Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Talking with Erlinda

I didn't record her speaking, I didn't write anything down. But I remember what she had said and what she did--even then, I'm not sure if I fully understood what she was saying. Whitney had asked Erin and I if any one of us in our class was fluent in Tagalog, so I believe her English wasn't very fluent.

Erlinda, 86?

Lived in the Philippines—her father has passed
Three children: Noel, Rodell, Dennis—all sons
Her children adored her
Wants to go home, can’t get back—no money back in the Philippines, can’t use her right hand, can’t walk, two large swells on her face--along her jawlines
Clothes—no clothes? She made clothes in the Philippines? She kept point at my clothes and her clothes.
Her sons are big, bigger than me—age range 30-50 (age kept changing for each children, she can’t remember very well)
Debt? One of her sons is in debt?
No money

Near the end, I tried scooting closer to her (almost to the point of resting my chin on her arm rest) since I still couldn't really hear her very well. While she was talking she suddenly touched my face and pulled back my hair a little. It shocked me, but I didn't want to pull back in fear of hurting her. After a little while, she reached out to me and I let her touch my hair in a gesture that seemed like she was trying to pull back my hair again.

With the play-doh, she made random shapes. Just played with them and laughed--she laughed when I told her I had no idea what I was making, too. After a while when I got the courage to ask her a question, the play-doh shapes she made slowly molded back into one as she talked more and more about her despairs.

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