Hannah and Ate Sara jumped out of the car and excitedly ran down the grassy pathway to their grandparents’ house. It was a long weekend, and their mom decided it was high time the two girls went to see their farm in the province. “Lolo and Lola always visit us in Manila,” Mama had said as they packed their bags in their bedroom back home. “Let’s visit them for a change! Besides, aren’t you curious about where I grew up?”
Their grandparents stepped off the terrace and the girls met them by the path. “Mano po, Lolo Nino! Mano po, Lola Lina!” the two girls said. Lola Lina enveloped them in a big hug while Lolo Nino gathered their bags and led them inside the house.
After spending an hour or so catching up with her parents over coffee, Mama decided that it was time to leave.
“I want to drive while there’s still light,” Mama said, checking her watch, which said 3:30 pm. She kissed and hugged the two girls goodbye, settling into the driver’s seat and slipping the key into the ignition. After a few minutes, Mama was off, her car rounding the lane and disappearing from view.
The girls walked back to the house. “Time to watch Pinky Pie!” Hannah exclaimed, referring to her favorite online personality. “I can’t wait to watch her new video!” Ate Sara grabbed her tablet, opening the video-sharing app Kiddie Tube. Hannah saw her brows furrow. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“There’s no Wi-Fi,” Ate Sara answered, her eyes wide in dismay.
Uh-oh! “Is there a mall nearby with free Wi-Fi?” Hannah wondered. Lolo Nino, who was helping Lola Lina carry the used coffee mugs into the kitchen, overheard her. “No mall in this town,” he said. “No Wi-Fi anywhere near, either. Just good ole grass, trees, and animals everywhere!” He finished cheerfully.
Hannah and Ate Sara looked at each other. No Wi-Fi? This weekend was turning out to be a major DISASTER! What were they going to do?
Lola Lina glanced at Hannah, who was clutching her mobile phone, and at Ate Sara, who was hugging the tablet. “Why don’t you girls put down your gadgets and play outside? Enjoy the sun and fresh air here while you can!”
Lolo Nino looked at their miserable faces and laughed. “Come, come! I want to show you something.”
The two girls reluctantly followed their grandfather to the back of the house. After a few minutes of plodding through itchy grass, they caught sight of some brown and white-colored beasts grazing in a meadow. Hannah’s eyes widened.
“Wow, is that a real cow? I only see those on Kiddie Tube!” she exclaimed.
“Did you know that your mom had a pet cow named Bessie?” Lolo Nino said. “This is Bessie’s great granddaughter, Tessie,” he stroked the head of a pretty white cow. “Here, you can feed her if you want.” Lolo Nino pulled up a handful of grass and handed it to Ate Sara. Ate Sara held up the grass to feed Tessie. She laughed when the cow’s lips touched her hand. “It tickles!”
Cluck, clack, cackle!
The girls turned toward the strange sound. It came from a row of cages filled with hay. They tiptoed closer, curious to see what was inside the cages. Suddenly, a beak poked out; it was a chicken!
“Take a look!” Lolo Nino opened the door to the chicken coop, showing the clucking hens.
“Are those—?” Ate Sara asked. “Eggs?! From live chickens?” Hanna exclaimed, surprised. “But I thought eggs came from a factory!” Lolo Nino and Ate Sara couldn’t hold back their laughter.
“No, apo. Here, we have the freshest eggs in town. It was your mom’s task to gather the eggs for breakfast every morning,” Lolo Nino explained, smiling.
“Hello, hello!” Lola Lina called out, walking toward them and carrying a huge basket and a pitcher.
The two girls ran over to help her.
“What’s inside, Lola?” Ate Sara asked, grunting as she took the basket from her grandmother.
“My special palabok!” Lola Lina declared. She led everyone under a giant acacia tree and laid out a big blanket under its shade. She set out plates and heaped servings of steaming hot saucy noodles on them, and handed out glasses of orange juice.
The girls plopped down on the blanket and dug into the hearty meal. Their grandparents watched them, smiling fondly.
“So,” Lolo Nino began. “Do you still need Wi-Fi?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
The two girls shook their heads. “I can’t believe I forgot all about Wi-Fi,” Ate Sara said. “Me, too,” Hannah chimed in. “I like having Wi-Fi, but I think I like seeing things—like cows!—in real life better.”
“And I love being with you, Lolo and Lola,” Hannah added shyly. Ate Sara nodded. “We will miss you very much when we go back to the city,” she said, starting to look sad.
Lolo Nino made a tsk-tsk sound. “Now, now, why so glum? Cheer up, we still have the whole weekend together!”
“And I can feed Tessie again tomorrow!” Ate Sara announced.
“And I can see the chickens again tomorrow! … And maybe get eggs for breakfast, just like mom did?” Hannah looked at her grandparents.
Lolo Nino and Lola Nina laughed. “Of course, my dear apos,” Lola Lina said. “Let’s have a grand time while you are here. And you know, we can always visit you on your birthday…”
“Or maybe…” Hannah said as she thought out loud, “maybe we can visit you here!”