I guess I romanticized this situation a little bit too much.
There was some truth in there. I’m finally living alone. I can finally eat whatever I want without worrying they would hate the food I was cooking. Cauliflower rice? Go for it. Craving pasta five times a week? Why not! Not wanting to buy chocolates and sweets? It’s your call. The actual freedom I always wanted to have but never could have is finally here.
I can finally go wherever I want. Feel like cafe-hopping this afternoon? No need to ask for permission. Want to spend the weekend hiking in a mountain? It’s your call. Want to visit a museum you’ve been dying to go to? Book that visit. I can finally travel without anyone telling me what to do and what not to do.
I can finally look at my body and dress it in whatever way I want. Feel like wearing that crop top? Go ahead. What about those cargo pants? Feel free to wear it. Wanna dress in cute sweaters and jumpsuits? Be my guest. I can finally dress up or dress down without anyone judging my clothing style for the day.
But I guess I didn’t take into account the fear of living alone, halfway across the world.
I didn’t know the pain of missing out on the Christmas traditions in the land I never considered staying in a year ago. I didn’t know I would have intense cravings for the college culture I had in having Paskuhan. I didn’t expect to miss the taste of bibingkas and seeing Christmas lights and parols when September comes rolling by. I didn’t anticipate to miss being woken up by the church’s bells as a signal to start simbang gabi. I didn’t realize I would miss the comfort of baking apple pies with my family as we prepare for Noche Buena.
I never expected the nights I’d cry myself to sleep missing the family dinners and the mindless conversations we’d have. I didn’t realize being alone is something I romanticized too much when I was surrounded by people.
Being alone, being alone all the time, can be excruciatingly lonely.
I never assumed I’d smile at the pictures of my friends with their reunions in cafes and clubs with a bittersweet thought, “I wish I was there.” I never contemplated at the fact living in a foreign land, with unfamiliar language, will alienate me — and I would actually feel the sense of being singled out.
But this is the life I chose. And although I am eternally grateful, the pain makes me wonder if I knew what I had to go through, would I still do it?