There are some things that really cross culture and language boundaries. It is so interesting being in a place where so many things are so very different, and yet finding similarities that I can attach myself to, thus creating a bond with the people here.
Singing. The Filipino culture loves to sing. They particularly love Karaoke. While I am no singer, and not really a fan of Karaoke – there is a joy that comes in singing and listening to others.
Tears. The women here face many hardships. They are abused, forgotten, taken advantage of. They have left their families, hoping to help provide a better life for those left behind with what they can make here and send home. Even though their cause is noble, homesickness strikes even the strong. And sometimes, tears are the only way to express the hurt of loss.
Laughter. I have no idea what is going on around me most of the time. There are so many languages that I am exposed to every day, Cantonese, Mandarin, DeGala, Bahasa – there are times when someone will translate for me what is being said, but I usually spend most of the time in the dark – trying to pick out words that I recognize, or that sound like sometime I know. But even though I can’t understand their words, when people laugh, I can’t help but join in. Laughter is contagious and it warms the lonely places of the heart.
Worship. I have now attended Mass twice in the Filipino church. I had never attended Mass in English – so experiencing it for the first time in another language was really beautiful. Again, I had no idea what was going on most of the time. But when everyone around me would kneel, or pray, or sing – I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
A smile. I am turning into the girl that smiles and nods, hoping I’m not agreeing to give away my first born child. Yet again, something so simple, a smile from a stranger or a co-worker, says they understand I am lost; says that its ok if I don’t understand what is going on; says – in time, you’ll get it.
Richard Marx. Yeah, I said Richard Marx. Today I am at the BH – working with the women on cross-stich Christmas cards to sell at the Christmas bazzar next month. (side note: cross-stiching? Not one of my spiritual gifts. My star looked more like a sailboat.) While we were working and chatting, someone put on a Richard Marx cd, and when the song “Right Here Waiting” came on – everyone starting singing. Even the Indonesian women who only knew greetings in English. They knew every word to that song. And so we sang and stitched, stitched and sang. Twice through – because, well, you can’t listen to Richard Marx just once!