I was walking to work when I smelled a hunger inducing waft of fried garlic. I was dazzled for a moment. I thought, "Is someone making garlic fried rice? Where?" I looked left and right for a non-existent Filipino restaurant in that area. Deep inside, I knew it's impossible to find a Filipino restaurant there since it's mostly corporate buildings dotted with a few coffee and sandwich shops that dominate the market for breakfast and lunch goers. I kid you not but that garlic smell was like a time machine. Suddenly, I was hurdled back to the memories of my younger days in the Philippines.
Being the youngest in the family, I seem to be the last one who wakes up (on most days). Believe me, it takes a lot of calling, prodding and even persuading before Id' get out of bed. Mom said I slept like a lard. In the mornings, I'd be rubbing my eyes while my senses wake up to the smell of my sister's cooking of kinirog nga inapoy (fried rice usually flavored with garlic) with eggs on the side. Mom and Dad maintained a backyard poultry so we had fresh eggs available every day. My parents would be enjoying their barako coffee already while I'd sluggishly sit on the dining table and sleepily request a glass of Milo; that catchy ad phrase "Milo for Olympic energy" is still stuck in my brain after all these years.
As I crossed the street to my office, the garlic smell dissipated and I was thrown back into reality. I realize that I miss so many things. I miss sleeping like a lard, waking up to my sister's cooking, the smell of our family house, warm pandesal in the mornings, rustling sound of the rice fields, studying with a candle light or the gas lamp, the sourness and sweetness of Indian Mango from my grandpa's backyard, the crackling of fire as it devours wood fire for cooking, the smell of soot, the coming of the monsoon, the trickle of rain on our tin roof, the dampness of June, songs of the cicadas during summer...
I miss home. I miss being a kid - having simpler worries.