Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Market, To Market!

It was a typical morning on our first week on the other side of the globe. Jet lag caused us to be up at 5 a.m., to be done with breakfast at 6, and to be back from our morning walk by 7. But it was a Thursday, and there was a bustle in the house as Anda prepares for her weekly trip to the city market.

Market day had always been Thursday when I was growing up. There were a few occasions when my mother would bring us --generally when the housekeeper was on vacation. Then she'd have to take me and my brothers with her, drop us off at the vegetable vendor's stall, and do her marketing. I didn't realize that the sight and smells of the market had stayed with me until today.

The little one wanted to go on an outing, and the home educator in me took over. A trip to the market? Why not? She'd see where pork comes from, how calamari looks like before it gets a makeover, and tropical fruits that cost a bundle when shrink-wrapped at the local Safeway back home.

I didn't find anyone I knew from my youth, nor anybody who remembered me when I was younger. These were the next generation suki --my mother's regular vendors, her favorite stops at the market. These are the people, who, on Thursdays, would already set aside my mother's fish for the week; who would pick the best of the crop for her; who would never sell her old stock. These are the people who would receive pasalubong --souvenirs from my mother's overseas trips. These are the people who welcomed my little one today.

The market was just like I remembered it --wet, smelly, and filled with the banter of friendly negotiations. The little one smiled through the smells, and politely acknowledged all the greetings from my mother's suki. It was a trip to the market with her grandmother --a field trip 14,000 kilometers from home.

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