Right when I deplane and step into the arrival area of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, I feel like I have come home. Right when I step out of the Victory Liner bus and onto the Baguio terminal, I feel like I’m home. Right when I get pass the immigration of Singapore’s Changi Airport or when I step out of the Batangas-Calapan ferry and onto the Calapan pier, that exact same feeling descends on me. Obviously, I feel that same way when I enter my little house in Quezon City or when I pull my luggage off the carousel at Davao’s Bangoy International Airport.
That coming home feeling has become so familiar to me, like an old trusted friend. I guess for someone who’s hard put to answer that million-dollar question—“where are you from?” --this should be of some comfort. For to consider a place home assumes a feeling of welcome.
Home also spells tradition and interestingly enough, I find myself sticking to certain “traditions” when I am in these familiar places: in Baguio—I am obligated to go to the Central Market and check out the fresh produce and buy freshly ground blend of Italian Espresso/Benguet/Batangas/Arabic fine ground coffee. In Thailand- I have to go for foot massage and get groceries at Big C and practice my meagre Thai with whomever is patient enough to listen. In Singapore, I have to meet with good friends scattered around the nation state and go for my regular walk along the Esplanade. In Calapan, I have to go to market and get my favourite dried fish, Bia and also lounge on the rattan hammock of the place I always stay when I am there
And yet with the comfort of the familiar, there is also a sense of detachment. I know that I cannot get myself so settled because once I arrive, the clock starts ticking and time inches me nearer to departure.
Home brings with it feelings of welcome and familiarity but never of permanence. Home as with most everything in life for me, has a transient ring to it.
Yet there is no sadness in acknowledging the reality of transience, for I know that every day I live, I inch closer to a place where transience is graciously replaced by the word forever.