This week has been extremely draining. The worse is it’s not because I am busy with work but because I am in the middle of a huge change. I have exactly 2 weeks left in the office and in Bangkok. After which I will spend 2 weeks on vacation back home in the Philippines before flying to Australia to start graduate school.
Today I could not work. I am sick, actually. My brain cannot – do not want to — function. I am in a mixed emotion between separation anxiety and metathesiophobia which is ironic because people know me as a risk-taker and one who dreads routine.
A friend posted a video of my favorite Thai song on Facebook (the only Thai song I know, actually). I have been listening to this song for more than 2 years. I listen to it before I sleep. I listen to it in the taxi on my way to the airport, on the plane, and in my hotel room. I listen to it in my daily train ride if I am not reading a book. I listen to it at ungodly hours and unearthly places. It’s one of the only 12 songs I downloaded in my iPhone.
I first heard of it at the farewell dinner of one of the most important and instrumental persons in my life. How time flies. Now that person is back in Thailand and I am the one leaving. We will have dinner on Friday, probably our last. Whether our paths will cross again in the future, only God knows.
Did I say I have been listening to this song for more than 2 years? Then I must add that in those times I did not bother searching for its English translation. I have no idea why. But today, I did. Listen to the song below with both Thai and English subtitle.
And indeed, songs become more powerful when they speak to us and hit us to the core. This song did just that.
It hurts when our expectations go in vain. But when the table is turned around and we are the ones being subjected to a certain degree of expectation we cannot meet, it hurts just the same.
Indeed, every individual is unique and different. Some things may just be okay for us and yet others may see them as wrong. We can never fully put ourselves into another person’s shoes. We can never fully feel what the other person is feeling nor see things exactly as they see them.
It is futile to suffer because we cannot wholly understand someone the same way as it is futile to agonize over not being completely understood.
In the end, it is really just a matter of letting go… letting go of expectations including the expectation to be understood.
I love the meaning of your name, illuminate. When you told me what your name means, I imagined a candle illuminating its light in a dark room; a ray of sunlight illuminating a gloomy dawn. Thank you for being just that in my life.
I still remember the first time we met. It was my first trip to your country and I was anxious because it was also my first trip alone abroad. I saw you holding a paper with my name on it, surveying the crowd to look for that stranger you were tasked to pick up. When our eyes crossed, there was an instinctive recognition. We both smiled.
Introvert as I am, I find it hard to talk to people I just met. But with you, I felt that connection instantly. You were so kind enough to make me feel at home. You never hesitated to provide me assistance and even toured me around Thamel despite your tiresome day.
Even if we are far apart and seldom see each other, I see you as a good friend. I travel a lot and meet people from diverse walks of life. But you are among those who made a mark in me. It is because I can see in you depth and maturity, characters that stand out from the superficiality of the many people I have encountered.
I want to let you know how I admire you for choosing a career that you love and enjoy doing. I know people who only wish to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer for the social status it gives them –which I see as delusional status– yet they are neither happy doing it nor find meaning in it. I also know people who chose a simple yet more fulfilling life. I even have a friend who let go of a Fulbright scholarship and chose to stay in the Philippines to help the farmers.
If I can divide myself into two, I will let my other half do what you are doing right now and work in the hospitality industry. Not everyone is lucky enough to find out what it is that makes them feel alive at a young age. Yet you had easily discovered your passion and have started to trek that path. I know sooner that I’d thought, you will make your dreams a reality.
The last time we were together, I took this photo. I hope like sunrise, you will continue to be a light to other people; let your heart illuminate and brighten the lives of those you will serve.