“Nay! Akalain n’yong magiging US Immigrant kayo ano? Dati lang kayong namumulot ng sepilyo sa tabing dagat,” I told my nanay.
“Oo nga eh. Anak, i-kwento mo nga ‘yung kwento ko na ‘yun. Ilagay mo nga ‘yun sa blog-blog mong ‘yan,” Nanay suggested so here’s the story:
Little Cora was in Grade 4 when her teacher said, “Oh magkakaroon tayo ng exchange gift ha?” during the Christmas season that year.
Cora used to live only on nipa huts near the sea (This was the beach in Bacoor, Cavite. “Dating white sand ‘yan,” was what nanay always told us before the construction of the Coastal Road destroyed its beauty); hence, they were not well off. Aling Pinang (my lola) only sold fish in the market while Agaton (my late lolo) was a fisherman. Cora had more than 10 siblings and a Christmas exchange gift was too far to be seen in the horizon.
When her teacher announced this, she knew she could never afford an exchange gift.
Being the witty little girl that she was, she always noticed things washed up in the beach: slippers, plastic bags, used toothbrush among others.
Cora picked up nasty-looking-used-eradicating-toothbrushes and wrapped them in Christmas wrappers. Voila! Christmas gift!
A few days later, while Cora was enjoying her tsitsiriya (the exchange gift that she received), Pinang was called to the school and learned that the classmate who received Cora’s gift was crying badly. Waaahhhh!!! Bulok na toothbrush!!!!