STORY: Flash back

Biking with my sister, Allea. Tito Archie in photo.
For my Lolo's 69th birthday, we had an intimate celebration at their home in Laguna. This visit is actually pretty special since I haven't gone there for a visit in months! I believe the last time I went to Laguna was New Year's Eve. This is a sad realization, actually since way back in high school and during the first months of college, we would go there every weekend. We wouldn't do anything special, just walk around, watch tv, and eat, eat, eat but it was a nice break from the busy days we had here in Manila. As the years went by, I started passing on the visits since I found it boring and I had more exciting things to do in Manila (this was the time I had my first boyfriend). I just let my mom, brother and sisters go ahead without me. Eventually, they too just stopped visiting altogether. I didn't really notice that we stopped visiting until last weekend when I observed that a lot has changed in the neighborhood I used to be oh so familiar with.

I am not one to embrace growing up and moving on, really. Despite the notions I form in others that I am a reformer of sorts, I am not. I am pretty clingy and attached to things that seeing things go or change hurts me a little. As I walked through the street, I felt sad that I had grown up all too soon. As a kid I felt this same street would stretch forever. It would seemed like a great journey to walk from my grandma's house to my cousin's but now it takes a little over 50 steps (I think?) The houses seemed smaller and boring now unlike when I was a child when I and the other kids would treat each house as a hiding place (that is if we knew the people who owned the houses). The barking of dogs seemed scarier then and the lack of light posts posed a great threat that we would rush home before it was too scary to. 

Laguna was the only place I felt like a REAL child. Growing up in the city didn't allow me to play patintero, hide and seek, hopscotch, 5-10 and all the other street games. Despite the obvious lack of play area (since the roads in the city are filled with cars 24/7), I also didn't have any friends to play with. In Laguna, I was given a chance to do what the city limited me to do. I also felt that in Laguna I had found people I could call 'kababata' which I was really desperate to have (being a fan of the TV show Lizzie McGuire where Lizzie and Gordo practically grew up together). Of course, my siblings and I were the "foreigners" and were treated as "saling-ketket' at first but they eventually warmed up to us. I felt that we were just as part of the neighborhood as my cousins. Everyone knew who we were and we also knew everyone in the block. I have a lot of fond memories as a child in Laguna that there was a time I wished we would move there. But in the years to come I would find this thought silly. My playmates started going to college one by one and were less available to hang out each weekend. The Laguna I found joy in suddenly felt like an empty space that the city looked way more fun to be in in comparison. 

That being said, my last trip was a day of flash backs. The group of children (the generation next to ours mostly made up of the younger siblings of the kids I used to play with) playing in the street the way I used to with my playmates made the nostalgia even worse. I also got to bike around the whole village, too and I would tell my sister stories of what we did in each of the blocks we passed in. I still remember the village by heart and I could feel something in my throat as I thought of it. It was a bittersweet bike ride but I'm awfully glad I took it. :)

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