nomad at rest

I've always led a nomadic life until now.

My parents were of the FQS generation. When i was born, they decided to go underground and pursue the good fight. Not wanting to take a small baby with them, I was "shipped" - all 9 months of me - from my maternal hometown in Bataan to the northern valley of Bontoc in Mountain Province where my father's family was staying.

It was an idyllic town. It was such a small town. Not only does everyone know everybody. But it was also small in the physical sense. I remember summer days just walking aimlessly from my house (which also happens to house my lolo's barbershop) to the market to the town plaza then walking along the highway to the hospital then making a u turn for the Chico river for a brief wade in the water and and then heading towards the pilapils of the nearby rice fields all in time for dinner at 6 or 7 pm.

I thought then that i would be living in Bontoc for the rest of my life or until i graduate from high school (when you're 8, you can't tell the difference between the two). But my lolo was diagnosed with lung cancer, so off we went to Baguio for his cobalt therapy. Selling everything we own, we set out to live with one of my Lola's daughters from a previous husband (she was married 3 times, my lolo was the 3rd) where we proceeded to stay for 3 months. Just as i was being considered for acceleration by my public school, my grandparents decided to move to warmer Pangasinan this time with a son of Lola.

Three months later we were off to Nueva Ecija where my Lolo died vainly waiting for his first born, my father, to come home from the mountains. After that my aunt, barely a graduate from her college course, bravely bundled me and my lola to stay with her in Manila.

I was 9 when i finally came face to face with the city that is Quzon City. But that, too entailed so many house transfers - from living in my aunt's fiance's house to moving to our own apartment when they broke their engagement to finally moving into her own home. In between, i stayed at a UP dorm, lived with a friend in one of those dingy Manila "dorms" for my summer internship at the DOT, to staying with yet another friend in Sucat during a short stint with Northwest to moving into a 'staff house' to finally moving in with Buddy in 1995.

Buddy and i were also notorious for jumping from one address to another. I think we had something like 3 addresses before we finally got our own place. I remember our housemate crying when we announced to her that the moving truck will be coming the following day. It was understandable. she and her then-boyfriend just moved in a few months ago and here we were moving out again. (Prior to that, she packed and unpacked eight times in a span of 2 years or less). That was 1998. It's now 2005, and by far this is the longest i've stayed in one place, save for my early childhood in Mountain Province.

I dunno why i'm writing this now. It's probably nostalgia upon seeing the website of Bontoc. I really don't know.

All those places and people i left behind. All those friends i meant to hold on to, to maintain ties with. Sometimes, i get envious of some friends who are able to maintain close personal relationships with friends and classmates from as early as their kinder years. Imagine that! The shared history. The accumulated memories. Some people are lucky that way. And some are cursed that way. Still, it's quite a feat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Earnest:

Amazing how one could encapsulate a whole lifetime--of simple complexities (like living the reality of one's parents choices despite the fact that their choices meant their very absence) and complex simplicities (such as spending one's childhood in a small town from which a postcard written by the 8-yr-old you sent to the now-mommy-you would have been awesome)!

Anyway, I posted comments on your "It's a Wrap" entry because I don't know what your new e-mail address is. Please take a look and send reply to my mfire e-mail.


3:24 PM  

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