The Mountain and I

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Cafe Veniz, 5:06 PM

We sit together
The mountain and I
Until only the mountain remains.

– Li Po, “Alone Looking at the Mountain”

They say that where you’re from says a lot about who you are.

It’s been months since I’ve been home, and a lot of realizations have passed since I was last here.  In the beginning, I thought that I would never leave.  There will always be steady employment in the ESL schools and the call center industry, if I really wanted to.  There will always be a roof above my head, dinner on my table, and clothes on my back, without me ever having to leave.

There’s a lot about Baguio that I never wanted to leave, which is why I ended up crying when the bus made its first stopover months ago.  Maybe the emotions came from a 23-year-old young man who, for the very first time in his life, will live independently.

In eight months of working my ass off, I realized how much I depended on the mundane-ness of everyday, taken-for-granted situations just to get through life.  For my first few months in Manila, I longed a little too much for what I already had, not what I can have.  Granted that Manila is not the land of infinite opportunity, but it’s there that I found a career path that was not available to me had I stayed here.  Yet even with that said, there’s only so much sentimentality that kept me from shedding tears when I did come back home.

Even for just a few days.

Man, it’s cold here.

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