After almost 7 days of not seeing each other, all I could think of is how to move on.
It was a challenging, emotional and again-out of the box week not only for me but I think for all the volunteers.
We were given a week to say proper goodbye to our counterparts, to the team, supervisors and the programme; but what have we done during debrief was an extension of what we’ve done for the past few weeks.
Basically, we, the ICV’s, allowed ourselves to indulge on proper drinks! (note: it was on debrief) every night. It was not a way of saying goodbye + the heartache, but, perhaps, it was our way of saying-cheers for the friendship, for the good and bad times, for the crazy things we did, for the trust, encouragement, for the moans, the goals, foods that we shared and most of all -for the relationships that formed if not built that would last a lifetime.
The first 3 days on our debrief was an intense, hard core days of my life (sorry for exaggeration) due to mixed emotions, stress, pressure, unmet expectations and other external factors.. Perhaps, I was moody at that time because, I can’t reconcile in my mind that the wonderful journey this programme provided me would come to an end.
‘every chapter of a book must end, so you can enjoy if not write a better chapter’. These were the words that my counterpart-Katie told me(not in verbatim though) when I cried in our room before we leave for our debrief. I cried every morning the week before debrief, as if I am a little girl being left behind by her mom, no one wants to take care of. I cried not because I am weak but perhaps, it was an indication of preparing myself for a better journey.
When we hit the last night in Pangasinan, my HHC and I had proper talk (it was remarkable) since we arrived at the venue, we haven’t talked that much.
I worry of not seeing her again, not to hear her disney like voice, go for a hike with her, no one to chat with when I’m down, no one to be with when I blog, sharing sachets of cafe blanca (our bestseller coffee) in morning and after dinner, sharing fruits as snack, having bottle/s of beer when pissed off with someone, share meals and bed time stories, (personal and professional ones), and most if not all- pushing me to do out of the box things in life.
After few days of crying and contemplating while staring at the windowsill, I realized that:
A. I am no longer the same Sofie – you read it right! The first 3 days when I got home, almost all of the members of the fam were surprised the way how I speak, the way I act, the way I hate watching tv shows and how I love to do out of the box things!
B. I got matured (mentally and emotionally speaking)- I find myself taking more risks and responsibilities as an individual, yet, members of the fam, still considers me like a little girl wandering the globe for the ‘big shot’.
C.I don’t care what my society tells- practically, it will give me a headache if I will try to conform to the norm of my ever heterogeneous+complex society. It is as if I am trying to please nth number of people in this country, which in reality, I can’t -even the President can’t do it, so how can I?
D.English communication skill is all about practice- I think this one really marked my entire 3 months! My English communication skill has been put into test. I talked to my counterparts in English and Filipino to the members of the community and the host-homes. The first time that I talked to my counterpart, I was ashamed if not shy to initiate a nice conversation, I easily got intimidated of her “British English” accent, yet, at the end of the day, it is me who is willing to take challenges and even speak more rather than contemplating if my grammar is correct or not. Sometimes, it is far better not to think of the rules (in grammar), since it gives you the liberty to express what you really want to say.
E. Active lifestyle is not about being vain- basically, since I was in Cabiao and doing field works, most if not all the time, I walked to my work; it gave me the sense of being “fit” by not conforming to the “gym” standard of the society. I no longer enjoy the comforts of staying at home for the rest of the day. I see to it that before the day ends, I would walk at least 500m if not a kilometer or as long as I can walk.
F. Missing someone is not a life or death thing- I really cried a lot, I even asked a good friend how to “detach” from someone and even ‘debrief” myself. All she said was, grab all the comfort foods that you have, have more sleep, have someone to talk to- and it all paid; in a sense that in a matter of 3 days I was able to recover from my ‘separation anxiety’. I guess, it helped me a lot when I cry and tell straight to the person that I’ll surely gonna miss him/her/them, and speak what is on my mind. It may look and sound funny at first, yet, I think that is the best form of coping up and moving on.
It was hard to say goodbye, yet, goodbye does not really mean an end, it is just a start of a new beginning, it is up to you how will you work on your available resources.