After more than 3 months, I went back to the place where I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life and where I’ve established deep roots which I believe can never be uprooted. I was surprised though at the familiarity of everything. Every nook, every cranny, every street, every sight – it seems I was only here yesterday. Everything was so familiar, even with the constructions which I left half-finished already finished by now, everything still looked the same to me. It was as I imagined, I can navigate this place even if I’m blind.
Yet, somehow, a lot has changed. I do not seem to know the people as much as I did before. Three months seem to be such a long time for a lot of activities, life decisions, momentous occasions and accomplishments to have happened. It seems their lives had moved on and I have missed a lot.
I have looked forward to this event for weeks. Subconsciously, I really missed my old life particularly the friendships I’ve forged. And as such was my driving force to fit as much activity, as much meeting as I can to every second spent near them that I forgot that these four days were also my rest days from the long hours sacrificed at work for this specific occasion. I kept forgetting that upon my return, there won’t be another day-off till after I complete another cycle of calls.
But I am most definitely grateful for the tiny fraction of whatever time I have spent with each of them. Even just watching and listening to their giggles and laughter, their stories of which I can only wonder in amusement, I am most definitely rewarded for my trip.
When I left, I never imagined that losing my social network to miles of travel would be such a hard feat. I learned that by nature I am an introvert – able to survive on my own. But being on my own, I found out that I am not such an introvert after all. I like to talk and to mingle just like any extrovert in town and I like to be surrounded by people even if all I do is just watch and listen to them talk.
Today is my last day here. It will be a long time before I manage to see them again. And even on this visit I wasn’t able to see as many of them as I wanted. But I am content with whatever I have been offered.
Already I am missing Manila and all that it represents and holds dear to me.