met as well. Said friend has a family who also came here a month after he arrived. He has a wife and a two-year old son. Since his wife was 8 months pregnant then when they came here, they also brought in his mother-in-law to help them during his wife’s pregnancy and after she gives birth.
We were not able to push through yesterday since the family went out. My friend asked me if I am available in the evening since the family will come back in the afternoon but told her that unfortunately, I am not. So, we moved the supposed visit and meet-up the next day, which was earlier today.
We were still at the doorway when their friend’s 2-year old son run towards me. He was so excited to see me it was as if he had already seen me before. I gave the little boy a big smile and patted his little head before he ran back again to the living room. My heart melted as I know that a few years from now Aaron and I will have a little toddler that will run towards us when he catches even just a glimpse of us in the doorway. We followed him to the living room and it was only there that I saw how the atmosphere drastically changed with their friend’s family in there. I had been in their apartment once but it was more lively and much more home-like now compared before.
There was a stroller in the hallway, a crib near the window with the newborn baby sleeping in there, the Filipino Channel is playing on the TV and a wonderful, very Filipino aroma that’s coming from the kitchen. The baby is a month-old. She looks so fragile but so peaceful sleeping there, doing her own thing, not minding our noise. She is so cute but I did not dare touch her even though I badly wanted to.
It was the first time that I met the kids’ mother. She has a warm smile. After exchanging pleasantries, she told me about her recent labour experience. I will be having my labour in the same hospital that she did so to hear that she had a great birthing experience in there had a real reassuring and calming effect on me.
Nanay, who was the reason behind the lovely aroma that I smelled when I walked in the house, told us that lunch was already ready. She cooked some Lumpiang toge (spring rolls with vegetables and bean sprouts) and Pancit Canton (stir fried noodles with veggies and meat) which made me drool even more. I did not waste time and grabbed and ate one of the golden lumpias on the table. Oh how I missed that taste! I love Lumpiang toge and I remember it being my default snack when I was still working in the Philippines. But ever since I’ve read in the internet that I should be wary of any kind of sprouts especially undercooked ones now that I am pregnant, I steered clear of eating any bean sprouts from then on. So as I was eating the lumpia, I was also pulling away any bean sprouts that I was seeing. Nonetheless, it did not diminish the experience and happiness that I felt when I was eating it. I think I ate 3 in one go and I would have probably eaten more if I could still squeeze in more in my belly!
It was a simple Sunday lunch really and a simple gathering. There’s nothing much to it but what I loved most about it is that it definitely reminded me of home.