My friend Dominique and I arrived late last Saturday in Bonn main train station where my German foster mother, Doris, patiently waited for us. I dragged my suitcase and carried my rucksack that contained clothes and personal effects for my temporarily relocation to Bonn for my internship.
We drove to the light Saturday evening traffic and parked in front of the Don Bosco Mission building. We were greeted by people, mostly women, whom I have not met before yet looked like familiar faces. It turned out we were watching a concert of a Filipino Christian choir called ‘The 5th Gospel’. Inside the chapel were more Filipinos, this time with a smattering of Pinoys and some Germans.
Dominique and I squeezed in the pew near the front, as we were greeted with kumustas. The sweet sound of one’s mother tongue as it easily rolled out of my mouth was like letting out a big psychological sigh.
After the concert we waited in the multi-purpose hall in the basement where a Filipino feast of pansit (noodles with vegetables, sinigang na hipon (shrimp in sour broth), nilagang manok (literally, boiled chicken), lumpiang shanghai (ground pork spring rolls), and of course, rice awaited us. After blessing the food, I raced to the buffet table, filled my plate with at least four menus, and stood up in a corner nearby. I stuffed my mouth like a famished traveler. With my strategic settlement near the table, second and further servings came in easy.
Not bad for the first day of my extended stay in Bonn- a welcome party organized and attended by Pinoys, and an attempt to welcome me back into the fold.