Manila: Dealing with Children

Tons of food eating today. For lunch, I had kare kare (oxtail in peanut butter stew), grilled pork and tilapia made by my grandparents. I really missed my Lola’s home cooking. Although I can cook some traditional Filipino foods at home, the technique and love that my grandmother puts into her cooking is irreplaceable.

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Yesterday was Helix’s 7th birthday (he’s my little cousin). To celebrate his birthday, his parents planned a party at McDonald’s then proceed to go to Fun Ranch, which is this gigantic playground/house. At McDonald’s there were about 40-50 people there. I haven’t been to a children’s party in a while, it’s a little scary. At McDonald’s after all the games are done, I had Filipino spaghetti and crispy chicken (yes they serve this here). I also had a caramel sundae, which I have not had FOREVER. It’s one of those guilty pleasures, since I don’t really go to McDonald’s anymore in the U.S.

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During the whole afternoon, I couldn’t help but respect these parents that have to deal with these crazy kids, especially the boys! The kids ranged from ages 5-8 and they are quite something. That something is close to violent. In my head, I’m a little worried. Here I am going to be a pediatric nurse, and I’ll be dealing with kids and I have no idea how. Yes, although I’m the eldest sibling and had dealt with my little brothers for many years, I have nothing compared to the patience that these parents exhibited. I mean who can handle a bunch of little trouble makers that just want to play? Moms & Dads, and of course the grandparents and other caretakers. It scared me a little for the imminent future of my career and even when I start my own family. Will I ever be ready? I asked my Tita Wendy, “how do you handle kids, especially tantrums and their moods?” She replied, “you just need to remind yourself that it’s a phase and they’ll grow out of it.” But I felt that it requires so much more – love and patience. Watching the parents, they also have different styles in approaching situations, but in the end they compliment and cooperate together to achieve a common goal.

Lesson Learned: Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. 

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After Fun Ranch, I took a well-deserved nap. Angel & Blu then picked me up to go to a bar called Dry Dock in Aguirre. They wanted to show me how the “south” chills and hangs out on a Saturday night. Apparently, the city is split between two types of people: North & South. South Manila is a little bit more chill, they just want to hang out, karaoke, drink, smoke and play bar games like billiards. North Manila resembles more of the vibes you get in downtown Miami – clubs, drinking and dancing. When we went to Dry Dock, my stomach and lungs clenched a little because of the amount of smoke from the cigarettes. I observed the people at the bar, and they all don’t look any older that 23. The people here look like babies! Maybe 15-18 years old, I don’t know. It felt so weird, because I’m so used to hanging out with people my age or older. I’m guessing it’s because Filipinos are short and have this “young” face and aura to them. At this bar, there’s a jam out session where you can sing with the live band. There was also a dance off going on where the guys, “whip & nae nae”. I thought, hey I can do that (I mean, I dance…shout out to TLB & Unit 305!). So thinking it’s a freestyle contest, my friends pushed me and I agreed (with some help from liquid courage). Surprisingly, I won. hahahaha. What I loved about the contest was that everyone was very supportive of each other. It didn’t feel like a competition, more like friends just want to show off their friends. Honestly, most of us that “competed” were volunteered (more like shoved) by our own friends. But it’s all good.

Lesson Learned: Surprise yourself, be spontaneous. Remember you have friends that will always cheer you on. 

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So yesterday had a recurring theme about kids. I want to talk a little bit about being a kid. There’s a difference about being a kid and being immature. There are times where we have fun “like a kid”. Last night, I had a blast “being like a kid” where I had no worries, I was encouraged to have fun and laugh and just enjoy the moment. There’s a similarity in the fun and laughter I observed at the children’s party to the experience I had at Dry Dock with my own friends. Friends really do make you young. I think it’s because of that trusting relationship that you have with each other. It’s carefree, willing, joyous and hopeful. On the other hand, although we feel like a kid, that doesn’t mean that we should be immature. Immaturity stems from greed and selfishness. It’s the lack of understanding that there’s other people in the world too. Immaturity lacks growth. Immaturity is that 2 year old that keeps saying “no” or that doesn’t want to share toys. Share joy, share love. 

Lesson Learned: Have a heart of a kid, but don’t be immature. 

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