Land of the Free, Part 2

This time, this trip was no surprise. We carefully planned it and saved up for it. Some say that to make a trip to the United States worthwhile, see as much as you can with the little time you have.

But the B and I, we take our trips to the US not just to see the sights and such. We have family here, and time with them is what matters. Making the most of the time we have with them and making memories with them.
Part 1 brought us to cities like Stockton, Merced, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where life can be fast and busy and just zip by you quickly if you don’t take notice.
Part 2 brings us to San Andreas. Nope, not the fault line. Just a small, quiet mountain town northeast of San Francisco 2 hours out, and an hour away from Sacramento.
San Andreas reminds me of provincial life in the Philippines, except for so much order and peace. Life here was somewhat slow, not much to see or to enjoy, but I fell in love with it almost immediately.
We drove up and down some mountains just to see malls or your usual shopping stops – Apple, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart among others, and shopped for our hearts’ desires as well as some other people’s items on their wish lists. 
We talked about things – plans, hopes and dreams. It didn’t matter if they were pipe dreams, but it felt good that we were sharing them. 
We made do with the ingredients available to us and cooked Filipino favorites, such as sisig, tokwa’t baboy, pansit malabon, siopao, goto and pan de sal, even if most Pinoys in the US for a vacation prefer burgers, steaks, lobster and other Western favorites.
We shot hoops at the town’s public elementary school playground, wondering if ever our homeland would be capable of such dramatic change to turn life around in our country from third world to first world.
There are nights where we just watched TV and did essentially nothing. It was the start of spring, so it was still pretty cold. It was great for sleeping.
There is so much life to be lived here, so much space, so much freedom. I knew it was never gonna be easy to be a part of all this, and I wasn’t going to be yet anyway, but I longed to be here, for good. It was the kind of simple life that I wanted in Manila that I’ll never have, but I would have been content to do so in San Andreas.
Someday, I hope to return.

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