The hol­i­days are re­ally over

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By ALEX M. EDUQUE

THE ti­tle says it all. But re­ally, I should be grate­ful for many things – first and fore­most, that I had an amaz­ing, re­lax­ing and spec­tac­u­lar hol­i­day in my happy place and sec­ond home. And se­condly, that I ac­tu­ally had an ex­tended hol­i­day and am start­ing my “work year” a week later than every­one else. I should not be com­plain­ing at all es­pe­cially be­cause I am back re-charged in the best pos­si­ble way for the year ahead, yet I am sure that every­one can some­how re­late to my cur­rent mind­set – a hun­dred per­cent phys­i­cally present but try­ing to still men­tally bounce back into the daily grind. If any­thing, I think this mas­sive hol­i­day han­gover was caused by the most in­cred­i­ble past month; and mem­o­ries of this most re­cent trip is def­i­nitely what’s go­ing to take me through the year.

You see, the irony of it all (which has got­ten me even more con­fused and mud­dled up) is that when I was study­ing in New York, I could not wait to pack my bags at any chance I had to get on a flight back home. For four years, I would look for any and ev­ery ex­cuse to fly half­way across the world (the eigh­teen-hour fly­ing time seemed like noth­ing then) to be in Manila. Three plus years af­ter mov­ing back home, and though this has not been the first time I have been back since grad­u­at­ing, I find it harder and harder to leave the city that has be­come such a big part of me ev­ery sin­gle time I go to visit – I am think­ing maybe this time was just that much more dif­fi­cult be­cause of how long I had the lux­ury of stay­ing and get­ting lost in the won­ders of it all.

You see, as crazy and in­tox­i­cat­ing as New York City can get (it’s the city that never sleeps for many ap­par­ent rea­sons) it is the one place whose en­ergy is so in­vig­o­rat­ing (although tir­ing at times), yet I do not mind get­ting zapped into. It is the one place I bask and cher­ish get­ting lost in be­cause I find that each and ev­ery time, I find more rea­sons to love it. Af­ter all, it is the city that has nur­tured my mind in a most for­ma­tive part of my life. It has seen me grow up (and fall down) and pick up so many times over that many cor­ners have be­come sen­ti­men­tal. It has taught me to live in ev­ery mo­ment, to laugh at my­self and lit­er­ally, to love with all my heart. And for many more rea­sons I will spare you the agony of read­ing through, what I’m get­ting at is that while the con­cept is vague un­til it be­comes re­lat­able to you, each and ev­ery one of us has our happy place. A place where the wind blows airs of happy en­ergy for us. One where we’re able to just em­brace ev­ery part of – the good, the bad, the ugly – and where we can re­turn to ev­ery sin­gle time know­ing that what­ever the ex­pe­ri­ence is, it’s some­thing we’re able to take back to en­rich our souls for years to come. Whether it be a city, a coun­try or even a cor­ner of your bed­room, your happy place is some­thing that can never be fully ex­plained, in the same way that it can never be taken away from you. You will al­ways have your happy place. For­ever and ever.

And with your happy place, is also that place you call home. And while I did live in New York for four great years, it never quite be­came com­pletely that to me no mat­ter how much I came to love it. For home is where the heart is (as cliché as that say­ing goes). To me, it will al­ways be where my fam­ily re­sides. So while this past month New York has been “home” be­cause I was blessed to spend a glo­ri­ous month over there with them, it’s safe and suf­fice to say that my happy place has al­ways been and will al­ways be my home away from home. Un­til my next trip to my happy place, I have th­ese mem­o­ries to look fondly back at. I al­ready can­not wait, but for now, it’s back to re­al­ity…

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