It was a sunny Sunday in the mountain city. We went to church that morning and had a simple family lunch somewhere. I can’t remember where though. My parents took me to the bus terminal after as I was travelling to the big metro that day to start a new job. I remember my Dad bought me Gatorade Lime while waiting for my bus. It was in a breakable bottle since pet bottled ones weren’t a thing back then.
My Mom helped me pack my things while my Dad gave me his final instructions the night before. And in the few minutes before I rode the bus, both of them reminded me of all the things I needed reminding of.
I hugged them when the bus arrived.I rode the bus, carrying my backpack, a box containing my compact desktop and a few kitchen items as well as a few vegetables, and a big bag containing my computer monitor. I sat at seat #32, it was a window seat.
I was trying so hard not to cry because my Mom was already crying. I can see my Dad was holding it all together so I didn’t cry, too. Oh, they prayed for me before I rode the bus.
The bus left a few minutes after. My parents watched and followed the bus as it left the terminal until it was well on the road.
I no longer remember what was running through my head during that long trip to the big metro. But what I can remember is the loneliness that hit me as soon as I sat in my rented room, about to eat dinner, alone, in silence.
I had corned beef. I like corned beef. But that night, I suddenly missed my Mom’s homecooked meal. I missed having conversations while having dinner. I missed arguing with my siblings whose turn it was to do the dishes.
All of a sudden, I was alone in a small rented bedroom in the big metro, trying to prove that I am a grown up.
I remember calling home that time. Just trying to make things a little bit livelier than what it actually was. I called a few friends late that night, too, just wanting to connect because I was feeling so disconnected.
I tried to sleep early that night, hugging the extra pillow that was provided by the landlord. But I cried myself to sleep. I was so lonely and so alone.
I woke up very early the next day. It was unusual, actually, since I usually wake up late. I ate a light breakfast then prepared for work. It was my first day, after all.
I rode the MRT and walked a few meters to my workplace. I was not used to the heat so I was sweating when I reached my building. I had a few minutes to spare to freshen up so it was fine.
It was a good day. I met my co-trainees and enjoyed my first day. I was eager to get home after work. I reached home before 5PM, only to find out that the unit where I was renting a room at was locked and I have yet to receive a copy of the key. I sat by the door, looking lost, the feeling of loneliness starting to creep in, when my Aunt, who lived at the top floor of the building, saw me and invited me for a snack.
I went with her. She asked me how my day was and I said it went well. We had a few small talks before I left. The unit was open. I got in, went to my room, sat on the bed with a lost look.
I called my Mom. She was happy to hear from me and then she asked how my day was. I cried. Damn, I was such a crybaby back then. I told her how lonely it felt because I cannot tell them in person how my day went.
We were both crying on the phone. But she reminded me the reason why I wasn’t there back home. I had dreams, I had goals. And somehow, that eased up the loneliness just a tiny bit.
That was 12 years ago. I was a wide-eyed little girl, trying to make it big in the big metro. I got out of my comfort bubble and tried something that was unfamiliar to me.
12 years later and I am still here. I have overcome a lot, tried so many things, grew a little bit older. And while life in the big metro is hard, I can say that I am glad to have made that decision to leave my comfort zone and try to make a life for myself. I am glad and thankful that my parents supported my decision all those years ago.