There is an unwritten golden rule that no self-respecting Filipina should ever be without pearls. My mother never observed this rule for herself, but was very adamant that I do, and have worn pearls ever since my Middle School days, almost without fail. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I obtained my first strand, and I wore them with great pride. After I got married and left the Philippines, I made sure that pearls were part of my signature look that marked me as a proud Filipina, hailing from the Pearl of the Orient.
Over the years, with all the moving and travelling that my life has been built upon, one or the other other pearl was left behind or was tragically misplaced. For as long as I returned to Manila on a regular basis and visited the pearl market in Greenhills, replacement was never an issue. Somewhere in my early 40s I finally took the big step and graduated from freshwater pearls to south sea pearls, as I had reached the matronly age dignified of wearing them, or so I was told.
Somewhere between Bangkok and Manila, my favourite south sea pearl earrings went missing and there was no way of tracing them. By this time, life had caught up with me, and I had other things on my mind than my pearl earrings. My standard strands still kept me company, and I had a few “replacement” earrings, but something was always amiss. Until yesterday.
As my daughter unpacked her suitcase, she handed over a few things she brought back from the family visit with her father, and lo and behold, my missing earrings were among them! Neither of us have any clue how they really ended up in Mexico, but my theory is that between our sharing and borrowing, they travelled the following route: Manila – Bangkok – Manila – Florence – Bangkok – Mexico – Berlin.
My talismans are back and just in time too, as I have my interview for the citizenship application!