Friday, January 2, 2009

On coming home

That I should write about leaving home again when I had barely slept at the house where I grew up and lived most of my life is a tragedy. But, this is how it works. There’s a time for everything—hellos and … goodbyes.

I spent my Christmas break mostly at home—99 percent of it (maybe 98; you get the point). I barely went out, except to run errands, go to Church, attend family gatherings, and meet friends. Like any home buddy, I turned down invitations for dinners and parties because I preferred staying with the family, lying down with a good book or a TV show I hadn’t seen in ages.

Nothing feels like home. To finally hear my father’s snoring during his afternoon nap and to succumb to my mother’s requests to rub her scalp (because of allergies incurred from dyeing her hair) are to feel that, after 12 months of being away, I’ve finally come back. And the thought of leaving so abruptly makes me sad, not only because I have to do many things when I get back in Manila, but because it will be months again before I’ll be seeing my family—the rest of them.

I tell my friends in Manila how blessed they are to come home to their families every night. Yes, they have to put up with some nagging, restrictions, and prohibitions that parents impose on their kids these days. But, in exchange, they’re able to eat home-cooked meals, go to church together, and quarrel with their siblings—things I only get to do once or twice a year.

I comfort myself that this is a small price compared to the experiences I’ve had so far. When I think about it, being away from home for about five years now has taught me to things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise—like monitoring my laundry or checking if I have enough money left.

But, I’m resigned that if this is how things work, it’s pointless to wish that things were different. If I had my own way, I’d like to study and go home to my family each night, but a plane ticket now costs Php 5000. We’ll starve.

So I’ll pack my bags, return to Manila, go to class, and hopefully come back soon, knowing full well that when I do, I’ll be having the time of my life.



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