Issue of September 10, 2017
     
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When rains come, kita ka onseppi..

ONSEPPI TRANSLATES FROM Nabaloi as: “to get (or be) homesick”; kita is “we” (dual, or “you and I”); and ka accounts for the qualifiers “get” or “be”. Thus, in full, we read the title as: “When rains come, we are/get homesick”. This is an expression among adults – those of ‘courting age’ – Mangaashem, up to early seniority. You seldom (or don’t) hear this said by those already with four or five grandchildren, naapuan, they say.

BUT IF ADULTS say this as often as those rains come, come.. know what they’re ‘homesick’ about – or what they ‘miss’.. so much or so.. as the elegant English speaker would say.

AND YOUR INFORMANT Nabaloi adult would begin: Naxa sespi-e ~ i.e. “I feel homesick of (or, about)”.. all or any of following: 1) the stories or “quotes” from the old folks; 2) the Gradeschool years; 3) the challenges, trials, and the like; 4) young love; 5) the “lessons” learned.

THE STORIES AND “quotes” are told during these rainy months.. in some late afternoon ‘informal’ Adivais, by some saleng pinewood fires, with some Benguet coffee tinapong – matched with Ipomoea Batatas, that one locals call in ‘their’ English: camote.

IF YOU’RE AROUND in the village, it’s always a great chance you’ll not miss it. You look for your age-peers, and their parents tell you they’re at Fulano’s house – listening to Apo So and So (or name of Elder); and even those same parents exhorting you to join the ‘gathering’:

“WHY DON’T YOU go, it will be sure pity – sayang, if you won’t.. it is raining anyway”, and so on. [And you quickly now recall:]

MOST OF THOSE stories involve the legendary feats of your village ancestors – sometimes your own direct ancestor (or namesake!); and the “quotes”?

THOSE WERE MOSTLY said by leaders, elders, parents, etc., of this or that clan, in the village and nearby. Today, these ‘quotes’ are still in fair circulation – and dubbed the handsome term: ‘Oral Literature’ pieces.

NEXT, THE GRADESCHOOL years. You learn these when older relations or neighbours ‘share’ what they personally heared or observed(!) about you in your earlier years; por ejemplos.

THAT YOU WERE a ‘mama’s boy’ – preferring to tag along your mom’s side – rather than play with your fellow kids; that you once teased a bull on your way to school and you were to be gored to death, but fortunately, the bull was tied, and the rope’s length stopped it; and so on.

THOSE YEARS ALSO includes your life – in and out of school: the song and rhymes you used to sing (ever remember those lines: “vacation.. vacation.. vacation is near; be happy, be happy, be happy and cheer”?); the games you used to play like: Pataluntun, or ‘Hide and Seek’; the classmates you used to walk with to school; or, from school.

THE CHALLENGES AND trials too – thinking of them give you that ‘luring, roundless call’.. in times of rain.

THE FIRST TIME you had a quarrel – or fist fight; the ones who pacified you both; those who kept close by your side to help you or defend you, but

EVEN YOUR ‘TRIALS’ in the classroom. Have you ever experienced getting zero(0) in a quiz.. or a Failing Mark, in the Grades? Or, were you

A CONTENDER OF any of the “Honours”, or “Honourable Mentions”, that you felt down inside yourself in those times you got a lower mark? One thing almost sure:

YOU MANAGE NOW.. a smile thinking of those times rare (or frequent) that you made your parent(s) happy – as you handed them your Report Card to see! Ah-ha.

YOUNG LOVE OR Jugendliebe.. that makes you homesick too! Just imagine: the first time you were attracted (..or someone was attracted to you).. and you felt dis-armed!

AND LATER SHORTLY in the School-Year, both of you have sort-of ‘feelings’ – mutual in description.. and then, she or you, blushed(!) each time the teasings from your closest friends were sparked!

“AH, MY JUGENDLIEBE in 2nd Year: how can I wash her off from my memory.. just the Sight of her made my heart skip-a-bit each time!” And

FINALLY, THE ‘LESSONS’ you have learned from this or that experience. These rains make you feel ‘homesick’ as you re-treasure them.. again:

THE WRESTLING PLAY – Abang, that almost crippled your right hand; enough lesson for you to shy away from Judo session-invitations in College days, the near accident of being bitten by a Police dog which chanced upon you running away from a drunken man swaying a bolo here and there; your exceptional joy when you went ‘extra’ to serve once as an altar boy, etcetera..

ALL THESE MEMORIES – exciting, sad, jeopardous, and so on.. but now all fondness-laden, these rains bring them to the Fore.. kita ka onseppi!

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