“home. since they say, it is where the heart is, i’ll find my true home once i find my heart.”
not my home, or house. just some surviving house a little right across the space i occupy at present, which i also cannot sentimentally call ‘my home.’ in fact, i do not have any place or physical structure that i can call as such. although i did write a bit about my hometown (my mother’s, and where i spent a decade for education and a few years building a profession that i eventually left), i feel guilty sometimes calling it mine. although it doesn’t complain, i don’t think i still have the right to call it ‘my home’ for i am always somewhere else. in the last few years, i treat it as ‘my retreat house’ because i go there only if i need some, yes, retreating. but i do not have any resentment toward not having a home that i call mine. i like how i have transferred from one town, city, or house to another in my entire existence, and i am even itching right now to move again, if not only for the very cheap cost of the very small space i am currently renting in the very expensive city in this metro i’ve insisted myself into. my aunt was telling my mother that with my present salary, i could already afford to buy a house somewhere in the outskirts of the city. i did try already, but i didn’t continue even if it meant wasting some hard-earned money. i couldn’t commit to more than a year of relationship with a love interest, what makes me think i can for 20-25 years with a Realtor?
back to the house above (photo). it just interested me one lazy afternoon while looking by my room’s window railings. it is sandwiched between tall buildings and modern apartments (which i unfortunately wasn’t able to accurately capture because of the limits of my location), and as you can see, by scary electrical wirings (… calling MERALCO). not a long time ago, this kind of house is already the standard amongst the well-off in the philippines. right now though, it is just trying to survive. it may seem a little out-of-place considering its ‘neighbors,’ but it appears to still stay strong despite some parts being in tatters. and beautiful, i suppose, especially to the family it shelters, the one which calls it home.
i rarely get sick. i’m happy and proud of my almost zero-sickness record this year. i can’t say i have a 100% healthy lifestyle. sure, i take no alcohol, i don’t smoke, and i don’t eat pork much. but i also don’t exercise, i don’t sleep early, and i don’t watch my diet. i credit my “healthy” state (with that i mean not having any cold, cough, or fever often) to eating breakfast. no specific foods. just anything with rice and egg, and i am good. oh, and banana, too. i do become hypochondriac though sometimes. having some palpitations makes me worry that i am doomed and sights getting blurrier and blurrier for me leads me into thinking that i’m getting blind. but so far, i am grateful that i am not struck with the usual ailments and don’t have to visit the doctor often. in the first place, i don’t want to visit one. secondly, i don’t like doctors.
i can count using the fingers of my one hand the times in my entire life that i had to go to a doctor. they were mostly for employment purposes. being raised by adults who were born and raised in the province, i am used to all those natural ways of healing. before “herbal” and “organic” got mainstream through those supplements and medicines, my mother and grandmother long introduced them to me. even if i wasn’t sick, they made me take this drink they created from boiling assorted leaves or roots like that of guava, star apple, pandan, and mango. For a while too, a piece of garlic served as our pre-bedtime “pill.” When my brother and i got fever or the like, they performed an act called “lutay.” it was like a massage where pieces of banana leaves with oil (baby oil or coconut oil or other kinds of oil they also concocted out of certain things) in them was put on different parts of the body to find the “sickest” spot. either that act performed on us by my mother, or she would take us to a local doctor or faith healer, who would also perform a different set of rituals to determine whether it was just a common illness or it was caused by a bad spirit. although not all the time i agreed with these means due to the bitter taste of the drinks or after-smell of the formula, i must say they were effective because we were cured. when we transferred to the city though, i started doubting their effectiveness because other people doubted it or laughed at the thought of it. way back, other people viewed someone who used such ways of healing as one doing some witchcraft or someone, yes, from the province. since when i was younger, i used to value more what other people say or think, i started to reject the leaves and the roots and everything related to my roots (pun intended). i did not totally embrace though the kind of medicine the city offers. up until now, i rarely drink tablets and capsules of pain relievers (i just can’t swallow them well), and like i mentioned, i don’t really see a doctor. what did i do then? i just prayed. with the faith that i would eventually feel better, i fought those ailments. thankfully, they did pass.
at present, i am back with the natural means. i self-treat myself whenever i don’t feel well. i boil some water with roots of ginger and it serves as my vitamin drink. i eat fruits and do my best to eat veggies as often as possible. i still don’t take supplements even if they’re made from organic and herbal formula. i still think that since they are manufactured in laboratories, they have these hidden bad side effects. i hope i am wrong. because the ironic thing is my grandmother (juana), who is 95 or 96 years old, and my mother, are open now to those kinds of medicines. they have their daily dose of vitamin pills which, they say, really make them feel healthy. they still take other herbal drinks though, so i think i have nothing to worry.
but i still doubt doctors. this sentiment is only purely based on my experience. during the few times i sought their service, they didn’t actually help in curing me. they just asked me a few questions about how i feel, what i eat, what my work is, and then scribbled some drugs i had to take (which i did not always do), advised me to not eat or drink this or that, and charged me with an unbelievable amount for that less-than-ten-minutes chit-chat. they’re not even friendly (at least, that was what i felt). or cute. no dr. mcdreamy or dr. grey who feels strong concern for her patients. that’s why i think dr. house is the only realistic portrayal of their kind. with the crankiness i mean. at least, he was really helping someone get well. unlike those i encountered in real life that made me go home to my province every time i feel that my illness is a little serious and resort to a local doctor, or what they tag as a quack doctor. but i think those medical shows that romanticize the medicine field should be blamed, too, for either the high expectations for it or the disappointment with it in the real world.
i’m not saying every doctor is the same. may it be a quack doctor or a schooled doctor, they all act based on their individual skills and knowledge. and they can either heal or worsen conditions. i just hope every one of them has and show real concern to people who seek their help, and not just go with their usual ask-prescribe-pay ritual. because sometimes, it’s the concern that would help more. it’s that concern that would make the person get well.
i am fortunate that i was not getting any cold or fever. i really think i’ve had a strong immune system. until two days ago. because of ice-cream. it started the tonsillitis, then it led to a runny nose, now cough, and a mild fever. and because of that, i’ve been absent from work for two days now. worse, because of that, i will have to go see a doctor. for a medical certification that i got sick. otherwise, i won’t be able to resume work. for that reason, i am thankful. seriously though, with that visit, i hope to meet one that will “sweep me off my feet” and change my cynical view. for now, i will continue with my self-medication and pray that this itchy, scratchy feel on my throat will soon be gone.
(image credits: www.robotplunger.com; 2.bp.blogspot.com)
i left the office past twelve the other night. i walked from the building’s exit debating with myself whether i would just take one of the cabs in front of my way or brave the secret fear in me, head to the main street and wait for a bus, so i wouldn’t spend much for the fare. it was a holiday so i would be taking chances for some bus that would pass the avenue. normally, even if it is past twelve, the city is still busy. that’s why there was a little fear, too, that there would be fewer people, or maybe none at that hour, that would still be roaming around. even if i am used to going home late, there was still that small fear for bad elements readying for their next target. but the miser in me won and walked with my head up (i believed doing so would fool the hold-upers and the like into thinking that i was a tough one to get) to the main avenue. true enough, there was only one bus i saw as i neared the bus stop. thankfully, there was no bad stuff that happened. unfortunately, i missed the bus. the taxis where still tempting me, but i opted to wait for another bus.
and there i stood, and took a good look of the city.
it was sad.
the buildings here used to intimidate me. they were like six-footer models telling me that i didn’t have what it took to belong. everything about this place screams affluence, which i was not and did not have, and still am not and do not have. but then, i insisted and pushed myself in. it was not because i wanted to belong with or fit in to that affluent atmosphere. it was just because of that “feel” of the city. people in my humble and quiet hometown, my family included, still do not understand why i prefer living by myself in a polluted and noisy place like this. the truth is i find solace in the city. its madness drowns my fears, my tears, all my uncertainties. the city and i, we actually belong.
that night, when i was standing there, i felt the city’s sadness. it seemed as if i saw her tearing up feeling deserted and useless after a day of being used up and dragged to the worldly causes of people who were not mindful of her presence. true, there were a few cars either passing her weary streets or parked, workers who were either eager to come home or hesitantly walking to their posts, and couples seizing what was left of that night. but these were not enough to ease the city’s loneliness. she was used to the daily rushers, the honks and screeches of tires on her roads, and the dust and smoke filling in her system. and that night, she was missing them. what was only there was her lone self and her sadness. or could it be that the city felt mine?
i saw a bit of twinkle in her eyes when i got a glimpse of some fellows putting up Christmas lights in the middle of the street. they were just starting, so i didn’t appreciate much the concept this year. maybe, the city’s having a “white Christmas” judging on the only white lights i saw. good for her. i’m having a blue one. again. it has been. it was not supposed to be this year. but with recent events, eight months of anticipating and preparing for that “happy day” has gone bye-bye in an instant. it is amazing how one can be that full of hope and love for months and then, turn into a vase of emptiness in just one day of tough realization and decision-making. yet again, as what is often said, things happen. it’s not meant to be. we are not meant to be. he’s not mine anymore.
i saw some twinkling lights from afar and i knew it was my bus already. :p