Today, as I write this post on Family Day here in Toronto, I honor and raise a glass to both my Azimi and Pineda families. Join us at 6PM, Eastern Time, 7PM Phil.Time on PinoyRadio.com for the replay of The Chiqui Pineda Show featuring these lovely peeps, my family (and Albert! ^_^)
When I first fell in love with one Jack Azimi 15 years ago, I didn’t get to meet any of his family right away.
It was about a year later when I got to meet, first, his brother and bestfriend, Mikee, then my biyenans, Momoni and Babajaan shortly after that. They all came to Manila to visit us and get to know my side of the family.
Upon migrating to Canada after our eldest son, Sol, was born, I met the rest of the Azimi clan, a verrry BIG clan. It was overwhelming to say the least. Them being Muslim, there were a whole lot of differences in culture and practices (3-4…sometimes 5 kisses on the cheeks? Every single time?!? What the… :D) not to mention the shock of moving to a different country with a tiny human being in tow.
As all family adjustments go, we went through our share of ups and downs, y’know…bumpy grounds. My Afghan family, if anything, is passionate and intense with everything: from showing affection to expressing all types of emotions, sharing opinions and preferences…let’s just say they’re not a shy bunch, no ma’am.
I am a Filipina, born and raised. Although my Mom and Dad will say I am a tigre, more feisty than finesse and not so much your typical Binibini, I am still steeped in the Pinoy cultures, a more joyful Bahala Na systems: even-tempered/mahinahon, patient, sometimes to a fault and quick to turn the other cheek as taught to us by the Catholic church. Pero wag ka. May balik yang cheek-turning na yan…that when my In-tseek, gengis khan ancestry rises to the occasion, I may just karate chop and smash your family jewels to smithereens if need be. And yes, there are times when this practice is necessary.
As for the more traditional Pinoy ways, these are the complete opposite of what Jack believes. Yes, we have many similarities, a big one being a very strong connection to our families, and a deep faith in God – yes, there is only One. But our shy, makimkim ways are not his ways. He believes in “putting it out there”, the good, the bad, the ugly, the glory. All or nothing.
As the years went by, him and I have had many learning moments. Ooh, we’ve had our world-wars, trust me! but we overcame, time and again with lots of love and patience and a deep respect for each other, and God-willing, for as long as we live. One of the best lessons, for me, is this:
We can definitely learn from, live with and grow because of each other’s ways, different as they are.
Jack has taught me to be bolder with my expressions. To stand up for what I believed in and yes, even if it meant fighting what he believed and battle it out til our heads hurt and throats got sore. (Love takes Work, right, Liezl? ;))
Jack has, admittedly, learned, among other things, to listen more and practice our Pinoy style patience instead of exploding and going para (from the word, paranormal, a word we use when one goes berserk-y) at every other argument.
You know what? I feel most deeply blessed because, as the years went by, I’ve come to see for myself that this intensity and passion was also ever-present in the loving and caring and watching out for each other. There wasn’t a favor too big, a need too much or a problem too heavy for Jack and my Azimi family not to come to my aid at the drop of a hat for, and I mean that literally. If I needed something, no matter big or small, someone from the family would be at the door not more than a couple of hours later, be it something as small as garlic for my adobo (thanks, M. 🙂 or a life- changing shoulder to cry on moment. (thanks, B.) <3
Yes, they were overwhelming, too in-your-face, especially in the beginning. That was only because I was used to my family’s more of loving-from-a-distance way of being. My Pineda family didn’t lack for love and support either but it was, as most fellow Pinoys would have it, more of a per occasion – b-days, holidays, graduations, atbp. connection as opposed to a daily, morning-noon-and-night huddle/phone-call/home-visit ritual, Afghan style. Ok, I may exaggerating a bit but only a teeny-tiny bit. :p
After over a decade of being surrounded by my Azimi family here in Toronto, I see and honor the wisdom of the tightly-wound and closely-knit as it gives one a sense of real comfort during the hard times.
Not one family’s way is better than the other. Different, yes. I welcome and cherish both styles. What a great balance I’ve got and I am so very grateful for this.
Be it helping take care of the kids during the early years, moving homes and doing the heavy lifting – both literal and figurative weights – and helping Jack and I navigate the turbulent formative years of our marriage and helping us emotionally, financially, spiritually with powerful prayers and novenas – both my Pineda and Azimi families are my heroes.
To my Mamay and Daday, Thank you. For giving birth to one Pinay tigré and teaching me loving patience and as my own Daday always said, Chikay, you’ve got resilience. Buti nalang!
And tashukur, Momoni and Babajaan, for having your lionhearted Afghan man, My Man, Jack; bold, brave, beautiful and always there for me and the family, no matter what, with whom I am now raising our own growing family. Our children are so very blessed to have all kinds of love and care from both sides of the world.
Cheers to the all my families, be they mixed or pure, blood-related or not, all over the globe and may the mysterious and marvelous circle of life go on and on and my prayer is for our children to have the same beautiful and rich experience when their time comes. Bakhire/Bathala na!
In the end, there is indeed, only One.
Courage in Creativity,
Join us tonight, Wednesday at 6:00PM, Eastern Time, Thursday 7:00AM Phil.Time on PinoyRadio.com for the Replay of The Chiqui Pineda Show (TCPS) featuring these lovely peeps, my family (and Albert! ^_^)
TCPS is live every Sunday, 5PM to 6PM/EST and every Monday 6AM-7AM/Phil.Time only on www.pinoyradio.com. ChikaBlessings!