Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Never Been Away

Can miles truly separate you from friends?...
If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?
- Richard Bach -

It’s a time for me to remember anniversaries, November being a month of significant ones.

In the first few weeks of November two years ago, I realized that I had reached rock-bottom in my professional life at RFM Corporation. Though I had verbalized my feelings to my erstwhile boss earlier, this was the turning point to my making my decision to leave the Philippines.

During the first week of November four years ago, I had the first experience of performing Secretariat duties for an international meeting of which I did not have final ownership. Still, those few days in Jakarta are among the most precious moments of my professional life. While not exactly groundbreaking, the first ASEAN-China Business Council meeting did sow the seeds for future interactions.

In the same month seven years ago, Cristina Castillo and I were the SHARE representatives to the Luzon Assembly of the First Lasallian Synod, and subsequently we were selected to the National Conference during the following year. Sadly, that year was also the Year of the Big Decline of SHARE, though the indications of failure were already well-entrenched by then and beyond Cris’ powers of leadership to stop.

At the start of November eleven years ago, my buddies Gerard, Feds, Robert and I formally joined the General Services Committee of the World Youth Day 1995 Secretariat. This was the same experience that enabled me to dispel my agnosticism for good.

On the 10th of November twelve years ago, my Father died. Enough said.

From November 8 to 10 fourteen years ago, we trained Batch 10 of SHARE and in the process I met one of the greatest loves of my life (lost to me, but in the words of W. Somerset Maugham, “The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.”) This batch was also the harbinger of greater things to come for the organization.

Beyond that, the spark of memory sputters a little and the milestones of November begin to fade.

Always November brings that nostalgic rush --- from the cemetery visits to the start of colder weather, to the ubiquitous (and cheesy) Christmas carols, to the somber-yet-anticipatory mood of Advent, and for its own reasons, Bonifacio Day.

Since my social life in the Philippines is held in abeyance until I get back home, all I have is the gift of nostalgia and the memories of so many kindnesses of friends and even perceived enemies.

While I yearn to be with the people I love back home, my spirit is already lifted home. Everything else over here is just gravy. And when I'm back home, I'm also warmed by the thought that there are people over here who I care about and who care about me.

It's like I've never been away.

However, I am presented with a quandary - shall I rely on the seductive transience of my stay here in the Middle East, or wait for the roots of home to engulf me?

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