Thursday, December 22, 2005

Maligayang Pasko sa inyo lahat!

For those of you were patiently awaiting another blog entry, here it is. I just left the Philippines today for the first time in almost nine months. That's the longest I've ever lived in a foreign country and leaving it makes me realize how familiar it has become to me, how it has become somewhat of a second home.

I boarded a Korean Airlines flight this morning bound for Seoul and am now awaiting a flight to Honolulu. Being on a plane where lots of people don't speak English or Tagalog was a jolt to the system. But my instinct now is to try to speak Tagalog with anyone who doesn't speak English and often it just comes out. My teacher says that is a sign that I'm moving along in the language. But how funny that "salamat," not thank you, is the first thing I think of. Or that I have to urge to attach a "po" (Sir or Ma'am in Tagalog) to every sentence, English or otherwise. Luckily, I met a nice Filipino woman from -- where else? ... New York City -- and we chatted in Tagalog. Now, that was a relief! And I couldn't have imagined that nine months ago...

Siguro, this means I am assimilating or adjusting or something like that. But whatever it is, it feels strange to be torn between two worlds and two languages. So as I make re-entry into my other world, I'm excited to see how different it will be or maybe even how the same it will be. In Hawaii, I want to see if I will recognize all things Filipino, things I may have seen before but never realized were distinctly Filipino. But most of all I'm just excited to be home again, even if only for two weeks. To have a little taste of home, of comfort that I miss out on in the Philippines. To see my family again and catch up on things that can't be said in a cell phone call or email. And to hit the beach, some sun (it's been non-stop rain in the Philippines) and just eat some good food.

Before I sign off here, just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas or Maligayang Pasko! Have a bagong taon, too!

Ingat kayo,



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Blogger Margarita said...

Hey Julia. I did almost the same thing - left NYC last September to move to the PI for a Fulbright. I actually met Thor in Batanes and think I'm going to be there for Feb. Are you back from Hawaii yet? Think I'm going to try for an early butanding sighting after the 22nd. My blog is up at

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