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.

Sunrise in Kathmandu, Nepal

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.



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