Friday, April 21, 2017

Not a Love Letter

Dear you,

It's been roughly four months. How are you? I hope you are doing just fine, and I don't mean that sarcastically. I mean it. Period.

Me? I'm good. I am still out of a job but other than that, I'm good. I'm physically healthy, financially okay, and I have better skin than I've had in months. I needed to mention that because I felt that my skin problems were stress-related. Maybe that's because I am no longer as stressed out as I used to be. No need to go into details, you know how it is with my previous job, right? I'm good, as in I'm happy that I got to tick a lot of items in my bucket list. Since I have a lot more time for other things than I used to. Emotionally? It's safe enough to say that I am getting there. I no longer cry whenever I think of you. I am no longer angry at you. I see your name popping up in our group chats and I no longer feel the urge to hurl my phone at the wall. Occasionally, I even smile whenever I remember our adventures. 

An adventure. That's what you are. I guess, in some ways more than one, the people in our lives are like adventures. They bring us different experiences. They make us feel different emotions. Some excite us, some make us happy, some make us sad, and some are simply just adventures that we wish we never took. You are all of those I've mentioned, except for the last one. Don't let this get to your head, but I am glad that I have known you. Yes, you've hurt me but then again, people hurt us all the time, intentionally or otherwise. It's just that the extent of the hurt people have brought into our lives vary. And the length of the healing process varies as well. 

For you, it's roughly four months. It would have taken longer had I wallowed in misery. More importantly, it would have taken longer had it not been for the people who were there for me along the way. Some of them are people I've known for years - I'm grateful for them being a constant in my life. Some of them are people I've met during my travels - I'm hoping that my path would cross with theirs again. And some of them, surprisingly, are people that I have met through you - and that is something that I am extremely thankful to you for. If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have met them. And this is why I will never, ever regret knowing you. So thank you.

I guess that's it. I really have nothing more to say, except stay healthy and good luck on your endeavors. 

Sincerely,
Me.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tales from My Travels: Souvenirs and Room Rentals

I sat on the table eating my breakfast of instant noodles and crackers. I was getting ready to go on my tour. The old woman who owns the house sat with me, watching wistfully. I offered her some food and she politely declined saying that she already had breakfast. I smiled at her.

I asked her how long she has been renting out the rooms in the house. She said that she and her husband have been opening their doors to travelers for a few years now. She said that they started out by making keychain souvenirs and selling them to tourists. But it wasn't enough so they decided to rent out the rooms to travelers so they can make more money. She said that it still barely enough because most tourists would only visit during weekends. Then she told me more.

She told me that she and her husband have six children who are now all grown-ups. She told me about how the eldest one went on a different path and chose to stop studying. He ended up being unemployed for quite some time before ending up with a job at a construction site. She said that he brought her lots of disappointments. She told me about how kids numbers two through five have all completed their studies and are now working in their chosen fields. One of them is a teacher at the nearby public school. One of them works as an engineer in a province south of Luzon and that he only comes home about one to two times a year. She told me that she already has grandchildren. She told me about her youngest being the only one left studying. He only has one more year of education left. She told me about how her eldest regretted not finishing his studies. She told me about he glad she was that he learned from his mistakes.

She told me about their struggles in life. She told me about how she and her husband had to work hard on a very minimal income just to be able to feed their children and put them through school. She said that they had a very difficult life and that it brings her happiness to see her children all grown-up and successful despite everything that their family has been through. She said it with a proud smile on her face and tears in her eyes.

Listening to her stories, I tried to hold back tears. I studied the wrinkles on her face which showed how the years passed and how they molded her into this strong woman in front of me, albeit aged. And I thought to myself how tough and resilient she must be to be able to survive everything that they have been through. Then the tour guide came to pick me up and I felt kind of sorry that our conversation was over. I wanted to hear more of her stories.

Later that day as I was leaving and bidding my host goodbye, I felt kind of sad. Her home was my home for one night and she showed me nothing but sincere hospitality. She handed me something and when I looked at it, I saw that it was a keychain. I tried to refuse it because I know that these keychains are her source of income, apart from the room rentals. She insisted and told me that it was something for me to remember them by. So that the next time I visit, I will still choose to stay at their home. I smiled, and tried to hold back tears as I attached the keychain to my wallet. Upon leaving, I vowed that I will definitely come back.