Thursday, April 26, 2007


At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippines
October 1, 2003

pain comes from leaving fingers
in doors that are closing
~ author unknown

When do we first learn to say goodbye to the most important people, places and things in our life? I think we say goodbye everyday. Sometimes we’re aware of it but most of the time we’re unconscious of it.

During my birth as I was welcomed to this whole new world, I said goodbye to my mother’s womb which nurtured me and kept me safe and secure for nine months.

I said goodbye to my mother when she left me in preschool, and said hello to independence. My school became my second home and my teachers and classmates my second family.

When I moved to another campus during my first year in high school I bid farewell to my childhood friends as I met new girls my age. I moved on from a baby to a lady…from socks to stockings…from toys to boys!

I said goodbye to Daet, Camarines Norte when I transferred to Manila to pursue a higher education. So long conservative high school life in LCCD, welcome to a liberated college life in UP. I was totally on my own. I’ve given up on naivety. I’ve welcomed sorority.

Farewell to carefree me as I become a mother to my baby. I bid farewell to freedom as I tied the knot with my husband.

I said goodbye to FUNSHINE as I welcome a new teaching job in Washington DC. No matter how painful it was for me last March 21, 2003, during the Moving Up Ceremony I had to say a Goodbye Speech instead of the usual Welcome Speech to the visitors, parents and students. I know a part of me will always be there, because FUNSHINE and I are one.

I said goodbye to some things reluctantly and to others willingly. But I’ve made entrances once more after I made exits. “Once God closes a door, He opens a window”… I believe that.

That night I was saying goodbye yet again.

I felt heavy on my chest that moment at the airport. This was it. I had decided to go down on a different path. A path that was not familiar to me. One I had never been before. I would be alone. My family and my friends would not be there for me.


My friends are SO important to me. They're the people I hang out with, the people I talk to, the people I have fun with, and a lot of the time, just the people who put up with me. Good thing I have a very convenient means of keeping in touch with my old friends and sorority sisters through our e-groups.

At the airport, my friends were calling me…Robert, Trixie, Cathy, Gino, Sol, Rainier, James…they all said their “good luck” and “bon voyage”. We said we’ll keep up a correspondence to each other…we said we’ll visit...we said we’ll write…we said we’ll call.

Come to think of it. I met these guys a year before. I consider them my “new” friends. How come it was difficult for me to leave them?

These people made me crazy! I had so much fun with them! And so I choose to hold on to them.

Aside from the fact that they were my buddies whose “presence” was there on the day of my departure, our friendship was built upon the foundation of refined understanding replicating itself over and over. The process of our friendship was plain and simple. Almost everyday we shared together happy thoughts, fun ideas and enjoyable feelings, which eventually recycled into something new and useful, which was then implanted in all of us. It grew into shared experiences and mutual wisdom.

These are the people who introduced us to the fun and fortune at Casino Filipino; and we would pay “The Crown” a visit wherever, whenever. They are our party buddies who made an ordinary day extraordinary, who are party crazy like us. During my last birthday in the Philippines, June 30, 2003, they surprised me at 12:00 midnight when I was planning to just celebrate it with Reiner and Rae. But they just had to be there to share that special moment with me. Our Tagaytay, Matabungcay, and of course, Boracay escapades were the most unforgettable! These people released me from all my inhibitions. They’ve seen the best of me and the worst of me. They are my friends I will always remember.

I recall my friends who left before me, and I never heard from them at all. But I am a person who treasures friends; I’ll keep my promise to keep in touch. I savor each of my old friends like a finely aged cognac.


Like my friends, my family is very important to me. Your family should be the people who love you, care for you, worry about you, and are there for you, no matter what. That's how my family is.

I know if I stumble my family is always there to grab my hand. The road has been rocky for me but their guidance and support is all that I need to succeed.

I cannot count anymore how many despedida dinners they threw out for me. Like me, they were anticipating that I would be leaving earlier. So they were already saying their goodbyes four months before I left.

I remember my sister Tonette paid for one of our get-together dinner (first time in history!), I couldn’t remember where anymore but that was a sumptuous dinner!

Then my brother Junjun paid for another bon voyage dinner after a month at Dencio’s Rockwell (happens rarely, only during special occasions!), where we took some really nice pictures.

Finally, 2 weeks before I left, they came to Pag-asa for lunch and brought a lot of food, mostly my favorites – crabs, shrimps, lengua estupada, barbecue, fruit salad, etc… Mang was there, Tita Vicky and my cousins Chystal and Bingky, and everyone in my immediate family were there.

I cannot count anymore how many goodbyes we said to each other. I remember that afternoon before they left from Pag-asa. Mama was crying heavily as she was saying her goodbye as if I was heading for a lifetime imprisonment or a death sentence.

I said, “Mama, stop howling, I’m not going to die yet, I’m just leaving”.

She replied, “I know, I’m crying because it will be long before we see you again, we’re going to miss you”.

Her eldest daughter is set for a journey to an unreachable place. How sad to think that she couldn’t run to my side anymore when I call for help.

I didn’t bring any of my immediate family to the airport. I wouldn’t want to see them crying like that on my departure. I knew they would make it more difficult for me to go.

I kissed my baby Rae goodbye at the gate of the house, her embrace was tight. I was holding back my tears as she was but I know how much she wanted to cry. I told her she would see me again…soon.

Reiner was the only person with me while I was experiencing the separation anxiety. The less people there with me, the better for me to deal with it. And even with only him beside me, it wasn’t very easy.

He didn’t see my tears, I didn’t see him weep. I know we would miss each other but we never said goodbye…just “take care”. I know soon we will be together again…soon.

I never know where life would take me but I know it’s just a ride on the wheel.

No comments:

Promethean Planet


The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.