Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gossip Girl: The Last Days of Disco


Previously on Gossip Girl:
The Valley Girls

Morning Sleepyheads! Time to wake up from bad dreams, roll out of our beds and start making plans for a brighter future. Even if it means we need to leave the past behind.

"We are now processing the 'Application of Immigrant Visa & Alien Registration' form and I need some information from you. I am scanning you a copy of the draft form for you to fill out the missing information in a separate piece of paper … "

The letter went on and on but all I could do was read the first line over and over again. So this is it ... the time has come.

I shouldn't have been so surprised. I have always known I would leave the Philippines one day. When I was twenty two, my mom, dad and my sister migrated to the U.S. I was left behind because I had exceeded the age limit mandated by their law.

My parents eventually petitioned for me and well, it looks like I am finally coming home. Or … was I?

Home is such a powerful, visceral word that resonates in every human being, the idea of a place where you belong. But somehow, over my years of growing up, it has seemed to elude me, how it always felt like it was here but inexplicably over there at the same time. Every part of me seemed miles and centuries apart and each place and time called itself my home.
Where ... or what ... or who is home?
I left my hometown Cotabato City when I was thirteen to study in Manila. I lived alone for four years and stayed at a dormitory. I suppose I was forced to grow up much faster than a normal young boy. I had to take care of myself, buy my own groceries, budget my own money, plan my schedules, be independent.

My parents were always supportive but they were just so far away and it was at that age when plane fares would cost an arm and a leg. And  we weren't rich. So visits were far and few in between.

My sister eventually joined me when she came here for her college education. Those were some of the happiest years of my life. My sister and I share an intimate bond that I think … no, that I know will last forever. And yes, Rudeboy, I know forever's an awfully long time. Such a word isn't to be taken lightly.

So I know I should be happy that I will be joining them, but why do I feel more sad than joyful? I suppose, instinctively, I knew this is one of those life changing moments in our lives, that I was leaving a place and a time I can never go back to. Because when I do go back, I would no longer be the same man. And people and friends would have changed and moved on with their lives. And all that's left, sometimes, are our memories of days gone by.

Manila is the sum of everything that I am and more; who I am when I drink and dance with my friends on Saturday nights, who I am when I wake up with a stranger in my bed, who I am when I get lonely during cold nights, who I am when I find love, who I am when I lose it.

Yet it seems I must go away and leave it all behind to find my future.
"Honey, I have news," I told Fran and took a deep breath. "My visa might finally come anytime soon."
"Oh," she replied, caught by surprise. "Wow. When do you think you're leaving?"

"Sometime next year. I'm trying to delay it until around July," I said. "It's all very uncertain but we still have some time," I said and smiled at her.

She nodded. "I'm happy for you hun. I've always known you were meant for great things, you were always bound for somewhere else. Somewhere not here. And you finally get to be with your family."

"I know. But … you're my family too Fran. I mean, we raised each other. All of the boyfriends and mean girls and break-ups and crazy family dramas, we learned through it together. You're my best friend."

"Do you think I'll make it there?" I asked her quietly. "Do you think I'll be lonely? What will I do without you Fran?"

"All I know is you will shine, like you always have, like you always will," Fran said as she tried to reassure me.

"I'm not so sure about that," I replied.

"I am," she said. "Ikaw pa. (You of all people.) It looks like you're heading to one big adventure hun. I only wish I can be there to share it with you. Aren't you excited?"

"I guess it's because ang saya saya ko dito (I guess it's because I'm really, really happy here)," I said wistfully.

"I know. You have a comfortable life, money, an amazing job, wonderful friends, you get to travel and you get a lot of boys. For most people, it's enough," Fran said.

"For most ... sigh."

"Except, you're not like most people. I know it's hard to leave but I know you also know you need to do this," she continued.

"I do hun, I do. Manila's getting too comfortable, and I still have other dreams to fulfill." I said.

"I guess this is it huh," I finally said and gave her a smile.

"I guess it is," Fran said.

And all in an instant, everything changes. We leave the past behind and speed toward the unknown. Our future.

But no matter how old we get and how far we go, we always need a place to call home. Because without the people you love most you can't help but feel all alone in the world. But only time will tell ... if they'll stay or leave you too.



joelmcvie said...

It's sad AND exciting times ahead, honey. And Life always rolls on. Pretty soon you'll leave the sad, like yesterday, behind.

It's probably just separation anxiety, honey. Besides, the world is smaller now.

rudeboy said...

"Manila's getting too comfortable, and I still have other dreams to fulfill."

There you go.

And there you go.

Leo said...

Wow, I never thought that you'll have doubts in surviving abroad. I've always perceived you to be a strong and indomitable person.

Kane is really human after all. LOL.

Seriously though, I think you'll make it big there. :)

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

You are such a wonderful man Kane. i understand how you feel. When i left the country at my age of 35 and start it all over in Taipei, I cried and it was scary because home (Palawan) has been so good to me. But i have dreams to fulfill. And now I make it to Canada. And I am starting to see what I have been working on and e result of my sacrifices.

Home wlll never leave. You can always come back to visit. But the chance for a good future with your family if here now, grab it.

Take care! God bless!


engel said...

last days of disco indeed.

the great thing about having two homes, if you find yourself unhappy where you're going, you'll still have somewhere you can go back to.

but that's still a few months away. hope to see you again before you go. :)

Spiral Prince said...

I'm missing you already, K. :(

john stanley said...

will you survive? well you'll never know 'til you take that plunge.

Désolé Boy said...

They say you ought to know when to leave the party. I just think Manila's parties will never be the same without you Kane.
Now, go out there and conquer the world. We all know you can. ;D

citybuoy said...

Kane, not you too. :(

Anyway, it all seems very exciting. Lots of people would be killed to be standing at that crossroads.

I agree with Fran. You aren't like most people. Soar high! :)

Mac Callister said...

oh...aalis na di pa tayo nagkikita ahaha!

I understand how u feel...parang doon kasi panibagong umpisa na naman...e sa pinas u masaya ka na.Parang u have this feeling na u dont need to go sa US anymore.

try mo nalang...kung di fit...u could always go back sa pinas :-)

Anonymous said...

missing you.

i will miss you more...


ıǝɹɯɐı said...

good luck on your new ventures :)

Anonymous said...

oh my. i was engrossed with you leaving the country, i forgot fran.

hi fran!!! hope to see you soon!


Nate said...

you're a ray of sun, Kane.. this part of the world has had lots of shine from you. but, i think over there you'll shine brighter.. whatever you decide, I'm sure you'd do well.. bonne chance!

Nimmy said...

Ay! Parang Oprah lang! May pasabi na malapit na magtapos ang last season. Hihi :)

R. Burnett Baker said...

Everything you've said and imagined is true. Or not. Despite all those cliched sayings of "...Home Is Where The Whatever Is..." the definition changes constantly.

The older I get, home becomes where I was born, Texas, although I've lived in New York longer than anywhere in my life. When I travel, for too long, I long to go "home" to Rochester, NY. So how?

But you have time at your advantage. You MUST explore the world because you question these very subjects. And you will prevail in your reasoning because you are able to find answers. Don't ignore the emotions, but I'm confident you will never sell yourself short!

One thing, though: DO NOT LEAVE US. The blog and writing MUST go on. Not for you, necessarily, but for those of us who learn from you.


SunnyToast said...

Goodluck in your new adventure:) things are coming in your way...just be strong:)

nOx said...

am glad to have met you before you leave. you are such a charming person and it's high time for you to inspire more people. cheers!

Anonymous said...

Totally felt the same thing, had the same thoughts before I came here in SG. Only that, in my case, it's the other way around--been with my family for my entire life and I never knew how it's like to be alone and independent. Now, I'm just by myself here. It's bittersweet.