A Memoir: Weekend Senses - some reasons why I learned to love the weekends


Weekend is usually the time when people can sleep and stay in bed late for as long as they like. Not in my parent's home. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, Mom would turn on the stereo volume up high at around 7 am (8 am the latest), music blasting out of the speakers. My Mom loved listening to her radio with 80's and 90's music in the background, she would then sing along after going to our room waking us up. My sister and I would want to stay in bed for a longer period, but I remember my Mom always insisted that we wake up and start cleaning up our rooms. My Mom was an OC and would want every side of the house to be cleaned in the morning, she wanted the floors to be shiny and clean that she even boasted to our visitors that the floor was cleaner than their own faces (I would be insulted if I was the visitor, of course - but that's how my Mom would put it). If we continue lying in our beds, she would then bang our doors angrily. I never really asked why we can't stay late in our beds and take our time in the morning, however growing up, I have carried this habit with me. 

My Mom was everywhere in the house, I heard her voice in the kitchen instructing Ate Lady what and how to cook. She supervised the cooking process while Ate Lady who was with our family for more than ten years, obediently followed. The kitchen was just adjacent to our bedroom, so we can smell what's cooking, Filipino dishes such as Adobo - pork marinated with vinegar and soy sauce; Sinigang - pork in sour soup; Nilaga - beef stew with clear broth. Sometimes they would cook garlic fried rice and fried dry fish dipped in vinegar, it was the best combination for breakfast for me. The aroma sniffed by my nose motivated me to stand up and proceed to the dining area. 

After we ate breakfast, my Mom insisted that we take a bath. She reasoned that it's best that everyone finished these morning duties so everyone can rest (I did not believed her). Afterwards, she would ask us to put on lotions in our skin and demanded that we wear something nice. We don't really get out of the house most of the time, she just wanted us to look pleasant. Once we finished, she will let us play our own. We can finally do whatever we want. 

Our television was located in the same area where the radio was, so if my Mom was listening to her music, we cannot watch weekend TV shows. Actually we would need to ask permission first before we can watch, we asked permission to do everything, even if we only need to use the phone. Growing up, my Mom was really strict to us. No one can use the phone in the mornings, around 8 to 10 am. It's because my Dad from Hong Kong would call during this time. You have to understand that this was the time when people don't own their own cellphones yet. There were rules in the house and we followed. A ring would all bring us to the living room where the telephone was located, we took turns speaking to our Dad. Usually, it will be the same topics, how we were, if we had already eaten, what we had been doing, always with a cheerful tone. We would remind our Dad how we love him so much and he would say "I love you too". My Dad worked overseas and would come home once or twice a year to see us. Sometimes, my Mom would go overseas to see my Dad and would stay there for a month.

When my Dad was home, we spent the weekends going to the mall. We don't really shop for clothes, I don't remember asking my Mom to buy clothes for us, unless it's needed for school. If my Dad was home, we would ask him to buy toys for us, usually Barbie dolls or a playhouse or books for me. I remembered when my Dad brought me Harry Potter books, I was carrying it like a trophy. He also brought us a Harry Potter VCD from Hong Kong, however the language in the film was in Cantonese, we somehow managed to watch the whole movie. My Dad realizing the mistake, watched the movie with us. He enjoyed it, while my sister and I stared at the moving pictures, imagining what the characters were saying. We did not learn Cantonese, we learned only how to count (and how to say "I love you"). Until today, I still can't make a whole sentence.

When it was just the three of us, we never go out, weekends were spent doing assignments or reading books. My Mom did not allow us to go outside to play as she was afraid we might get bad influences, she does not want us to get dirty or get wounded by playing. She was overprotective, and so we were used to watching other children playing outside. There were exceptions, she allowed us to play outside whenever there were holidays - birthdays, Halloween, Christmas. Otherwise, we would invite our playmates to our home and we would play in the garden. 

Going back to weekends, sometimes afternoons would be spent in singing karaoke. My Mom love to sing so she purchased various oldies CDs. She would invite friends to our home and she would ask us to sing, boasting her friends that we could sing well. Her friends would applaud and my Mom felt proud. We grew up hearing the songs of Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Air Supply, Bread and Bee Gees. The list goes on and on. My Dad would try to sing as well, his favorite songs were Bee Gees hits. They loved drinking beer in a warm afternoon, you can see their sweat in their brows and smiles in their faces. Weekends like those gave me warm positive feelings, it was like I'm going on holidays. 

Until today, I still look forward to weekends. Even if I now live on my own, I try to see them at least once a week. We would catch up over a meal (usually dinner). And yes, I feel bad when I sometimes can't make it, especially that my flat is only a twenty minutes walking distance away. My sister and I are already grown ups, we don't play around anymore. Nowadays, my Mom would do most of the talking, while I kept quiet and agree to every words she said. Weekdays had a way of draining me, my soul and so I'm contented listening to what's going on with their lives. Once again, I will state here that I live for the weekends, and the above are some of the reasons why. 

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