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Editor’s Note: My grandmother’s train

Editor’s Note: My grandmother’s train

I once had this recurring dream. In my dream, I was with my grandmother standing in the middle of a field of wild sunflowers. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The soft rustling chimes of the leaves gave me the sensation of being surrounded by thousands of sword fighters in the middle of a battle. Wearing her favorite church outfit — red dress and crimson lipstick— my grandmother stood still while holding my hand. We had been standing there for hours, waiting for something or somebody to come.

After what seemed to be an eternity, something finally emerged from the horizon and was coming our way.  The small figure became bigger and bigger as it drew nearer and nearer in a matter of seconds. It was a train chugging through the track-less field. My grandmother just stared at the approaching train. We were just a few inches away from the imaginary tracks but the locomotive didn’t stop. Clouds of dust gushed against my face as the train swiftly passed by and continued chugging across the fields.  

Seconds later, still looking at the horizon, my grandmother said, “Don’t worry, our train will come.”

My grandmother was my lolo’s second wife and my father’s stepmom. Although we weren’t related by blood, she loved us as her own grandchildren. It has been twenty years since my grandmother passed away and it has been a long time since I last had this dream, but I can still remember my grandmother’s red church dress, her crimson lipstick and her laugh which was both annoying and contagious. She remains one of the most memorable women in my life. 

Speaking of women, we are so excited and proud to have empowered and independent Filipino women sharing their extraordinary stories of courage and determination in our Spring 2024 issue. 

For our cover story, Antonio Montalván II sat down with Filipino opera singer Evelyn Mandac in New York. Popularly known as “La Mandac”, our story traces Ms. Mandac’s formidable journey from the Philippines to the world stage, how she broke glass ceilings in the world of opera, and how she remained humble despite being a world-acclaimed diva. 

TFEM is featuring three extraordinary Filipino expats: a surgeon serving in war-torn countries for Doctors Without Borders, an educator who built an English school for poor kids in Cambodia, and a farmer and business woman who built a bridge between Filipino and Japanese cultures through her banana plantation.

Ambassador Maria Theresa Dizon-De Vega shares her “me time” when she is off-duty from her diplomatic obligations in Seoul, South Korea, and gives us some interesting and fascinating facts about Philippine weaving. 

Anna Pablo, a preschool teacher in a private school in Madrid, Spain, gives us a glimpse of her monthly budget and shares how having her own money means having the power to spend on anything she wants.

Karessa Malaya Ramos is never scared of expressing her thoughts through her poems and short stories. Her words may sometimes offend the senses but she couldn’t care less. In her essay “Eruption of Eros”, the poet/writer shares the perks of writing erotic stories in the Castillan tongue. 

Is feminism alive in Filipina expats in Europe? Filipino feminists Gemma Ferreón from Spain, and Mary Lou Hardillo from Germany, talk about their advocacies and journey in fighting for women’s and human rights. 

See Also
The Filipino Expat Magazine Chef Glen Ramaekers

In our Autumn/Winter 2021 Issue, our columnist MZ Akil wrote about pursuing Masters of Arts in Creatively Writing as she aspires to be a voice whose narrative will be about melding cultural heritage with her adopted national identity.  Three years later, she expresses her pride over completing her post-graduate studies in her new article, “Duty to Myself”. 

Tricia V. Morente weighs the pros and cons of traveling solo. Will it be sad and lonely exploring the world by yourself? Or will it be an opportunity to be happily comfortable on your own skin? Read on and find out.

So dear readers, we can’t express our gratitude enough for having these inspiring women  gracing our pages, sharing their journeys towards self-discovery and chasing their dreams. I hope you enjoy our Spring 2024 Issue.

And if my grandmother were alive today, she would probably say, “These women, their train has come.”  Indeed, it has. Not only did these brave Pinays board their train but took the wheel as well. 

Happy Springtime,  everyone!

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