16 november 1999 | back | archive | forward

in my head keeps floating an image of a little filipino girl selling seashell necklaces by the shore. i wrote her name in my journal, but i don't remember it. she was 8. i thought of her this past weekend, when i was in rosarito, mexico, passing children panhandling chicklets for spare change.

she was so sweet, this filipino girl. she was scrawny with stringy black hair that kept flopping into her eyes. she had a big smile with a front tooth missing. she held the basket in her arms, pulled out one of the handmade pieces and batted her eyelashes. i couldn't resist. i bought three bracelets and several rosaries to give as pasabulongs, or gifts.

"are you white?" she asked, in tagalog.

"no," i said, "i am filipino, but i live in america."

her face showed she was startled. "then why are you speaking english?"

because my parents wanted us to live a better life and brought us here when i was nine months old, i wanted to tell her.

she found a twig and did the math in the sand. i handed her the pesos, not nearly as much as the goods seemed worth, but slightly more than she was asking for. guilt always set in with these vendors when i realized i wasn't even spending the price of a café latte. she thanked me over and over again and ran happily to her mom, waiting yards away. a job well done.

one of the children in rosarito held a plastic cup in one hand and a box of gum in the other. when i dropped in 50 cents, she lifted the gum, motioning me to pick out a pack. when i nodded no (as in no, thank you), she looked puzzled and just stood there, waiting. she couldn't have been more than 5. i imagined her mother telling her to just walk up to anybody who passed by and hold her cup as high as she can. i thought of her going home to a small shack with a corrugated tin roof and thin plywood walls, many like i'd seen before.

i keep hearing his voice telling me what a child i've been, because i whine about all these problems that are really nothing. he did not say it nicely (he said it far from nicely), but there was truth in those words. i get spoiled and take so much for granted.

tonight, i will go home into my two-bedroom apartment, ten blocks from the beach. i will slide into my warm, flannel pajamas and turn on the heater if i'm cold. i will pop in three CDs in my CD player and then check my e-mail. i might read a book or watch some TV or maybe i'll just fiddle with webthings. then i will crawl into bed, underneath my fluffy, down comforter and close my eyes and pray, but instead of asking for all of these things that i have to have maybe i should give a prayer of thanks, because i already am one of the luckiest girls in the world.

fragment #45. the middle-class pig and a mean cup of hot cocoa.

ricky's coming to town tomorrow night. he's my brother. i love him.

i was so cranky yesterday and so unkind to so many people. if you are one of them (and you know who you are), i apologize, again.

cute things, like jotto.com and andreas lindkvist's stuff and avocadolite, although that last one is way more designy and cool than just cute.

germs are circulating this cubicle pod, and now my ears are slightly hurting. oh god, please don't make it an ear infection.

contact me:
send all e-mail to christine@maganda.org.