not your ordinary sweet 16

by Evans Yonson

(Note: This blog came out in September 2005 as part of the daily countdown before my departure from the university residence hall in Madrid, Spain.)

madrid – i’m a melancholic person. i love memories of the past but i don’t cry a river siene over it. in the movie, before sunset, celine, the character played by julie delpy, said, “Memories are wonderful, if you don’t remember the past.” isn’t that profound?

now, what are my most wonderful and fondest memories? most of it would be my travels. im no traveler for nothing, nancy…. let’s go back to the farthest then to the latest.

1. my childhood in cagayan de oro – when my tatay was in the army and we had all the time in all our lives with nanay alone. we watched movies together. we did chores together and we were assigned our own tasks to do every day. nanay baked for us. prayed the angelus every 6pm.

2. my days in Xavier – from grade school to high school up to the university. the jesuit education that i had is incomparable. bestfriends for life – jude, erwin, dominic and arnold. and the rest of the tri-lambs. my lifetime love, don quixote. my theater days. my friends, oliver, joy, ingrid, tina, beth c, and mitch a and the whole devcom batch 89. my professors – mayette rivera and linda burton. my athropologoy classes. my photography classes. my communication classes. my sociology papers. my thesis. and then my devcom students of batches 98 and 00.

3. my first job – my new found freedom. free to go where i want to go where my savings could get me. i started to smoke and using my own money to kill myself. i went to bukidnon and bohol to handle and manage some agrarian reform projects.

4. my first travel to manila – my masters in UP. my work with the government. my work with that school in intramuros. my frequent apartment transfer. 10 transfers in almost 12 years. charlie. jude. ydua. lirio. chisum and gigi. the cdo friends in manila. my ngo work. my student film festival. my annual orphanage visits.

5. sawatdekaa and ni hao – trips to thailand and china were with my nanay, vya and tchang. onin went with us to china. we loved bangkok. the china syndrome was a robbery in broad daylight.

6. new york, new york! – start spreading the news! i went to the BA alone (Big Apple and not Buenos Aires). although my cousin showed me around on my first day, i was left to discover the city myself. i love the hudson river ride. the metro. cenral park. the chrysler tower. and almost all of the places and sites to see sans the twin tower. i’m in the new york state of mind….

7. banaue and sagada – my first trip to banaue was with my former officemates, osang, eli and mulong. when i came back, i was with my kalso student-friends. we went to sagada to do spelunking in one of those famous caves. the 8th wonder of the world.

8. camiguin – the best island in the philippines where nature is at its best. beaches – white and black. springs – hot and cold. people – young and old, warm and very tender. and the guys – most of them you’ll get free. you know what i mean….

9. boracay – twice in less than 2 months. one of the best beaches in the philippine islands. second only to my camiguin island.

10. cagayan valley – always with my very dear bestfriend, lirio. the bus 8-hour bus ride. the cagayan river.

11. my affairs – julius – the most serious of them all. and now, francisco. so many men, yet so little affairs.

12. my grand european tour – spain (madrid, santiago, avila, toledo, barcelona, valencia, cuenca, aranjuez, salamanca, extremadura, soria, zaragoza, pontevedra, vigo, a coruna), italy (milan, venice, florence, pisa, rome), france (paris, versailles), UK (london, brighton), portugal (lisboa, oporto, fatima, coimbra). so many cities, so little time and money…

13. my spanish education – the universidad complutense de madrid is the best in spain when it comes to masters in international cooperation according to the latest report of the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores and the national daily, El Mundo. the 43 classmates that i had including beatrix (austria), mimi (colombia), santi (spain), alexi (peru), consuelo (venezuela), paola (colombia), luis (bolivia), rocio (spain), stratus (u.s.a.) titi (spain), kristel (u.s.a.), vanessa (peru), fanny (colombia), lola (spain), yuli (venezuela), monique (peru), karin (spain), marina (brazil), walter (colombia), marta (colombia), marta h (spain), eva (spain), and my dear, kasha (queen of varsovia) – they call me puto filipino (the food and not the male prostitute). es de puta de madre de conoceros. genial os digo… and of course, my dear salome (the institute’s technical secretary).

14. the four seasons – fall(back) one hour. black winter(jacket). spring(forward) one hour. hotta hotta summer(time). the changing of the seasons. you know it’s spring when people start sneezing everywhere. you know it’s summer when all you hear in madrid are english words. you know summer is over when all you see are tanned spaniards. the changing of time. the colors. the fashion. the snow. the wind. i love springfield!!! and humana is the best store in town…

15. my thesis about ecotourism – making me more aware of the environment and the potentials of nature as a tool to counter poverty in a sustainable manner. almost 3 months of reading and writing. my thesis adviser, juan garrido, the only cebuano-speaking spaniard i ever met here in madrid. he speaks very good cebuano, i tell you.

16. and africa!!! (am saving this one for october 1st.)

that’s 16 days away, and forever it will just be a part of my memory then. and will never be a part of my past. always in my memory. and if only ethan hawke could see me now.