Whenever I think of Autumn, I think of benches. Absurd as it sounds, but two benches easily come to mind. I remember spending my first days in Santiago de Compostela sitting on my favourite bench in Plaza Alameda under the cold September sky, pondering on my new life in Europe. One year later in Madrid, I found myself sitting on a bench in Ave. Miguel Hernández contemplating my future as I had finally decided to stay after my master’s study and go on an adventure in the Spanish capital.
Sitting there, away from the crammed places of the city, with just a few deciduous trees as my companions, gave me a sense of clarity and solitude. There is something about Autumn that evokes a sense of reflection and contemplation. We may already miss the fun of Summer or yearn for the exuberance of Spring, but it is in Autumn that, whether we are aware of it or not, we take time to mull things over, to prepare ourselves for the challenges of the coming Winter.
As the season of Fall is about nostalgia and remembrance, our Autumn Issue is a collection of uplifting tales of perseverance and adventure, of failures and victories. Of will and personal resolve.
We are thrilled to have Google sales executive Bernie Milan on our cover with the Big Apple in the background. Coming to New York at 21, a young and broke Bernie thought that making it big in the city would be a walk in the park. He was wrong. But he was quick to learn, adapt and adjust. Twenty five years later, he has become the best version of himself; successful, happy and fabulous.
Surviving life abroad takes a lot of focus and tenacity. And to thrive, one needs fortitude and a sense of purpose. That is why, it is heart-warming to hear expats Sharon Masler, Rhafael Antonio, Edson Gonzales, Judy Anne Santos and Oyeen Dy Valcos share their inspiriting stories about chasing their dreams, facing their fears, working hard to triumph in the end.
This issue also pays tribute to our senior expats Teresita Marques, Sr. Paulita Astillero and Rick Tuazon who, despite reaching retirement age, are not yet ready to sit idly and stare at the wall. Their schedules are full, busy serving their communities. Slowing down is obviously out of the question. Modesto “Papang” Aguirre is a 100-year old Pinoy in Canada, who has weathered a world war and a pandemic. At his age, with his sharp wit and innate charm, he remains a source of joy and inspiration to his family and friends.
Filipino American soprano, poet and author of In The Typhoon´s Eye, Bles Chavez-Bernstein shares her thoughts and realizations on the uncertainties of advancing in years.
Take a peek at the life of Consul Armand Talbo outside his diplomatic duties in New York and Amsterdam-based Johnny and his unconventional family set-up that is redefining the idea of how a modern family should be. Be inspired by MZ Akil, our London-based columnist, as she starts her journey to Creative Writing, finally ready to flap her wings and jump off cliffs, figuratively speaking, that is.
The Christmas season is just around the corner and The Filipino Expat has an early Christmas gift to our readers. We have come up with special ideas to help you out with your gift list for the Yuletide season. As Filipino Christmas is about food, can you imagine years without puto or dinuguan? Well, our columnist Agatha Verdadero narrates how she survived her years of living a “Pinoy-less” food life in Kenya.
As if it is not enough, we are taking you to Monaco, one the most expensive places in the world and to an exhilarating adventure as we climb the highest peaks in Europe.
So dear readers, we hope you enjoy our Autumn/Winter 2021 issue. Although we are still weeks and weeks before we celebrate the birth of our Lord, allow us to be the first to greet you a Happy/Healthy Christmas and a Safe/Prosperous New Year. May you find your own “bench” to witness the unravelling of this season´s magic.