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My Filipino Grandpa

Mia A. PardoBy Mia A. Padro

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey  The heels of my shoes kept making clicking sounds as I walked up a brick steps to my approach of a tall white house.

My Mia! I havent seen you in so long! How are you? There he stood with a cane in his hand, smiling at me. Hey Granddads! I gave him a huge hug. I am good and you? I asked. Good, well lets go inside its too hot out here, you could hear his Filipino accent when he talked.

You hungry? There are cookies right here. He pointed to a box full of chocolate chip cookies. Granddads usually always asked me if I were hungry because he thought I was just too skinny. But I said, No thanks.

Okay, but come downstairs. I want to show you something,  he started to walk downstairs as I followed him.

Granddads walked over to the computer and showed me a picture of my 13th birthday party with all the family in Virginia in the Manila Mail newspaper.

Your Mama sent me the picture and I put it in this weeks newspaper, he smiled.

Thanks dads, this is so cool! Granddads is a writer and editor for this Filipino American newspaper so he always adds pictures of family events in it. I usually like to write a lot sometimes, so I think I inherited that from him.

Granddads told me a story about how he has been writer since he was 20 years old in the Philippines. In fact, I found out that if it was not for him and his job I wouldnt be here. His job required him to move to America, so thats how my mom and her brothers and sisters go here.

As  I looked at Granddads desk I saw a picture of Daga (the nickname the children gave my Grandmother) on the left of his computer. I never really asked him about her that much.. I always thought it would get him upset to think about the time when she was sick. But when we do talk about her from time to time, he always said she was always happy and extremely hilarious.

Granddads has been so strong over the years since she passed away. I really wouldnt know how to deal with that.

Granddads, do you miss her? I asked. I couldnt believe that I said that, but I was curious. What? he said. He noticed I was looking at the picture of Daga.

Oh. Well, yes, I do miss her very much, but I know shes always with me wherever I go A smile appeared on my face. Hes right. As long as we just keep the memory of her still alive, shell always be with us, in our hearts.

Later during the day of our visit,  Granddads started to talk to my Mom in Tagalog, I really didnt understand that much, but I do know a little words here and there, so sometimes I can understand what theyre saying.

I believe Granddads was talking about getting or making lunch. So my Mom and I ordered the traditional Filipino adobo and rice from the Manila Oriental store in Falls Church, Virginia. This, by the way, is my favorite!

While we were eating, Granddads asked me about school, dance, music and a lot of things Im also into.

Im sometimes really happy when he asks me about that stuff because it shows that he remembers and cares.

I never see him as much as I would want to because we live in New Jersey. But when I do, Im glad I get to spend time with him. Granddads is a very intelligent and loving person.. And Im very lucky and proud to call him my grandfather.

(Mia is 13 years old and is in 8th grade in a New Jersey public school. She is the daughter of Joe Padro, a Puerto Rican, and Marilou R. Alfaro, a Filipino. They  reside in Atlantic city, New Jersey.) <D>

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