Thursday, July 27, 2006

Memories of Gangwon

I left my footprints in the sand;
But they got washed away by the sea.
I left my footprints in my EATOF friends’ hearts;
They stay there forever.

I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Last Song Syndrome. I love it when it gains momentum and keeps me humming to a beat, touching a string of emotion to spice up an otherwise dull life experience. But how I hate it when at crucial and vulnerable points, I can’t help but expose the feeling, sensitive part of me.

I have lost track of how many songs I have “absorbed”. They are infinite – because for every turn my life makes, there will always be a soundtrack or two. Last weekend, after two incredible weeks of friendship and cultural interaction, it didn’t take me long to find one song and keep it playing on my mind.

Indulge my nostalgia. Indulge the one thing that, despite all the tears and goodbyes, keeps me looking forward to the future with a fervent hope that someday, somewhere, and sometime, our paths would cross again.

With the two weeks officially over, I still feel the same sense of longing for the laughter and the camaraderie, the girl talks and the boy talks, the serious moments and most of all, our never-ending foolishness and witticisms – the “Malaysian porn soup” talks (thanks to our resident porn star Nikk Adam), the “Thai-Tegu” jokes in Korean class (thanks to Nikk’s 5-minute girlfriend Pai), the chorus singing of the most popular Japanese song (Doraemon) in the world headed by Sho, the picture-perfect moments inspired by our in-house environmentalist cum fashion fanatic Kinuko, the fasten-your-seatbelt-and-you’ll-be-much-safer type of driving of our oppa (brother) Chang Kyu, the “Otoke!” (How!) musings of Boogie, the “Germany” bloopers of our official photographer Da-Ho, the “seriousness” (but he’s not serious, I swear!) of the official model Himmi (He’s probably had the most number of pictures on the cd!), the bonding with Alisa at the children’s playground on camping night, the surprise-birthday-party-with-icing-on-her-face for Nadya, the “I’ll kiss you” message of Tunga to our teacher Mr. Hosung Timothy Rhee, the I-will-eat-breakfast-today-because-it’s-Tuesday-or-Friday-and-breakfast-is-really-yummy-on-those-days deal with my roommate and co-UPian Princess, the dance moves of the youngest in the group Wulan, the shyness of Ki-Beak and his blooming relationship with beauty queen potential Izora (What’s up with you guys? Everybody noticed something. Haha.), the cool tandem of “tutors” (and sometimes room raiders, so they can talk until morning) Korean-Chinese Xue Hua and Korean-Japanese Yuri, the intonation-conscious pronunciation of Jah’s name (Ja-a-a-a-a-h!), the ice skater moves of Ji-Soo, the beautiful girl-leader Joo-Hyun, the Winter Sonata drama of Hai Lan, and the all-smiles nature and always-on-the-go attitude of Mi-Jin.

Two weeks might be too long but I felt it was too short to spend a great deal of quality time with such wonderful people. Throughout the trip to the airport, I was trying so hard to benumb myself of the growing nostalgia that I then felt. But at the airport, when everybody sent each other off with moist eyes and warm hugs, I gave in to a paroxysm of tears. All the more I sobbed when I waved goodbye to them while the boarding area gates closed. I couldn’t even look straight at their eyes for fear that I might just slump down on the floor. Even until the immigration check, I was still sniffing that the agent commented something in Korean that I didn’t understand. And when I told him, “I’m sorry. I don’t speak Korean,” he motioned his hand to his eyes as if to ask if I had been crying and I just muffled, “I just said goodbye to some friends.” Then everything was like a blur – like a dream that was slowly coming to an end. Then I remembered the night before when Nikk told us, “Tomorrow, I will wake up from this dream…” How right he was. And at that moment, I was so inspired to answer, “If this was a dream, I would never want to wake up...”

Half the world is sleeping, half the world's awake.
Half can hear their hearts beat, half just hear them break.
I am but a traveler, in most every way.
Ask me what you know.

The East Asian Inter-Regional Tourism Forum 2006 delegates with Ms. Emily Lim, EATOF Project Coordinator and our gracious bus driver! Photo taken at Chuncheon Drama Gallery, Chuncheon City.

What a journey it has been and the end is not in sight.
But the stars are out tonight and they're bound to guide my way.

Outdoor Picnic at Mang-Sang Auto Camp Resort

When they're shining on my life, I can see a better day.
I won't let the darkness in, what a journey it has been.

With our “Big Brother” Chang Kyu in a campaign for world peace.

I have been to sorrow, I have been to bliss.
Where I'll be tomorrow, I can only guess.

At the Flower Garden Museum with Boogie, Sher Hwa, and Wulan. Uh-huh-huh. Rainy days won’t leave us screaming.

Through the darkest desert, through the deepest snow.
Forward always forward, I go.

Birthday in Korea? Why not! At Princess’ “surprise” birthday party.

When they're shining on my life,
I can see a better day.
I won't let the darkness in.
What a journey it has been.

The 2006 EATOF delegation

Today, I’m back to the rustle and bustle of my student life. I’m back in the Philippines, back to Cebu, back to where I am currently pursuing my studies. I’m home now.

And somehow, my tear ducts have gone dry.
I so want to ask myself why,
But now I can honestly say,
My heart is still on its way…

No comments: