On the day of our return flight, while at the airport, I started bawling like a baby, tears streaming down my cheeks. I hugged my mom. Then my sister Lynn clapped me on the back, told me to "man up" and we hugged as well. We bid them goodbye, and I continued crying. We passed the first security checkpoint with me in tears. During luggage check-in, I was still weeping. Tears stopped, replaced by mild annoyance when it was time to pay the infernal terminal fee (what the heck is that terminal fee really about?). While waiting for boarding, I texted friends like crazy before I officially turned off the cellphone I was using in the Philippines.
As you can tell, 20 days in the Philippines is still not enough. It was a whirlwind of activity once again. I can't share all of them here (too long a story), but here are the highlights.
There was the wedding. My dark orange gown rocked big time. We all thought that we'd dance the night away, but didn't. The next day, it was off to Boracay where we stayed at La Reserve. This time around, we actually went to the water (I'm not really a waterbaby). When we got back to Manila, we went to Nueva Ecija to visit a distant relative who was hospitalized lately. We made her cry though. She didn't know that we were in the country, much more, that we were visiting her in her house. It was one surprise that I enjoyed doing for her.
Met the rest of my mom-in-law's side for the first time. God bless them all, they're down-to-earth people. I hung out with my husband's younger cousins (younger as in 25+ years old), and I like them!
My sister's weighing scale had me panicked - it said I gained back in one week the weight I lost. A weigh-in using a different scale told me otherwise, tempting me to throw my sister's scale out the window (I didn't).
Got the chance to meet with friends from different periods of my life. Finally told them how the work situation's been here in the U.S. Their votes were unanimous - go back. They'll help me find a good job. The great thing is, I have friends who work in various fields. The bad thing is, I'd need a work visa or employment certification of sorts. I got alternately praised and scolded when my work life was discussed. They have such faith in my abilities, yet they wouldn't hesitate in telling me when I'm wasting my life away. Only goes to show you what good friends they are.
Had a blast hanging out with our U.P. friends on Christmas eve. Gran Matador Brandy, anyone? We downed one bottle before 6 a.m. and lived to tell the happy tale. We thought of going to U.P. for breakfast at Rodic's or even jogging around the academic oval, but it didn't happen. Come to think of it, just for this group of friends alone, it'll be worthwhile to go back to the Philippines. Add the others and all I can say is "oh my!"
Lastly, I had the chance to see how my mom and sister's daily routine goes. We were part of it for a short time, too short a time. I enjoyed staying in their house, going out for breakfast and/or lunch, even buying groceries. Finally met my sister's boyfriend. Yeah, we like him. *thumbs up*
All in all, this trip exceeded my expectations big time. Back in 2009, I fell in love again with the Philippines despite its obvious flaws and quirks (traffic!). That feeling never really went away. Like falling in love with someone, you take the good with the bad with the hope that the good outweighs the bad. Yes, I love the Philippines. I also love the U.S. As it is, I'm not even conflicted about my love for the two countries. It just is. I love them both. If there was a way to combine what I love from both countries into one place, that would be fantastic. I'd move to that place in a heartbeat.