A person I’ve been missing for a long time came home to the Philippines just recently. She’s officially on a graduate scholarship abroad, but she’s back in the country for the summer. I talk about her to anyone who will listen, if only to validate the strange, happy feeling of knowing someone who’s getting support to study Biostatistics at one of the world’s top universities for the field. I haven’t seen her in two years. Not much has changed in our relationship, but in many ways things are no longer the same, including the two of us as individuals.
The sad part about caring for someone who is based abroad is that you can do practically nothing but listen and keep constant communication with them. Listening to my friend’s struggles of adjusting to a different culture and to general isolation caused by pursuing her dreams and the good of the country, there were times when I worried for her. I’ve always had this impression that people in temperate countries tend to feel sadder than those of us in tropical lands because of the cold weather. I worried. When I met my friend again though, just a few days ago, she looked very much alive. Struggling, just like the rest of us, but maybe I only know that because I know her. Undeniably, however, she is more in control of her situation than most people are in control of their own lives. The glow of possibility radiates around her.
It was a great feeling, seeing someone change drastically for the better. There was an aura of confidence around her, a general air of being cosmopolitan that hinted at anyone who would look closely that she is sure of who she is because she has seen what is out there. If anything, I became even prouder of my friend – for her and of her. She is, and perhaps she does not even notice this, becoming the formidable woman she is meant to be. I thought to myself – walking next to her and trying to keep up with her brisk stride while holding a tray of eggs and cake that we were carrying to her house – someday I would like to be like her, too. Someday I would like to be able to confidently present to the world that ‘this’ is what I choose to devote my life to. It would be great to radiate a glow of possibility, I think – just as great as it is to see it.
Photo (c) stockpic.