I was supposed to go to Bulacan yesterday for tree-planting with co-workers. But as it turned out, my sis was flying in from Japan and had several hours to kill before her connecting flight to Davao. It’s been five months since I sent her off for her graduate studies in Japan. She has now finished her basic language course and has decided to come home for a few weeks before classes resumed in October.
Expecting a lot of waiting time at the airport, I packed a gadget magazine and a novel in my blue backpack and then took the MRT-bus route to the Centennial Airport. Just a few minutes upon setting foot on the airport grounds, my cellphone buzzed. It was my sis calling from an airport payphone telling me where to meet her. What, PAL isn’t late!, I thought. I was mildly disappointed that I couldn’t make use of the reading materials I had brought along.
Achi spotted me easily as I brisk-walked to our meeting place near the entrance to the airport restaurant. Walking towards her, I started laughing, amused to see that my fair-complexioned lawyer sis has turned several shades tanner. For some reason, the image of her riding a bicycle in Hiroshima under the sun and getting dark in the process was funny. You’d understand if you knew her. Hehe.
We shared stories over snacks. I gave her a bundle of pictures from my US trip last March to give to the parents. I had no time to write captions so I just told her tell the parents that the stories behind the images will have to wait until I come home for Christmas. Then I asked her to enumerate three things she has learned about herself thus far while living in a different country and relating with internationals. Without her permission and as my “punishment” to her for still refusing to start a blog despite my persuasive arguments, I am listing her answers here (as I remember and understand them now).
Liza learned that:
1. Her faith has grown deeper as a result of being transplanted from her comfort zone. In her words, “Mababaw pala yung spirtuality ko…”(Amen! Nothing like complete strangeness to make you rely on God for your everything – yes, even for the grocery stuff you’re buying which are all labeled in gibberish, er, Japanese.)
2. She is not a natural risk-taker or let’s-try-something-weird kind of person. (I strongly suspect that this is a family thing. What can I say, we are a bunch of pessimistic chickens – but trying hard to recover. Haha!)
3. She can do far more and better than she first thought she could. Case in point: Her thank-you speech, delivered in Japanese (!) and on behalf of her batch, was well-received and commended. Way to go, sis! (I know this elating feeling, which comes from surprising even yourself at what wondrous things God can enable you to deliver given the opportunity and pressure. God’s grace abounds!)
By now, Achi is comfortably home in Davao, distributing pasalubong to the grinning and clapping nephews and neice, recounting stories to Popsy, and enjoying our Ma’s heavenly sinigang.
Our soles may itch to embark on adventures that bring us to far away places – to learn new things and experience life in a whole new way – but, thankfully, our souls stubbornly draw us back to the familiar, to home. Even for just a time. Before the next adventure beckons.