19 December 2009

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When the plane touched down at JFK, I felt a sense of relief. As much as I had enjoyed my time in the Philippines, I still missed New York. The cold wind of the city whipped my face and shocked my coat-less frame that had spent three weeks in summer-like weather, but I felt alive in a way that I knew I could never feel in the Philippines.

I see now why my parents, almost forty years ago, had strived to leave their homeland for greener pastures and richer opportunities. Everything was there for them, including love and family, but to live and die there would have meant a life of complacency. So they left for the U.S., worked hard to make their fortune, and retired back to their beloved homeland when they had accomplished everything they had set out to do.

But I'm too young to live there now. I want to experience the world. I want more, way more than what I could ever achieve in the Philippines. And for right now, New York is where I want to be.

This past week, I walked down Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral. I walked past a group of carolers singing Christmas songs, and something about the cold night air, the bright lights from the cathedral and the streets, and the melancholy tone of their song, made me start to cry. I could barely control the flow of tears from my eyes, and I felt an actual pain in my chest. I walked around Rockefeller Center and took notice of the groups of people who stood around the Christmas tree, and I came to the realization that once again, I will be alone for Christmas, and most importantly, far away from my family.

But I only have one heart, and it belongs in two places: in the Philippines where all my family are, and here in New York where I have set my goals to be fulfilled.

If only I could be in two places at once.


(source: Google images)
"Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world." ~ George Washington

7 comments:

  1. N, i love this post. And even though we live far away & never see each other, part of me feels relief that you're back here in the States. I felt like you were too far away from me when you were out of the country! =)

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  2. sending you hugs and many good holiday wishes. reading your post reminded me of my own holidays in nyc (visiting a friend) and how thrilling it was to see the tree at rockefeller center and all the amazing christmas window displays, lights, and people hustling through the cold wintry city nights. i can hardly wait to share nyc at christmas with my husband one day.

    i am 3,000 miles away from so many people i love, but i love my life here in the pacific nw. you are brave. i would feel lost here alone, for sure. friends here are very casual - not the intimate friends i have on the east coast. when i was single i had friends nearby who have been in my life for too many years to even count. i hope your friends there in nyc are a source of comfort and joy.

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  3. are you sure you don't have two hearts?
    st. patricks cathedral is so amazing. i bought some prayer cards there.
    new york is a beautiful city, especially with all the lights. you'd think with 9 million people, (or however many there are now) you'd find that special one you've been waiting your whole life to meet.
    meanwhile nourish your heart, feed your soul, take care of baby g. have a wonderful christmas. love your family.
    nobody knows what the future holds. keep yourself open to love, say the important prayers to yourself, keep that bright, sparkly light that is YOU turned on.
    merry christmas, nova. hugs.

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  4. Welcome back! The City missed you :-)

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  5. Hey Nova,

    I totally understand ur situation. Although my homeland is a four hour drive away, I still feel that I am a person of two worlds. The world of my family and my people and the world I live in now where I want to experience the world for myself. It is wierd because I too want to retire and move back to the motherland but now is not the time. :P So ur not the only one.

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  6. Plus I miss the 24 hour gyms and the shopping malls and my organic food store and the options I have of stuff to do. At home there is nothing! Haha.

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  7. That's a lovely, evocative post Nova. It must be difficult to feel such close love with your family and be so far away. I also understand the pull to New York and all it offers to you. I hope your heart will find a way to be fully present wherever you are, yet never lose the ache for the other...

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