When you relocate, your life will never be the same. Your surroundings and the people you associate with will mold you. And you will be a person characteristic of your new location. This is especially true if you stay there for many years.
At 19, I relocated to Manila and stayed there for 7 years. Now I’m back in my hometown to stay here for quite some time. I have a job here and I am staying with my family.
Coming back home is a special experience. It’s a rediscovery of many things. First, I rediscovered some distinct characteristics of local townsfolk. Here, you are still quite normal if you ask a stranger on some public transport where he or she lives, if he or she is married, and what his or her last name is. People will consider it being friendly – not prying. Even if you complain about certain politicians or some specific religion, people won’t frown at your babbling and will be all ears out, will smile at or laugh with you. Everyone knows almost everyone so if you look unfamiliar, they will familiarize themselves with you - not for anything else; they’re just being friendly. To me though, this is quite uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I am trying my best to have a positive attitude about it.
When you look at the people who never relocated and you look at yourself – you realize how different places molded you, how certain cultures changed you. When you come back home, you realize how much you have changed, what you could live with and not live without. The act of coming back home itself is a brave thing to do. It is going back to the past, to your childhood and teenage years. You remember the memories – good and bad. You remember the people – good and bad. It is risking meeting those you would rather forget or discovering you would never meet again those you’ve always missed. It is being open again to the unsatisfying and the inconvenient, the fun and the joyous as well. It is applying “good” principles from where you relocated to where you were born. To do such is a great risk. Who knows how people will react and if they will accept or not. To come back home is not to ask the local people to understand how you have become; it is first accepting them or reaccepting them.
You realize you don’t try to change people for your convenience; you help them become the person they ought to be and you allow them to help you change as well. I am trying my best to do this in spite that there are times I miss the old place and my friends there. Every time I miss the city life, I try to enjoy again what I had missed for many years – the simplicity of life, trees and flowers everywhere, the beach and the hills and the absence of pollution and heavy traffic. I marvelled at skyscrapers and posh malls but deep in my heart, I still love the provincial life. Wherever I go, all will be well with my soul, first, because I have a God who sees me through the seasons and second, because I easily delight in the little things of life. I sometimes complain, but I am willing to change, discover and rediscover.
To be the person you ought to be, you don’t just go places, sometimes you have to come home. Come home to yourself, to the place that sculpted much of your being, to the very root of who you are.