Vacation Titled, “Eat. Pray. Love.” Part I

Greetings from Incheon. I’m currently making my way to Manila and found it hard to take naps for more than 20 minutes. Here’s to hoping writing this post will induce sleep so I can forget that I have another about 9 hours to go on this flight, which is my layover to Incheon.

It’s been about twelve years since I visited the Philippines with my mom and brother. This time I’m flying alone as an adult, mildly apprehensive about how my Tagalog will sound once I land in Manila when I’m amongst my people. I know that most places in the Philippines speak English, but for two weeks I’d like to unplug from my American ways and roll with what I have, reconnecting to the country where my family is from and where I spent a small portion of my life when my mom struggled to take care of me and my brother on her own for a couple of years. I decided to take this trip in mid-July after discovering Prime Video had a decent number of Filipino movies to watch for streaming. When I watched what appealed to me, it made me wonder what my life would have been if my mom decided to stay in the Philippines for good with me and my brother. Let me preface, my parents are very much together now with three grown children and four grand-dogs, they’re happy, but there was a time where my parents struggled by the time I was four years old. I knew I needed to take this trip and got over the idea that I couldn’t take more than a week away from my patients. I learned about the importance of needing to take time for myself for a change.

A week ago, I thought I had thrown my dream away over a mistake I made. In the first several hours, I thought it was traumatizing and was immediately feeling undeserving. I didn’t recognize who I was when my mistake was identified and didn’t recognize the person I was when I felt shock go through my body from what was taking place. I broke someone in the worst possible way because of my carelessness. I found myself back at my parent’s house, painfully putting my belongings away until I sat down with my mother in the evening where I told her every detail of why I made my mistake. I needed to hear why I did what I did in the last few years to understand even though I thought I knew what I wanted, I really didn’t. I spent so much time chasing a fantasy of what I wanted that I didn’t spend enough time with myself, alone, in my mid-20s. I really wish I could go back in time and shake myself at 25, 26, and 27.

This conversation I had with my mother concluded close to one o’clock in the morning and in that time, I learned: 1.) I still didn’t speak up enough and as much as I’m okay with conflict, I was still avoiding it, 2.) I’m always the giver and I never take, 3.) I made a lot of excuses in the last eight years because I wanted a dream to survive and I never came back down from the dream to face reality, and 4.) I’m not a horrible person despite doing something horrible, I truly wasn’t ready for anything and should have spoken up. This post isn’t made to teach anyone anything about relationships, communications, or to feel sorry for me, but know that the most important person in life is yourself. Go ahead, make mistakes, but keep coming back from your mistakes and move forward. Taking this trip alone and being with family and re-immersing myself with Filipino culture was meant to be as I need to take as much time necessary to figure out what I want. What I really, really want. That’s the cue that I’m ready for another nap if I’m seriously ending this post quoting the Spice Girls. Good day.

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