i’m glad i went home

June 1, 2009

Yes, I’m glad I did. You know how some people put it, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. I think that’s what happened. I haven’t gone home since Christmas vacation. At first I wasn’t planning to go back home. One: I had only 4 days to spend there. Two: the long travel would be longer because there were lots of ongoing constructions on the “long and winding road”. But a thought just kept nagging that I had to go home. Even for just a while. Just to get away from the fast-paced days in the city that are spinning away like crazy, you’d just be surprised a week has gone by in like 2 seconds.

My sister and I took a 10:45pm trip Sunday night. We didn’t reserve for an earlier trip and were just there as chance passengers because we didn’t think there’d be many people that time. But as it turned out, there were many people going home and we had to kill time (a little over an hour) before we boarded the bus. Guess what we did? Read. I was reading Alcott’s Little Women and my sister was reading Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. One time I lifted my head and saw some people staring at us like we were doing something strange.

We usually just sleep the entire trip home. But I always didn’t fall asleep until we were out of the expressway. Gay was usually asleep even before we entered it. I guess I’ve always been doing that. I feel like I always need to look out after others.

I remember waking up at about half past 4 in the morning the next day. We were just at the second stopover which meant we spent a lot of time on the first mountain range one has to get through to get to Cagayan Valley which I guess was full of “one way” segments because of road constructions. So we got out of the bus to stretch our legs and get some fresh, non-airconditioned air. Summer’s not quite over and yet the mountain air was cold. It always was refreshing that way. I remember being used to such climate when we were in high school. We stayed in Nueva Vizcaya then where the science high school we attended was located.

We usually pass by that province during midnight on a normal trip. But that time, day break caught us there. It was my first time in a long time seeing it again in daylight. And as familiar places showed up so did some familiar things and events in the past. The Bambang bridge: it reminded me of the river, the fields where we walked through and the cemetery we went to just to shoot our Noli Me Tangere photo and video project during the first year in high school. I can’t believe we were just a bunch of 13-year-olds when we went to different places in nearby towns just to do that project. I guess kids nowadays are not putting a lot of heart in their school projects as we did before. Well, that’s just my opinion.

On to the next town where our high school was exactly located. I saw Bangan Hill and was reminded of many adventures. Climbing to the top many times, the kite flying event at the foot of the hill, the river at the back of the hill and escapades and long conversations at its banks. I even noticed the road leading to our apartment before. It’s now fully in concrete. Not the muddy road it used to be.

The next town was where we went to church to back then. We stopped near the house of a popular schoolmate. It was still the same elegant-looking, old house. But across the street, things looked different. In place of the old department store is a McDonalds’.

After 13 hours of travel, we were finally home. Mama picked us up from the bus station and we had lunch at the nearest restaurant. The usual travel would make us on time for breakfast. We made our orders and were sitting when we talked of how long that restaurant had been in town. Gay said since she was in 4th grade and we always noticed that they had the same ate janitor. So we looked for the familiar face. She was still there. I had spicy noodle soup that time. It was great.

We spent that afternoon just resting. I loved the weather the whole time I was home. On the first two days, the sun was shining brightly yet there was always a cool breeze blowing. I was always in my favourite reading spot early in the morning. That was where I had my quiet times with the Lord. It’s like a balcony at the back of our house where you have a perfect view of the beautiful sunrise. By the time the sun had already risen, I would already leave that place because it would be so hot there and would just be cool enough again at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. And there I would also spend almost the whole afternoon reading. On this particular vacation I finished Little Women which I think every girl, whatever her age, should read. And if boys want to learn some really important things about relating with girls, then they should read it too.

I loved the book so much I took note of the paragraphs and the lines I loved. I like how life was back then in the Marches’ time. I’m not saying I don’t like how it is these days but the charm of quiet, country life never lost its appeal to me despite having loved the city life for almost 6 years now. It’s funny how the little incidents, events and problems in a girl’s life that time are still pretty much the same as they are now. Literature really is timeless.

We watched the movie Pride and Prejudice. Like Little Women, I loved it for the same elements: the countryside life, the life of girls back then, the fashion of that time, the beautiful story, and 19th century English. So before taking my place in the long lines this coming enrolment I shall buy Austen’s book from the store where there are used books and i get them for just half the price but still have them look quite new.

We also watched Titanic on TV (Star Movies Japan). So while the audio was English, the subtitle was in Japanese. I practiced my reading and found I still am very slow and the number of kanji characters I know is still very limited. Less than 200 maybe. Haven’t really been practicing for a few months now. I also found out that Gay had not watched the complete movie yet since that time we watched it back in grade school. Is it still the highest grossing movie of all time?

Thursday and Friday we spent at Santiago City where Papa is working. While traveling we noticed a truck that has a sign in its back: “Bug! Kunna”(Ibanag language). Meaning “Bug! It said.” instead of the usual Distancia Amigo sign. “Benta!” was my reaction and we laughed at it.

We stayed at a resort. We also went to a spa; a first time for Gay and me. Very relaxing indeed. I had a really good sleep that night. I also remember, we had yellow silk robes at the spa to which we said: “Ooh. Shiny.”(as Wolverine’s brother said it in the movie). Yes, we loved the way he said it.

We also watched a bowling game that night. DPWH, where Papa worked was up against LandBank. I didn’t know the other matches. Papa is an excellent bowler. Early this year, their team represented Luzon in the national bowling tournament of DPWH. But last Friday, he said it was not quite a good match because many of the players from LandBank were still beginners. He was quite bored so we went home early.

Friday morning I went somewhere in the resort to spend the time alone with God first. I always treasure times like that. Early mornings, alone with God. I can’t fully say how sweet and wonderful they are. Here’s what He told me that morning: “This is eternal life, that they may know You…”

I thank God for how He had led me to go home. Only He knows about how much I miss my family and how much I need their love and encouragement. The five-day stay was really short but God made me enjoy them fully with my family. I wouldn’t have gone back yet if not for certain commitments back here. Our pastor jokingly said, “Huwag ka na muna bumalik dun. Lagi ka na lang sa kanila.” to which I laughed heartily. I’m really so blessed to have 2 church families: GCFN and FCBC.

This, I think, is my last summer vacation as a student. Next year, I will spend it in OJT. What a summer it has been indeed.



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