I arrived back in the Philippines four days ago after only three weeks in Australia. After such a short time away and such a long time since blogging I have no idea how to begin.

I left after a death. I came back early because of a death.

Both tragic. Both sudden. And I am silent.

I decided to begin journalling this morning, so in an step toward blogging again I’ll share my unedited morning thoughts below.

It’s a start …

here i am 6.29am up showered, texts received and replied, tea cooled to drinking temp and feeling surprising ok, ok ok ok lang. i can hear the beginnings of a new day outside that has begun some time ago, the noise of workers tools people moving breakfast chairs for their impending room service and slippers dragging in front of my door. the voices of workers and just looking back over my shoulder into and through the red transparency of the window curtain i see the trucks that arrived late last night still in their places in the dusty carpark. the rain yesterday made no difference. the rain has stopped. my last trip which ended just three weeks ago had rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. it has now disappeared. they tell me they won’t plant more crops now until next season. they say the weather is getting hotter but i thought it felt cooler. yes it is hot or maybe it’s me. maybe somehow i have adjusted. or actually i think, in truth, it is my mind. the steady acceptance of the heat that came with the realisation of how much i love it here. how much it has become my place. yes truly this is my place. i knew that so surely when i climbed the hill to neda’s and her children shouted my name in delight and ran to me in greeting. when i saw the small smile of 7yo Noy Noy when he appeared and allowed me to hold him a few hours later while he sobbed after his sister scolded him for being naughty. we sat in a plastic chair in front of the coffin containing his 19 year old brother and he let me hold him. as i stroked his hair and held him close i could not help but be overwhelmed that this little boy, this strong 7 year old boy the son of hard labouring parents including a serious father, this small boy who carts water from the well, washes clothes, cares for animals and helps his parents. this proud little boy who would not allow me to help him during the embarrassment of vomiting on the bus when i took him to the city 3 months earlier was allowing me to hold him. yes perhaps it was in that moment when i knew that this has become my place.

even now thinking about just that the well of emotion inside me grows deeper and more expansive every second i am here. every new ilonggo word i learn. every little bit of laughter. every visit. every text message my life becomes more of here and less of there. God brought me here i know that so very truly and i am still not sure why. maybe this is it. the realisation and now the writing each morning. i need. i want to write. i feel to write each and every morning now. not just rubbish about following my goals blah blah boring blah but the truth of what is here. what i have seen. what i see each and every day. people hungry. forgotten people. invisible people. inconvenient people. little hungry covered in sores children draped in rags that others have worn many many times before the little person inside it now first put it on. i did not even cry yesterday when i was told their mother, who i saw instantly in the three weeks since i left her country has not been eating. no one needed to tell me she has been giving what little she had to her children. and no i did not even cry when someone told me that she had sold a blanket the day before yesterday for food. and what? maybe she got enough for one meal for her 8 children and not herself. one bloody meal. i tell you i am going to the market today to buy her another blanket and try find someone to send her a sack of rice every month for her family. i will find someone for a sack of rice.