by ALJO QUINTANS
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Indeed, time passes by like a bullet train. In a couple more weeks, the school year is about to end and the time has come for me to pack my stuff up again, and leave the place I have now considered my second home, the UK. No matter how painful that thought may seem, I have to accept the fact that soon I have to wake up in the morning and not have my English tea with double cream or have Pimms (an English alcoholic drink) by the park at 2.00pm without being charged for being a drunkard. Although it seemed like most of my pain involved food, there are certainly a gazillion more reasons why I feel anxious for leaving: half of it involves politics (as you know, I study politics), and the rest of it involves love (but that is something I will talk about next time).
As always, ending a journey allows us to go back to the past and reflect of what has been (then we start crying, then write blogs about tea and double cream – although I am not saying that’s me). With all honesty, I can say that this journey that I had in the UK, studying for a year and being a scholar of the British government, is probably the best time of my life. I cannot imagine how many wonderful places I have been to, not only around the UK but also in other parts of Europe, and how many beautiful souls I have met along the way, in such a short span of time. I have learned so much, from my formal education at the University of Manchester to all the mundane and great experiences that I had every single day in the past year. Everything was all worth it and made perfect in its place.
I can say that this journey that I had in the UK, studying for a year and being a scholar of the British government, is probably the best time of my life.
One of the most important mementoes I can take back home is the valuable friendships I got whilst I’m still here, friendships that for me are lasting. Since the time I left the Philippines, I have met lovely Filipinos currently studying in the UK: Ronn, Tasy and Asnin, who helped me out in my early days in the university. From then on, I met several amazing people from around the world that I studied and partied with, as well as travelled together. I am so glad that I was able to open myself to new people, share my life to them, and theirs to me. I got to learn how diverse people can be, and at the same time, be tolerant of each other’s differences and accept people for who we are. In the process, I did not only gain new friends, I also got to know more about myself and become more patient and understanding (Hashtag GlobalCitizen, hashtag WorldPeace!).
When my brother, Alvin, visited me last June at the end of my second term, we went to visit various places around the UK. He told me how fortunate I am to have been living and studying in this country. I can still remember how I responded with an emphatic, YEAH. The UK has everything you want to see – majestic castles, historic buildings, stunning greeneries and overwhelming museums, among others. One day, we went to see the Roman Baths and we were so amazed with its antiquity. Then we travelled to see Stonehenge, and our jaws dropped with its beauty, considering its more than 5,000 years of history. When we were in London and in Northeast of England, we got to visit one gigantic museum after another and we felt awed that bursting with joy. Immensely unbelievable! The feeling was the same when I travelled with my friends in the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales when we saw the beautiful highlands and greeneries that made me end up talking to myself about the meaning of life.
The UK indeed has everything. In fact, they have everything, even all ‘seasons’ in a single day – sunshine in the morning, rain by lunchtime, hail in the afternoon and dark clouds by night. But all these make the experience even more exciting and glorious. It allows you to be more creative with your fashion sense – to make sure your outfit is convertible when weather changes in the middle of the day, and be more carefree – not giving too much attention to insignificant things but instead focusing on matters that are more important: enjoying and having fun! (Even that means being soaked under the rain because you do not want or too shy to use your umbrella since people around you do not use it anyway.) These I shall absolutely miss.
Undeniably, there are a lot of things I will miss from this wonderful country and learnings I shall take back home from this incredible journey. Michael Altshuler was right: the fact that time flies is really bad news. He was also correct in saying that the good news is that we are the pilot: we are in charge of our emotions and in processing all of these learnings to make us better persons. We are in charge of what’s next and our future. I don’t know about most people, but for me, every ending is a new beginning, and no matter how painful it may seem, I am more than willing to embrace it when it comes. Meanwhile, I still have time left to deal with my politics and love.