It had been almost two years since I had left the Philippines. Even though I had despaired of ever going back, I finally made the decision to do so December 2002. It took a long time to build up the "Ann wants to visit Ferdie fund." I tried to save what I could from my Kumon paychecks, but I still nearly cleaned out my bank acocunt.
What made the difference was a home improvement project. We wanted a new floor, but before it could be installed, the old floor had to be pried up. Mom paid me a substantial fee to help Dad pry up the old wooden tiles. It took us a week of hacking and scraping with a shovel, but it was done in time. Our laminate flooring was installed over the weekend.
However, an obstacle came up -- the SARS outbreak. Mom didn't want me to go to the Philippines, especially after SARS cases were discovered there. I was determined to go through with my trip, though, so I compromised by changing airlines. Instead of taking a flight with a stopover in Taipei, I took a direct flight with only a stop in Honolulu. I never even left the plane.
I don't regret a bit of it because I enjoyed every moment. It was the best month of my life.