JULY 15, 2017

Missing Summer


It’s summertime in Korea. The heat is intense. Humidity is high. The rain pours every now and then. Shivering in cold for three-quarters of a year, many locals look forward to the only time of the year where they can wear light and comfy clothes. Families flock to the beach, water parks, riversides, and malls to escape the heat. It truly is a fun season for many.

Though there are many activities to do and places to visit in Korea during summer, I still couldn’t help but be envious of my friends and family back home because just as they always say, it’s more fun in the Philippines. The beaches are the best in the world, the food is definitely delicious and tasty, and the people are more warm and friendly. Looking at my friends’ posts on Facebook makes me miss my childhood summer experiences.

When we were kids, we would go down from the mountains of Baguio to Bicol Province, south of Luzon to visit our grandparents every summer. I still vividly remember my excitement every time we would take the eighteen-hour bus ride from the north to the south to see my Lolo and Lola. Exhausting as it was, the anticipation to spend time with cousins, to go swimming in the beach, to climb trees and harvest fruits and just lazing around to breathe fresh air overtook the tiredness that the long travels had brought. 

Oh, summertime was one of the best times when we were kids (next to Christmas and New Year).  It was a time to take a break from arduous schoolwork. It was a time to bask under the sun, get a good tan and eat really good Bicol delicacies like laing and Bicol Express, and of course fresh seafood that we don’t get to enjoy up on the mountains. And of course, it was a time to catch up and bond with relatives and friends who we don’t get to see for the rest of the year. Until now, I could still recall the smiles on my grandparents’ face, seeing their children gathering around them, and their grandchildren running around and filling their house with laughter. We would all go home with extra money in our pockets, sumptuous food for ‘baon’, and wonderful and precious memories to bring.  The memory of my Lola’s face filled with tears when it was time for us to leave still remains in my mind.

But as we grew older and my grandparents became weaker, things began to change. The summer we used to enjoy turned from extraordinary to ordinary. Summer vacations became summer classes.  We all led our own lives. The hustle and bustle of life consumed us. Summers just weren’t what they used to be anymore. What remains of summer were memories, beautiful and wonderful.

Now, we have our own families. We live thousands of miles away from each other. And we live in different time zones and seasons. My husband and I have resolved to make summer fun, despite the heat and frequent rains. We would bring our daughter out to run in the park, play and get wet in the fountains.

I long for her to experience the summer I used to love and enjoy. I wish that she would have the chance to spend precious time with her grandparents and cousins. I am hoping that she will experience summer in the Philippines like I did. But even if she won’t, I know that she will have her share of beautiful memories to make and stories to tell.

Summer may not be the best time of the year here in Korea because of the intense heat, high humidity and frequent rains, but it will always be one of the best times in my heart and memory.

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