Philippines is an archipelago located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam, and north of Sabah and Borneo. It spans 1900 kilometers from north to south, 1110 from east to west. Here is my country, my native land.
During my high school, I was taught in my social studies class, to track down locations on the map and the globe. I tried to memorize locations piously so the next quiz given us, would not fail me just because I couldn't locate significant points and places.
I grew up with my Dad teaching me about short cuts whenever we ride the taxi like going to school mornings, if car and bus weren't available. The cab passes through a highway, along narrow streets, or going inside villages. Remembering those places were fun and exciting for me, those spaces where we journeyed; all still fresh in my memory.
"There's a map, there's a map, there's a map," says Dora. So I tell myself, "Even if I'm poor in geography I should only remember the address and popular landmarks. When I go to places, even if many times, I swear, I couldn't fast track going back again. But now, there's a GPS (global positioning system); I give an applause for the new inventions.
My first ride on a plane brought me to Japan. And so I got myself headed where the wind blew me. I left the Philippines February 17, for a possible work/workshop (with my sister and the kind Japanese school owner) in Japan. I knew I have to endure the pangs of loneliness away from my family. I knew I have to leave my classes in the seminary where I worked for many years. I knew I have to stop with my graduate studies at DLSU. Seeing what I can get gave me an assurance that my attempts would be easy. Money was gleaming at the counter of my thoughts, and it was like answering all my questions and conquering labyrinths. So I got myself the flight almost Valentine's day.
I thought about the possibilities of what will happen. Of what might come. It was my dream come true riding an airplane. I told myself that my first plane ride will be very memorable. It would be news. It would be history. Indeed, it was real cool and exciting.
I adored Japan because I dreamt of cupping snow and wished for a freezing climate that would turn me rosy cheeks. But then again, as I am poor in geography I got lost for almost a day. I rode the train on and off to different prefectures; hence, came to visit several parks and libraries as they became very memorable and very meaningful because I was alone, with little money, and it was getting dark. In the end, I went to a police station and asked for help. Thanks to the Japanese who were kind and generous to give help, even to strangers, like me.
I couldn't cry, but held the prayer leaf of St. Jude.