some of the friends I met during the trip: Grace, Erika, Irene, Me, Joan and Yna
I went to Manila, my country's capital some weeks ago to do 3 things: process my passport renewal, bring home some of my stuff and get my license - sounds good enough to spend some money on. Despite my online-research-orientedness and my having friends who are passport experts, I realized the day before I was going to DFA that I couldn't do it because I didn't set an online appointment. I instantly remarked, "So what did I come here for?"
With one of the important plans cancelled, I wondered what God wanted to teach me by the experience. Instead of sulking, I chose to let it go and be happy meeting friends. As I did so, I went to and passed by significant places when I stayed there for 7 years. I passed by the building where I first worked as an English instructor, bringing back memories in a flash especially the day someone shared to me about Christ and when I decided to accept Him into my life. I realized my life has never been the same since then. I also visited my university which brought a cathartic feeling seeing those students cram with projects, at the same time a nostalgic longing for the joy of sharing intellectual thoughts in class. I passed by the area where I struggled through flood and travel hazards to and from school. I had lunch at the mall whose walls and restaurants became witnesses to my frustrations, loneliness, joys and victories. I also went to 3 other malls where I had met special friends who knows deep truths about my life, who knows my terrible mistakes but continues to lift me up and see me through.
I met several of the special people in my life - people I consider I have an authentic relationship with, people I had conflicts with before, who spoke hard truth to my face and vice versa, but who I also shared some of my deepest joys with and who journeyed with me through hard times. These are people who made life in the city not only easier but much more joyful and exciting.
At the airport's waiting area on my way back home, I met a friend's brother who offered me a cup of coffee (He may have sensed my need for some hot drink). Coffee is coffee but coffee becomes something else, like a diamond at 5:30 in the morning. Some minutes before boarding time, I met an old friend who I hadn't seen for years - the ex-boyfriend of my best friend in high school. He reminded me of my teenage years. And I will spare you the details of how insecure and inferior I was back then.
That trip had been both cathartic and nostalgic - but all together forming a feeling inside that tells me how much blessed I am for how God has guided me through the years. The free coffee reminded me of His mini surprises that warm my heart; the failed passport renewal - that everything will be okay even if our plans don't work out the way we want them. I am just glad I hadn't missed these symbols. If God had to have me spend money just to have a feel of it, to make me feel guided and loved and cared for, He would do it. That's how extravagant He could get - in pursuit of love, in pursuit of me.