I’m Going Home

My Symphony: Home by Daughtry
I don’t regret this life I chose for me,
But these places and these faces are getting old…

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Maybe that’s the best part of going away for a vacation – coming home again. ― Madeleine L’Engle, Meet the Austins

This is it. In less than 24 hours, I’ll be on a plane back home. 

Damn. Typing that out just literally sent chills down my spine. There is something about the word “home” that is very powerful in a comforting way. And that’s what I am feeling right now – this almost indescribable feeling of danger and safety. It’s been a long time coming, and now here I am. My bags are all packed, and I am more than ready to go.

The weeks and the months that have led me to this moment hadn’t been smooth-sailing, though. There was a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, a lot of reckless daydreaming and a lot of uphill battles with the people around me and with myself. But I have to say it was all worth it. We take every experience, big or small, and learn from it tremendously.

When I left the Philippines two and a half years ago, I left with one goal in mind: to find whatever it was that I was always looking for. Halfway through high school, I developed this irrepressible longing to leave – leave the city I’m in, leave the people I’m with, leave the life I live. My “past life” (for a lack of a better term) was byzantine, to say the least. I made a lot of mistakes, disappointed loved ones, broke my friends’ trust, caused a lot of emotional trouble and took for granted all the things and moments I now wish I could have back. And instead of facing the world and trying to repair the damaged, I decided to walk away and leave everything behind. And I did that because that’s what I had been wanting to do all along; I wanted to start over, strongly believing that there was another place out there for me which I could call home.

I was wrong. 

I think everybody should leave his or her hometown and go somewhere far at least once in his or her life. Not only is there a myriad of things and life lessons to learn Out There, Out There also makes you appreciate In Here, in a way no other place can. And to me, it’s been an exhilarating ride so far.

Everytime a friend or a family member asks me ,”So when are you visiting the Philippines?” or “Hey Kenn, are you going back here in Bacolod for a vacation soon?”, there’s always this part of me that cringes for some reason. It’s like my heart turns gray and my entire upper body shrinks, and all I want to do is run away screaming like a lunatic. I don’t know, I guess up until now I’ve never really accommodated “visiting the Philippines” as an acceptable oxymoron. Phrases like visit home and vacation in Bacolod sound disturbingly self-contradictory to me. So let us make one thing clear:

I’m not “going on a vacation”; I’m going home.

It’s as simple and as truthful and as accurate as that.

I look at Vancouver and the world that I’ve somehow built here for myself. I look at the bed I’ve been sleeping in for many months; I can see its edges and its weight take up a portion of the wooden floor. I look at our kitchen and then I look inside the refrigerator; I see a dozen eggs with one that’s broken, along with my brother’s sliced cheese which he always reminds us is expensive. I look at the living room; I look at the ceiling, my mom’s new carpet, the big red cushions and the television, which has started to look noticeably old despite its newness. I look inside my closet; I look at the big black bag in which I carefully stuffed all of my notes and physical memories from college. I look at my cat, Dunkley; I see him in the biggest and fattest he’s ever been; I see him groggily walk towards his favorite spot on one of our red-and-white dining chairs, and I see him yawn, stretch, stare devilishly into the air and lull himself back to sleep. And then I look at my pile of luggage sitting tall and proud in one corner of my room. For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself again.

This is why this chapter is very important to me. The farther I’ve been from home, the closer I’ve felt to it. And at these times when I often feel lost and unsure of who I’ve become, I find it crucial to go back to my roots and refresh things a little bit. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had here have all been climactic, and I can never be grateful enough for the opportunity to get to know life and the world around me from such a different perspective. But the time has come. For at least the next two months, I will be in my hometown, the small city of Bacolod. For at least the next two months, I will be breathing a familiar air under a familiar sky. For at least the next two months, I will be storing my clothes and my books in a room inside a house which my feet and my heart have known since I was little. And for at least the next two months, I will be not here, but there.

And there is waiting.

See you soon. 

Verbal Diarrhea

That awkward moment when you only have two subjects in school for the current semester and you live a totally carefree life of slacking and not giving a heck about anything, so you invite a friend of yours for a chat over coffee before you leave the country for a Christmas vacation, and you realize twelve hours before you two meet up that you actually have final exams the whole evening, but you totally forgot about the exams at that particular time because your knowledge of having only two subjects made you too dreamy and busy about thinking of the holidays that you LITERALLY didn’t remember that you have finals to take and worry about, and you fricken have no idea what to do because you have to see that person at this particular time because that’s the last time you’re ever gonna see that person for the year 2011, and when you come back you two may not even meet that often anymore because of the busy and brutally hectic schedule ahead of you next semester, and you can’t even stay up too late with that person after your exams coz you still haven’t finished packing your things, and you suddenly realized that things are about to get even worse given the fact that you have a ruthless and fatal history of motion sickness, and you also realize that the flight you’re gonna be in tomorrow will take 22 hours to finish, so you try to comfort yourself by keeping in mind that MAYBE (just maybe) a 22-hour travel time is not gonna be that bad, like, it’s not gonna be that bad to be up in the air for 22 hours, which is almost a day in your lifetime, but then you are just honest enough and experienced enough to feel and know that you are about to have the longest, most excruciating flight of your life, and you just don’t know how to manage it, and you are totally freaking out that you are trying to express the strong emotions you have in Facebook hoping that it might lessen your anxiety about the farewell to a friend you’re probably gonna miss out on and the plane ride that might make you NOT wanna go back home anymore because you feel so sick of being in planes already, because you know for yourself that you are a land person, that you do not, ever in your life, enjoy being up in the air because you are a human (not a bird), but you just have to brace yourself at the end of the day because there’s nothing you can do about it.

Me no likey.

Gotta love the arrival, but gonna hate the travel. For sure.