Home sweet home

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VALENCIA, NEGROS ORIENTAL — Last month, I took a trip back to New York after a two-year hiatus being away.

Yes, I was very excited for this trip because I actually missed my family and friends whom I had not seen for quite some time. And to be honest, I was really looking forward to experiencing nice cold weather after complaining for two years about the uncomfortable heat here in the Philippines.

In the last few years, traveling has taken a toll on me. Traveling itself is stressful regardless of the reasons for the trip itself. The whole idea of going through various airport securities, having to go in line for checking luggage, hoping that you won’t get charged with overweight fees, then the waiting to board, and of course, being cooped up for hours on end in your seat during the entire flight. But of course, one cannot avoid the temptation of having the chance to visit one’s hometown, New York City once again.

One of the most exciting things I was looking forward to on my visit to NYC was to once again taste all the food that I missed: red velvet cake, toasted bagels with cream cheese and lox, eating at my favorite restaurants, going to my favorite cafes to eat chocolate madelienes, the best apple tart, canolis, napoleon, and sipping good old fashion hot cocoas and capuccinos.

Ah, the essence of food that can take you back to remembrances of things past. Indeed, food is very primal, which is, I think, probably one of the few things that can actually motivate our senses to overcome our fear and laziness to travel.

All was well upon arriving in New York, despite the long, tedious and very arduous flight. After tasting all the food that I longed for, bonding with family and catching up with friends, accomplishing all the business errands that I needed to do, retracing all my usual fun walks neighborhood to neighborhood, then it struck me that I was left with nothing but longingness to come back home, back to Dumaguete, back to our very home in Valencia, where home is now.

That my homesickness for Valencia and Dumaguete as a whole was quite real took me by surprise. It was a realization that was bitter-sweet, because only then did I come to be fully aware that my romantic love affair with New York was ending, and therefore, I must say goodbye despite all that was left; family, friends, memories, my old neighborhood, and my lovely apartment.

For what it’s worth, it was a great love affair that New York gave me, more than I anticipated. And for that, I am forever indebted to all the opportunities it allowed me to have, including finding myself. And I did…

Now, I am faced with a sweet and tender reality that home is now the Philippines (Valencia, Negros Oriental).

A new kind of environment, full of natural indulgences, where gorgeous vegetation and fresh air are abundant, plenty of warm friendly smiles to greet you from anyone, and more importantly, a sweet embrace of comfort from dear friends whom I have become very fond of.

All these great things I mentioned about my new life here are enough to provide me with enormous ease to soothe me of my longingness to come home.

Indeed, it was a good feeling to finally come home.

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