The Brighter Experience

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These are things I never thought a catastrophe would let me experience. After the calamity, our days would always begin as early as 5:30 in the morning, or as long as the sun has already shined through our windows. By that time, my family and I, as well as my neighbors, are already up and awake busying ourselves for breakfast. Soon after, we would all huddle in the dining table and gulp on hot drinks together with a simple hot meal. My father would later go to work while we do the house chores which usually consist of the laundry, the dishes and the home cleaning. Since our province’s electricity is still under the mend, we do all the chores manually. Doing the laundry is tiring but is fun and refreshing at the same time since I get to dip my hands in cold water during a sunny electric fan or aircon-less day. Cleaning the house isn’t much of a problem either. Because we often don’t stay inside due to the temperature, there’s always less clutter. Cooking is also fun. We often cook traditionally even if we still have LPG because LPG supplies in Leyte were limited. At first, it was really hard to build a fire. My sisters and I often get teary-eyed because most of the smoke goes to our eyes, but through practice and my mom’s patient guidance, we got better. In the afternoon, when the sun’s heat strikes the most, we often stay in the living room with the windows and the sliding doors open. We would turn our battery-operated radio on and listen to the music or news or simply talk about anything under the sun. When the sun is about to set, we would build a fire again. I tell you, the cooking experience outside is really best at night. Numerous fireflies would float about near the almost leafless trees around us. There’s also the bright full moon together with the star-studded evening sky which constantly keeps the night visible. While waiting for the food to cook and for my father to arrive, we would all chat happily once again. Then, we would have a nice and warm candle-lit dinner. After washing the dishes, and listening to music or news updates on the radio, we would finally sleep in the boys’ room, the only room in the house where the cool night breeze passes through, at about 8 PM. Indeed, I never thought that our lives as survivors would be this productive, interesting and positively memorable.

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