Ties that bind | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Home again! God is good! As much as I have loved the last three-and-a-half months of travel, I have hungrily looked forward to sleeping in my own bed, among my own pillows, snuggled under my old worn comforter. Nothing and no one offers a better bienvenida.



Vancouver was a gorgeous stopover.  Two cousins and their families made me feel super welcome.  Lita V. lives with her daughter in East Vancouver and Lita G. with her writer son in a lovely townhouse nestled among the giant evergreens across the University of British Columbia.


We chatted way into the night, did a lot of remembering and marveled at the strong family ties that bind us despite the miles of ocean in between.


Botanical garden


We had lunch at a beautiful botanical garden. Our host was Zule, a charming Chilena. It felt like we were long-time friends. There was a wedding ready to start as we finished dessert.  They had purple and pink hydrangeas. Beautiful. I wanted to stay.


I also met and made friends with Nilca, a lady from Panama with a great sense of humor who had a lot to say about the rapidly changing Vancouver skyline, thanks to the new constructions rising from old neighborhoods now gone. “The old quaint chalets and quiet families are a thing of the past.”


I was happy to see the still attractive Chiriqui, an old family friend. It was a sudden throwback to the carefree life in Manila in the good old days.  We lunched at Seasons at the Park by the water. In spite of a steady light drizzle, we had a stunning view of Vancouver.


Another day we strolled between stalls of fruits, flowers, meat, seafood, delectable pastries and chocolates at Granville Market.  We had lunch at a little fish and chips café.  The halibut was excellent, but they didn’t have malt vinegar, and I missed the nutty toasty taste.

We bought custard apples or chirimoyas (huge atis) at $7 each and some veggies for roasting that night.


Shortly after my last Vancouver breakfast, my grandson-in-law picked me up for a breathtaking three-hour drive to Seattle. I was mesmerized by the majesty of God’s work that unfolded before our eyes in a riot of colors.  Awesome.


Seattle welcome


Do you know how it feels when you hold tight in your arms three grandchildren and three great grandkids you have not seen in several years?  Almost like heaven. And one daughter surprised me from Manila. Can you say happy?


Weather was typical Seattle.  Saturday we had wind and rain.  My great grandson’s soccer game was cold and wet.  His

little sister and I opted to stay home where she regaled me with stories about pre-kindergarten and church, and treated me to a dramatic rendering of a praise song. Adorable.


Just Google it


One of the many highlights of my Seattle vacation was a tour of Google in Kirkland. My grandson, who is on their marketing team, took us all over this amazing complex.


Whoever works in this world-renowned multinational organization would be insane to quit. Anyone working elsewhere who visits what I call the “Google Country Club” would be very unhappy returning to his little world of cubicles, swivel chairs and intimidating conference rooms.


The New York Times once quoted Google spokesperson

Jordan Newman, who said: “Google’s various offices and campuses around the globe reflect the company’s overarching philosophy which is nothing less than to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.” One look at my grandson and I know they have succeeded.


Whoever said that you couldn’t have fun on the job has never been to a Google property. Whoever dreamed up this concept surely believed in the old adage that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”


The second round


Last Sunday’s debate came on the heels of a barrage of late-breaking news about “locker room banter.” During the 90-minute debate nothing could be denied nor defended. I saw no knockouts, just the usual abundance of low blows.


We had dinner at my grandson’s house and all eyes and ears were on the TV.  I was careful not to eat too much of the delicious rigatoni.  I suspected we were in for a stomach turner.   And it was.


Political pundits scored it in favor of Clinton.  I don’t know if this means her success at the polls. Maybe. Who knows? It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop.


My friend in the East Coast didn’t turn her TV on.

“The pre- and post-debate discussions are tedious. The language is not what I want my 10-year-old to hear. It has come down to a choice of the lesser evil. Our standards have sunk to an all-time low.  What’s the use?”  Instead she watched an old tearjerker on Netflix.


Too many people around the country and all over the world have good reason to weep. I have been back less than a week but when I watched the news, I reached for my box of tissue.


We so need to pray.

“Lord, when our leaders are in chaos, don’t let us grope around the world to look for security and hope.  Remind us to lift our eyes to the heavens and see you, Jesus our Creator, Sustainer, Reconciler, Redeemer and King.”

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