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    A GERMAN EXPAT IN THE PHILIPPINES : With Beethoven Under Palms (XII)

    Chapter XII: Special Visitors

    The time just flew by. Rossana's culture shock was gone. I wondered why she never talked about homesickness. The first year of her stay in German was over. We spent our first vacation in the Canary Islands – one of my favorite places before. Sun, sand beaches, the ocean, blue sky, and pleasant temperature. 

    The editors' conferences of my law magazines made it possible to travel more and more: by plane or by car. Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Bayreuth, and then Cologne. My publisher just let Rossana come with us. "At least that's how she gets to know Germany", he replied when he saw my incredulous looks.

    "I feel so insanely small", she was amazed when we visited and inspected the Cologne Cathedral.

    Back in Berlin, we visited one of the largest trade fairs in the city – the International Tourism Exchange. "There is sure to be a Filipino stand there too?" Rossana asked me. "I'm pretty sure, there is", I replied.

    It was the first time she'd speak to Filipino compatriots. Eva was one of the first. She invited us to join the Filipino Community in Berlin.

    The community became her second home in Berlin. Cultural events as well as Filipino customs like the Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo took place. Santacruzan is a religious-historical beauty pageant held in many cities, towns and even small villages throughout the Philippines during the month of May.

    Flores de Mayo (or “flowers of May” in Spanish) is a month-long festivity held in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Santacruzan (that's “holy cross” in Spanish), on the other hand, is a colorful procession that recalls Queen Helena's search for the holy cross.  

    The regular Filipino Sunday mass with Father Gene Bacareza and happy get-togethers: well, Rossana's homesickness didn't exist anymore. Letters from her family asked more and more often, when we would visit the Philippines again.

    And then came the big day of a private visit of Vice President Salvador Laurel and family. Salvador Roman Hidalgo Laurel (November 18, 1928 – January 27, 2004), also known as Doy Laurel, was a Filipino lawyer and politician who served as the vice-president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992 under President Corazon Aquino and briefly served as the last prime minister. Rossana had so many questions for entertainer son Cocoy.

    Then finally Rossana and I sat down and discussed how we could book our flight to the Philippines because the news from home wasn't all positive.

    (To be continued)

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