I've come to really like this place called Macau. What does one do with lifelong friends? What I'll call the "Asian aesthetic" molds well to my heart and way of living; the people who I barely know after four short months, who have adopted me into their professional, church, and even family community has come at a total surprise. I have some closer friends in Macau than some acquaintances at the school I've been at for five years. So, what does one do when they have to get up and go? Some of that feeling is here and now as I approached my departure date.
Looking helplessly at the state of my apartment, I realized my procrastination not only comes from that I work well on a fast approaching deadline, but that I didn't want to leave. I've grown close to the people, I've made close friends, I've walked the land, I've eaten the food, and loved the kids. From Macau I went to Hong Kong and the Philippines. Flashback to Hong Kong the day before my departure to the Philippines:
The BP International Hotel in Hong Kong is related to Lord Baden-Powell, the "inventor" of modern-day Boy Scouts. Watching the people of the hotel, coming and going, inside and outside on the road I think: I'm going to the Philippines, somewhere I haven't been since I was 5 years old. 18 years. Almost my whole life. Does life change when you're 30? Does it speed up? It's hard to imagine being 50; more than twice my age!
A week in the Philippines grants me some inspiration and insight on the life of my parents. Mostly sacrifice. A whole month of work in the Philippines is equivalent to four days wage in the States. The Catholic Faith is a permanent bond to the Philippines, a glimpse of the influence of Colonial Spain, while everything else reminds me of America. It reminds me much of Macau- the people, the festivals, the community.
I sit on my seventh hour of flying back to America, reflecting on the past 122 days and what I've learned. After reading 4 books back to back, teaching kids the gift of music, living in a foreign country, eating its wonderful food, it's hard to express everything I've learned that would be useful to share with the rest of the world. But this I am sure:
1) What I wish I could do is take every single person on this earth on a journey to experience life the way it should be experienced- through the hardships, the trials and errors, the eating, the socializing, and to appreciate the little things in life. Many people live life absently. Or aimlessly. And many people don't. Some people do both. I want to share those experiences because that is what life is about, to live and share our life experiences.
2) Everyone should experience a great upheaval. It's the precursor to a wonderful journey or the end of a chapter in life, emotional and symbolic of what is to come. My dad came to the U.S. with two suitcases and a camera. My mom came to the U.S. and cried for the month. I admit I did much of the same. The internal, logistical, and physical constraints gives an opportunity to think about what is really important in one's life.
3) I am sure of nothing else. Wisdom acquire is relative and can be used rightly and wrongly. Pure love can only be shown as clearly as the person who knows love. Forgiveness is taught and sometimes the hardest thing is to forgive one's self. But to forgive in general is the key to peace on this earth. Easier said than done, but maybe if you and other people read this, and put your knowledge into action, the world might become a better place.
Until next time.