I have roughly a month to go before hopping on a plane and going back home for the Christmas break. It's exciting, definitely, to be speeding by familiar highways and hearing a language that I've only learned to love while I was away from it. I even miss the two-hour traffic jams and the stench of rotting garbage left in the middle of the street. To see family and friends again is just something that fills my little heart with glee and happiness.
But then, of course, there will be some changes. For one, our longtime household helper, Ate Grace, is leaving after eight years of being with us. She's now more like family rather than an employee of the family, and I'm really sad that I won't be home when she leaves (she goes back to Negros on November 18) and I will certainly miss her cooking and her tidbits of wisdom and small stories, and the way she takes care of our family. Sometimes I wish she would just stay with us forever - and make no mistake, she wants to - but sometimes familial obligations are the strongest bonds that bring us back home.
And another thing, I'm not sure yet how I'll be reacting to living with my family again. Of course I'll love seeing everyone, and being in a warm, noisy environment again, but somehow I've also become accustomed to living by myself, and having my own set of habits and little idiosyncrasies that might not fit the tiny space we've carved out for ourselves in the heart of the city. And that worries me, the idea of not being able to slip into a former life as easily as I would want to. And of course, Singapore has spoiled me in many ways - hot water, airconditioned spaces, free wireless Internet - little material things that have made my life easier and also made me less adaptable and more dependent on technology for little things. And of course it's such a breeze to get around Singapore: aside from the fact that it's small, the transportation system is up-to-date and ridiculously easy to learn and to manage that sometimes I wish our own local transportation department would get it into their heads that there are better ways to deal with the rush hour traffic jam.
There's also the hesitant idea of meeting people again - particularly people I haven't seen for quite some time, and some I'm meeting for the first time - and of just cramming as much experiences as I can in the four short weeks that I'll be in Manila. But of course, before all of that can come along, there are still seminar papers and research papers to write and present, exams to sit in for, and requirements to fulfill before the semester comes to a close.
In the end, I can't help but count the days and weeks - yes, weeks! - before I can finally pack my bags and hop on the airplane, close my eyes, and find myself back in Manila. :)