Things here in Nagsanga – our barangay in Pasuquin – just don’t move along as fast as the rest of the world. If the entire world was a large Formula I auto race, Nagsanga would be the lone kuliglig. Compared to Nagsanga, the “Land That Time Forgot” is on Daylight Savings Time, “springing ahead.”
Yes, things are that slow here. But, it’s not a bad thing. I, for one, rather like it. So, too, do visitors from the high-stress, rush-rush corners of the world. They and I all find the same solace: relaxation without stress. Even work here in Nagsanga is stress-free. I can have five things going on at once here in the barangay. and can bring each to a successful conclusion – either sequentially or simultaneously – very easily without a care or hint of stress.
The choice of method for accomplishing something just doesn’t matter when the first choice made is to take stress out of the equation. Perspiring from the air temperature alone is much more preferable to perspiration induced by heated stress. Since heart disease is a top killer, and stress contributes to it considerably, I feel that the stress-free life here in Nagsanga has its therapeutic values.
NOT ALL IS WINE & ROSES
Some days here in Nagsanga can only be described as “boring.” Not all of them, mind you, just some of them. Just what is the exact ratio of boring to not boring days totally depends on the whims of the day-counter. Were it I counting the days and deciding which was boring and which wasn’t, I admit that the non-boring days would have a significant superiority over the boring days. For me, just waking up each day is yet another adventure awaiting exploration.
By the time I’m ready to start my new day’s expedition into the amazingly friendly unknown, something happens. There’s a shift in the environment. Excitement, and eagerness to get on with life, collide with the near nonexistent tempo of Nagsanga. Hustle turns to shuffle, and it’s a stress-free life awaiting my next move, if I care to make one.
On the days in which they happen, the mini-explosions of such collisions have far-reaching effect. Today is one of those days. I eagerly decided to key-up an article for LiP, and here I am, making my way through it without a care or hint of stress. This could be a bad thing.
HO-HUM, A DREAM
I admire the other writers in this “E-zine.” Most all are story-tellers, and they have good stories to tell. Stories of this exciting adventure here, or of that worrisome adventure there. Stories of experiences they’ve had and are burning with journalistic desire to share them with us all.
Some stories are about topics that a portion of the readership, if placed in the lead role, would truly suffer experiencing. They are comically presented, however, so that the potential sufferers amongst us feel no pain as they laugh along with the rest of us.
That is the type of story I want to tell. That strange, isolated incident in the life of a foreigner experiencing culture, customs and traditions that put their own significant twist on the incident, making for a light-hearted and interesting account of “what happened next…” followed by a retreat into a “man cave” where good friends, good music, and ice-cold San Miguel Beer all awaited me.
Nagsanga ! Ain’t gonna happen! Read my lips: Ain’t a gonna happen!
THIS IS ALL I GET
What kind of cultural twist can be put on seeing the “goat girl” every morning? Like clockwork, fifteen minutes after it brightens up just enough before dawn, she leads “Billy,” “Nanny” and “the kids” out to the fields for their morning grazing? She trudges right out there into the fields left fallow with the kalding (kambing) [goats] in tow. She finds a likely grazing spot, and ties the animals’ rope leads to the wooden pegs she had so accurately driven into the hard ground, using a large rock as her hammer. With livestock securely grazing and unable to stray, the “goat girl” shuffles back to her home where who know what other chores await her.
I was going to write “chores await her prior to leaving for school.” I stopped. I cannot say that I have ever seen the “goat girl” walk or take a tricycle to school. For the past five years that I’ve seen her, she’s been the “goat girl.” She’s grown taller during these past five years, now appearing to be either a brand new teenager or just teetering on the edge of being a teen. Her shuffle and carriage is the same today as it has been. Her style of dress remains constant, though it’s obvious that clothing changes were made as she grew.
Still, that’s about it when it comes to observations and writing of the “goat girl.” I often wonder what else is part of her story. Does she indeed work all day, having given up the chair in the classroom for that peg pounding rock? Or does she magically transform into a schoolgirl who is totally unrecognizable as the “goat girl” and is wending her way to becoming a class valedictorian?
She has hardly ever missed a day with her charges; does she like herding them? Or is she one of the first in line with plate, spoon and fork in hand, when one of her charges meets the butcher knife? Or does she just settle for some rice as the goats are for selling just to make what little money they bring in?
When I make a few initial inquiries about the “goat girl,” those I ask have a very difficult time understanding of whom I speak. To the world, she seems to be a faceless character on the stage of life, with ever-changing sets and scenery, but the same old bit part. The play-bill would include her in the “cast of thousands.” Faceless, name known to a handful, and ever-present each morning, leading the family to graze.
Well, as I’ve said, this is Nagsanga. I have no “man cave” into which I can retreat. We’re fresh out of ice-cold San Miguel Beer right now, but we do have some cold Royal Crown (RC) Cola in the refrigerator. I think I’ll pour me a tall glass of RC, grab a can of dry-roasted almonds, go outside to my favorite chair on the porch, retreating to the revelry of my virtual man cave, and begin to ponder deep thoughts.
Think I’ll start with, “Do you think she would like being known as the “goat girl”?