Sam stays in a rented condo five days a week. No one cooks for her, no one wakes her up in the morning, no one picks up her dirty clothes… And she’s doing fine. We talk on the phone everyday, we exchange long chatty text messages, we talk about school… Still, it hasn’t been easy for me, this college thing, this living away from us and seeing her only on weekends. Speedy sees her more often because he visits her during the week. He takes her out to dinner, he brings her little things… It’s a good thing, really, how much better they’re bonding these days.
When she first moved to the condo, I bought Sam a “starter kit” — plates, mugs, a microwave oven, boxes of coffee, milk, bottles of fruit juice… And, every week, she brings five packed home cooked ulam for dinner. She could buy cooked rice after her afternoon classes and reheat a packed ulam so she wouldn’t have to go out at night – at least, until she’s more familiar and comfortable with her new surroundings. But for breakfast and lunch, she’s on her own. I can’t pack the whole house for her. And I refuse to have one of the house helpers move in with her. Living away from home, after all, is supposed to teach her a certain amount of independence.
Last weekend, we were having dinner and Speedy asked Sam about the eateries in the area. He wanted to know if Sam has discovered those inexpensive eateries that serve good food that are popular around university areas in the city. Sam said the food in the school cafeteria was okay but not inexpensive, around 90 pesos per meal. She said the less expensive eateries around the school were often packed from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The really inexpensive ones, she said, have jeepney and tricycle drivers hanging out most of the time and she did not want to go there. So, they started talking about prices. Speedy wanted to know what expensive, less expensive and inexpensive meant in terms of pesos.
Sam: “D’un sa SEx, mga 70 to 80 pesos (At SEx, around 70 to 80 pesos)…”
Speedy (sitting bolt upright): “Anong SEX (What SEX)?!?!”
Sam started giggling. She didn’t answer at once, I don’t know whether she was teasing her father by prolonging the agony.
Speedy (eyes wide and face gaunt): “ANONG SEX??? AYOKO NA NG GANYAN HA! (WHAT SEX??? I DON’T LIKE THIS ANYMORE!)”
I had heard the SEx story before so I decided to end his agony.
Me: “Sinangag (Fried rice) Express. SEx.”
What can I say? That’s what the kids call the eatery. For whatever it’s worth, I hear that the food’s okay and so are the prices. So, Sam likes Sinangag Express a.k.a. SEx. Good for her.