There is no such thing as getting lost. We wander. We go to places and encounter strange things and faces. But we never forget our way back home.
I know that my heart is still in pain. I have been telling myself that I am stronger than the pain and that soon, I will be able to rise above it and forget. But I also know that my own strength is not yet enough. I needed to be with people who have seen, known and loved the stronger version of me way before this day. I needed to go back to that one place that first taught me about self-love and confidence. So when I finally had the chance to leave town, I immediately traveled to Baguio, a city that is 2-hour away from where I live.
The moment I stepped out of the bus, I knew I was home. The cold wind brushing against my face, the sound of taxis and jeepneys passing by, the busy streets…they all are familiar to me.
On my first night, I ate dinner at a Japanese restaurant with a former colleague and a former student of mine who now calls me ‘Nay, a Tagalog term for Mom. They both knew I wasn’t really doing fine and gave me their time, listened to me as I told my story. And once I was done, both of them smiled and said: “Marami ka pang maaaring pagtuunan ng pansin.” (You can still focus your attention on more important things.) They reminded me of another fact: There are still other more important things in my life. While enjoying our meal, we talked about the careers we now have, the challenges we face everyday while doing our jobs, the plans we have, the possibilities of working abroad or finishing our Master’s, the projects we want to be a part of…and I realized that yes, my life shouldn’t be marred by betrayal committed by people who don’t really care about me.
I only stayed in Baguio for 2 days and still went back to Pangasinan. But being in Baguio and with people who appreciate me for who I am really gave me peace.