Went to Gerry’s Grill the other day, and I was ready to go back to Manila after one spoon of sinigang. I haven’t had sinigang in so long but I’ve not been homesick longer, so I was really surprised that I was instantly undone. It was my favorite when I was younger, I could eat it everyday and Ason (our then cook) would prepare it perfectly each time. The familiar taste, albeit not perfect, tugged something at me. “Do you want to book a flight to Manila over the long weekend?” my concerned boyfriend asked. “No.” I answered instantly. I can’t just hop on a plane every time I felt like it, my newly acquired hobby goes against it (that being to watch money grow, haha!). And truth be told, I feel like it wouldn’t do me any good. I didn’t just miss the people and the place, I was more than homesick. I was lifesick. I was missing my old life. It was something I couldn’t take back no matter how many trips to Manila I take. It was more than the comfort and the familiarity. I longed for the time when I was who I was, the place was what it was, and the people were who they were. That period can never be replicated because it was a product of circumstance – mine, Manila’s. and other people’s. I miss the relationships I had with different people. From the early morning catching up while putting make-up inside the van, to the mid-afternoon drinking sessions, to singing along to the radio while driving around aimlessly, to the dress-up/gossip/girl talk sleepovers. I miss my friends and the bonds we used to share. That isn’t to say that I’ve lost my friends when I moved; we still catch up with each other regularly thanks to technology. But it isn’t the same. Some bonds got stronger, some got weaker; but all got different – it’s just not the same.
However, I also know how selfish it is to cling to the past. Doing so is like shunning the present and brushing off any growth and accomplishments you’ve had since then. It’s anchoring a person – yourself or another – to what once was and not giving them the chance to flourish. I miss a period in time and the people I shared it with. I don’t have to let it go, but it shouldn’t hold me back either.
And like all waves of nostalgia, it passed. It washed over and took some grounding as it receded, but I remain firmly planted in the present.