by Evans Yonson
(Note: The series Mondays in Africa were originally written and published on September 2005, as a countdown for The Light Traveller’s leaving his university residence in Madrid, Spain.)
madrid – when i turned 18 many lunar and solar eclipses ago, there was no celebration. in fact, i was so busy studying for it was finals week and i was in my second year in the university. i had to maintain a grade of A- as i was scholar of the yonson foundation. that day passed without so much funfare. and i was not so demanding then because jjosh and vya were still in private high school. they were also beneficiaries of the foundation too. all i wanted was simple – to be healthy in the next year. life was not complicated then.
after leaving the university and when i started to earn myself a living, i turned 21. i had a very small celebration. just a barbeque party and pasta. that was all i can afford then. all i wanted was simplier – to earn more money and be healthy in the next year. life was simple and relaxed then. no pressures.
at 22, year 1. with more savings, i treated my family to dinner still at home. all i wanted was a bit grander – to get away from cagayan de oro. life was so simple that i decided to complicate it.
at 22, nth year. my boss had a grand meeting in edsa shangri-la and she ordered a sumptuous dinner for me to take home and celebrate. pastries and beer abound. all i wanted was again simple – to be healthy in the next year. life was simple again.
at 22, another nth year. having been promoted to be the national information officer of a government agency, the office gave us (october celebrators) snacks from a famous fastfood chain. all i wanted was beyond – to be healthy and finish my masters. life was getting complicated every single day.
at 23, year 1. after a six-months study leave, i came back to work with a renewed spirit. i decided to have a small party because a new pc. all i wanted was a bit higher now – to be financially stable and earn more. life was again simple.
at 23, year 2. already teaching at that school in intramuros and still working with that government agency, one of the first birthdays that i had so many to be thankful for. the lechon (roasted pig), friends, health, savings. all i wanted was even higher – to go beyond manila. life should be complicating, i thought.
at 24, year 1. after having been to asia and the u.s., resigning from that government agency and not going back to that school, i still had lechon for my birthday, which my brothers sent me. all i wanted was simple – to be healthy and study another language. life was simple again.
at 25, nth year. after studying spanish, finishing my masters, working all over asia, and leaving the philippines, i had 2 melted ice cream cakes, 6 cans of mahou beer, and 4 pinoy friends. all i wanted was really simple – to be healthy in the next year. life was complicated.
this year, at 26, year 1. after hopefully submitting my masters thesis, renewing my residence card, moving out of the dorm, and probably earning some euros, i will be partying with a pinoy family and nats (and who knows who will surprise me on that day). it will be a very simple party. i want to be healthy in the next year. life will be very complicated that all i really want is to be 18 all over again.