It has been six months since I came back to the Philippines to start a new adventure. Right now it feels like I never really left. The memories of the sojourns I had the past few years felt just like that, memories.
Now, I am trudging on a new path I uncovered for myself.
It has been great.
But like any new life event, it comes with busyness and adjustment.
Settling in my new place; making my apartment feels like home. Getting to know better my role in my job; learning how to be effective in it. Meeting new friends; spending time with them. Spending time with old friends; picking up to where we left off. Getting used to having family time again; making sure it is quality time spent. A lot has been going on.
I forego slowing down, finding time, introspecting, writing for a while.
It was 7 AM. I was sprawled in bed covered in the usual white duvet that is a standard in most hotels. It was a day off. I was meaning to sleep in because hello, it is a day off so I was firing expletives in my head for that person who pinged me at such an hour.
I checked the phone.
Fernanda: Are you awake?
Me: Barely. Only one eye is open.
Fernanda: Wake up! Go online in Skype.
I think I fell asleep for a good few seconds.
Fernanda: Where are you?! My students want to talk to you!
Me: Bekle! (It means wait in Turkish.)
Me: I am still in bed crazy woman! (Some people don’t know the concept of time difference. Omaygad!)
And that was it. I went online and saw gawking sixteenish to eighteenish Brazilian students who look older than the 30 year-old, barely awake, clad in my pajamas me asking questions like why do Asians love to eat rice and is it really true that I am 30 because honestly I look like 12. Ok, I made that up. I don’t remember anymore what we talked about. As I said, I was barely awake.
I don’t even know why I agreed to talk to them with my unwashed face, unkempt hair, and barely functioning neurons. Maybe that was it. The brain was still booting. Oh, one thing I remember though, they wanted to see how my pajamas look like or if I am really wearing pajamas. These Brazilians.
I miss Fernanda.
It has been almost two years since we were physically together. The last time I saw her was when my Turkish host family hosted a farewell dinner for me in their home. She came over together with other dear international and Turkish friends to bid me goodbye as I pack and fly back to the Philippines the following day.
There were no tears that night. I think. But we know that it could possibly be the last time we will see each other in this lifetime. What are the chances of meeting again? We live in the opposite sides of the world. I am from the Philippines. She is from Brazil. A few days after I left Turkey it was time also for her to go. We will be crafting our real lives back home and will be busy to make sense of the years that we are blessed with.
Today, as I lie again in my bed covered with the white duvet, I came across this blog on Bucket List. Inspired to make mine too, though I know I have done it several times in the past but have lost the paper where I wrote my stuff, I grabbed my red journal and started scribbling.
I divided it into two groups, Bucket List for 2013 and the Ultimate Bucket List. My concept and titles were not really original. I just copied it from the blog. And I found myself writing in the Ultimate List, Meet up with Fernanda again.
We know we always lament that we want to see each other. Being the Latina that she is, she is so sappy and melodramatic every time we talk about it. It sounds gayish to a point.
But I guess that’s how it really is. I guess we represent one beautiful part of each other’s lives. And it is with having each other, reminiscing all those good things again and again, that we keep those memories alive. Those memories that we are clinging to and we hope will never escape us ever in this life.
So yeah, that’s one of the ultimate things I hope to strike out from my list before the time expires. Good luck to us.
There are things in life that shock us to our core and make us ask difficult questions which have no answers.
But then there are things in life that we graciously accept, not because we admitted defeat, but because deep within we know that that’s just the way it is.
Eventually for everybody, that’s just the way it is.
I have been trying to converse with the self. The I and the Me. Nobody wants to do the talking. Both are very quiet, pensive, brooding.
It is still a loss, says this person who has the front row seat now in my life.
I know. It is a loss. But I am surprised with the self. Instead of wailing and crying and questioning and bargaining, the self was still.
I can even say peaceful.
I don’t know where this foreboding feeling is coming from. There is sadness of course. But more than that, what is overpowering above all else is calmness.
“At the end of it all, the only question that matters is that did she have a happy life?”, the person asked.
I cannot answer that. Nobody can answer that.
But remembering those quick, stolen times when I caress her, tease her and share all my stupid stories to irritate her and make her laugh, I want to believe that even for a moment I made her happy.
“Lespoy, kelan ka mag-aasawa?” she always asks every time I bid her goodbye from my visit.
“Nanay! Ano ba?! Ang ganda ko kaya. Wag kang mag-alala. Bata pa ko. Tsaka bukas na lang! Gabi na kaya!” Then I will give her a hug and a kiss, bring her hand to my forehead and then quickly run to the car.
She will always stay by the gate to see me off. She’ll wave. I’ll wave. I’ll honk the horn, she’ll close the gate and then I will speed off.