…and I still find myself astonished faced with the fact that in eleven days, it will be 365 days since I opened the year 2008. I was under the canopy of fireworks, spectacularly admiring the beauty of life once more and the moment I woke up? I was back to school, 4th year high school, getting pretty ready for the upcoming graduation, dancing with my fancy Singkil costume and eyeing strangers whom I later know as new Korean friends.
There were couple of points that I still remember clearly for my January 2008. It was that time when there came exchange Korean students in our school and being so much involved in associations, I was always with those Koreans. I entertain those new friends by exposing them to the rich and colorful Filipino culture, even reminisced my childhood through playing with them and making them savor the unique and sumptuous Filipino kitchen. I must admit that they made such impact in my life. Maybe it lies on their little eyes and large efforts to speak in English or maybe on their love for soccer and Korean spicy noodles. I actually don’t know. In fact, the moment that I realized that they won’t be staying forever, I convinced myself that people really come and go. I must also admit that they were the people whom I got really closed with for the least possible time. They just stayed in the Philippines for 40 days. I didn’t wish that they will be staying forever. What I was simply wishing is that they will be staying a little longer but they didn’t. They were exchange students and though they also enjoyed they stay here, they have to return back to their life where noodles are spicy and where people’s eyes are not round and black. They already had a life even before they flew to the Philippines and it's not reasonable that they are staying because (just because) of me.
I made myself ready. I mean, I knew that they are leaving soon and though I practice how I’ll be saying my goodbye and see you again, I wasn’t able to stop my tears. It’s sad that we may not see each other again, that fate is really mischievous because she allowed us to meet only to part soon. She allowed happy memories only to fade soon. Right now, I can still remember their goodbye’s verbatim and how they left our school and turned their backs away from me and from my other classmates. I can still remember how those masculine Korean showered into tears because of hearing “I will miss you”. From that point in time, I realized that some good things just don’t last, that you have to open your heart to new people but be ready to let them go. After that day, I felt like half of me was stolen, that for the longest time, incompleteness runs in my veins again. I was like that for a week or two, not in myself. I was still reminiscing the good times, thinking that for it to happen again, I need to sleep and dream and never wake up. I was sad but not depressed. I was living my life but I felt so incomplete. I wanted to fly to Korea at that time but then, a special letter came. It’s a notice of admission to the university I craved for and dreamt about. “Now it was coming true,” I told myself… and after that, my life went back to normal again. I was doing the things with enthusiasm again. It’s not that I don’t remember my Korean friends anymore. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I cannot afford to live the rest of my life thinking only about them and the thought that they left. It’s given but I chose to hide it in my closet and emote once in a while, only once in a while. After all, it was just January 2008, just the start of the year. I still got eleven months to go.