A lot can happen in a month. A lot has happened in the past month. I don’t even know where to begin. I do know that in the past month my life has been moving at warp speed and though I try to slow down, it seems that life is always on the go. I don’t know how to put into a few short paragraphs what life has been like this past month, but I’ll try my best to condense it. You know what, that’s what I’ve been doing the past month –condensing and making everything fit, as I did with my maleta. Two weeks ago, I packed my life in a 10-kg luggage and a 5-kg backpack and left Manila indefinitely. It was a short trip, but a life-changing one. It was a trip with a promised new life and with hopes flying high.
A very concerned tita asked if I had heard the news. What news, I said. “Blasts.” She mentioned the two places I was just in a few days ago. I couldn’t yet grasp the magnitude of her report. As far as I knew, I had found a safe haven, a second home, a ‘paradise’. I had been learning in Ecclessiastes that life is unpredictable and death is certain. That lesson and the recent events just hit home to me. I may make plans, dream big dreams, live life to the hilt, but in the end, our lives are in the hand of one, Sovereign God. I know that. I know in my heart that everything runs according to His will. I am suddenly grateful. I’m not hurt; I’m not dead. I am saved. And I am humbled. How, in the midst of all these uncertainties, I stand on a sure foundation.
I’m teaching a class of 8. All of them set on their own adventures with God. I see their happy smiles, hear their curious thoughts, ponder on their quiet reflections and I realize what privilege I have been given to lead young minds to deeper faith. As I was about to leave, I was called to a corner. “This is for you,” she said. I opened and stood in shock. For me? I look up to God and say a quiet prayer. “You know exactly the kind of welcome-home present to give me. You take care of your children like no other.” I am immensely overjoyed. Life’s big blessings come in small envelopes!
I’m home, sun-kissed, tanned, and wishing I was back where the sun and I had an understanding. She would pour out her light on me and leave an evident glow and I would enjoy her without guilt and bask in her radiance. The sun and I had an unspoken agreement. We would enjoy and forget about the current cares because right at that moment, nothing else mattered. It was just her, me and the quiet, unbroken ocean’s horizon. Sometimes, we need moments like these.
One Sunday morning, I boarded a motor boat and took off to hidden islands and secret lagoons. All around me I could hear the dancing of the wind and the billowing of the waves. It was soothing and I was content. It made me forget what worries remain back home. I’m not an escapist, but I like the idea of escaping for a while. I like that I could frolic in the sand or swim to my heart’s content and not even wonder where the waves would carry me. I liked that I had that time alone to wade in the water as a kid would in a pool, and actually find simple satisfaction.
This little town is growing on me little by little. I walked past a shop by the corner of the street and saw a French guy ‘tending’ to his store. Colorful, hippie dresses neatly hanged, sarongs, big summer hats, rings and all sorts of accessories on the table, and the Beatles’ Daytripper playing in the background. What a perfect coincidence, I thought. Or maybe, what timely assurance. I was thinking to myself if I could live on this island away from the comfort of home, friends, loved ones, and then I asked myself, “would I even meet someone here?” I let the question hung in the air.
I remembered to greet an ate back home celebrating her 30+ God-given years. I wonder how many more birthdays I would miss and how many I would just resort to greeting online or through the phone. I wonder about my own birthday. Would I be here in three months time? Would I get to fulfill yet another dream elsewhere? The tricycle rides we took everyday made me feel very provincial, very laidback. As in the city, I didn’t like the noise coming from the motor, or the pollution that defied the city’s claim to fame as the greenest city in the country. I wrote a letter to the Mayor telling him how as a tourist and soon to be a resident, I welcomed the tourism boom. It proves the global appeal of the city. But I was also worried for the human and environmental impact this tourism boom is doing to the city. I wonder: Will I still love this city five years from now?