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Monday, August 15, 2005

The Texture of People

On Thursday night my grandparents arrived from Florida as part of a surprise Birthday present for my Dad. They stayed with us all day Friday, relaxing, sleeping, and eating. Saturday morning they drove up to Azusa to officially surprise my Dad. My dad was out flying when they arrived. When he got back from the airport and walked in the door, he found grandma and grandpa wandering around the house as if they had been there all week. He stared at them, blinked, and said, "You pulled a fast one on me!"

Meanwhile, I was at a fabulous babyshower for Sam and Rosie Bills at a park in Pasadena. Becca, Steve, and their two cute boys were back from the mission field, Regina was back from her trips around the world, and Sam and Rosie's friends from college came from different parts of Southern California. There were so many pregnant women, at times I felt like I was moving through a sea of bellies.

We had delicious scones and muffins to eat provided by Natalie and Regina. Steve went face first into a diaper of fake baby poop (aka melted Snickers), and Dwayne won two gift certificates for shooting a marshmellow out of his nose further than anyone else. All very entertaining.

After the Babyshower, Dwayne and I drove back to Azusa for my Dad's 50th birthday party. He suspected something was up after grandma and grandpa showed up, but he had no idea that over 30 Filipino friends were arriving to celebrate.

My dad grew up in the Philippines until he was fourteen years old. Since then many people who attended the Bible School in Rosales where my granparents taught have immigrated to Los Angeles. These people remember my father as a little kid.

We ate delicious filipino food such as chicken adobo - brown sauce and chicken so tender it falls off the bone, lumpia - a crispy cousin to the egg roll but more delicious, ponsit - a fun noodely dish, and puto- a white squishy ball of joy in your mouth.

After all the wonderful food everyone gathered in the backyard. The the older people shared stories about my father. It was amazing to hear. I've never known much about my father's childhood. They told stories about how he used to ride around the campus on a blue bicycle singing at the top of his lungs "How Great Thou Art." How he and his buddies used to shimmy up the forbidden guava trees and eat all the guavas. And my favorite story was about how my Dad and a couple buddies got in trouble and were sent down to the altar to pray. The adults prayed over them fervently. Afterwards, my dad leaned over to one of his friends and whispered "Did you really get sanctified?"

Stories like these filled the evening. Another woman, who had taught my father as a boy, shared how she and my grandmother worked to help my Dad overcome his dislexia. She was so proud when a few months back, she picked up a bulletin from APU and saw that my dad had been hired as the Dean of the School of Theology.

A final special touch to the evening was a gold book written in caligraphy with notes from friends and family who could not celebrate with my Dad.

Tomorrow Dwayne and I leave at 4:30 am for Nova Scotia Canada for his sister's wedding. This will be the first time he's seen his parents in over two years. During that time they have been living in Rwanda. I know there will be lots of tears, laughter, and fellowship this next week.

There's a theme in all of these stories, just beneath the surface. Something about family, friends, and reunions. I'm too tired to make it sing, but perhaps you see it too - the texture of people, the tenderness of knowing one another, the rhythm of absence and the joy of presence.


Anonymous Sarah F said...

Christin, how beautiful to think that we never know who from our past may show up and share in our current life. There's comfort in knowing that although I don't see you in the ebb and flow of every day, you are there in L.A. and still share a piece of my life from the past. As I flew into LAX a month ago, I kept staring at every apartment building, wondering if it was yours and trying to picture you and Dwayne in your everyday life now. I can't tell you how painful it was to keep flying and not get the chance to share a slice of that life. Maybe another day I'll get the privilege.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

Nova Scotia--I'm jealous! You won't be too far from Nate & Tiff! (in New Brunswick) So close and yet so far! They're still at BBC and I'm sure would love to hear from you. 506.433.2859

Marcia W.

2:11 PM  
Blogger pk said...

I enjoy your mix of life updates and writing for the sake of writing. You make words sing without even realizing it.

Have a great trip! And thanks for the photos.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Em said...

I love your words about family, Tin. PK was right, you do make words sing. I wish I could have been there for Sam and Rosie's babyshower (tell them I say hi) and for Uncle David's party. The Filipino food sounds delicious! ;)

10:16 PM  
Blogger Ken Schenck said...

Glad the party was a success! Coach keeps talking about how we'll convince your Dad to come back here and be Dean of IWU's "School of Theology" whenever it happens one day!

You're such a great writer!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Josh Garlow said...

Great meeting/re-meeting you guys at the shower. I'm sure we'll run into eachother again soon.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Nancy Campbell said...

Christin, how fun! Oh how I would love to have been at the shower. You all seem so close in my heart but too far away to hug. Thank you for keeping me updated on your life!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

It's great to hear what you guys are up to, wish that Hawaii and Cali weren't so far away...we kind of leapfrogged you guys, didn't we?

Enjoy Atlantic Canadian summer for me, please...August is my favorite New Brunswick month...pack some sweaters for the perfectly cool evenings.

I didn't realize how much I missed HOME until your mere mention of it...thanks!

12:53 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

8:28 PM  

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