Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Farewell Party and Other Matters

The longer, more spine-tingling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix trailer, which really did make goosebumps rise on my arm.



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Yesterday's farewell party for M started with a disappointment: when I checked yesterday, my stipend wasn't in yet. O_o

But still, I trooped up to M's house along Pasir Panjang - a good fifteen-minute walk from the campus - and was there by 5.30 in order to help arrange the common areas for the party. Yep, it's That Party - our group's amazing effort at saying goodbye to M, since this was her last semester. Obviously, myself and S, being the Granddame Organizers, were there early (on time) and lounged around the room, looking at each other and randomly fiddling with our phones while waiting for people to come in. Sandra was the first guest, and then Gene, and then people just followed, tumbling hurdy-gurdy into the room, and for a good 45 minutes, we were rushing around, taking everyone's bags and putting it in the room and setting up the food on the tables and pouring drinks into everyone's hands. Lorie was already attacking the Bailey's (yes, she was on the floor with a cup full of ice and occassionally pouring in a thimbleful into the cup) and Meena was happily into the wine, as was Aloysius and Sandra and Sorelle. It was just so cool to see people being able to mingle, paper plates in hand, music thumping in the background (I didn't have Leandro with me, so it was all thanks to M's laptop) - and the FOOD! Goodness, everyone just brought so much and it was lovely that we were all just digging in and to hell with diets and stress eating, but we needed that. ^_^

And then afterwards, Lorie taught us a party game (Psychiatrist) and we all had a ball torturing each other (yeah, I was one of those who got the short end of the stick) and then JZ brought out her card games and everyone just curled up on the floor and played around, and we dispersed in small groups - some were smoking outside, and others gathered around the table, where ice cream was being set out - and it was just a lovely evening and in the end, it was myself, Rapti, M and S who stayed on in her room until around 3 AM and then it was getting too late and a light rain was falling, and it was perhaps the perfect time to leave.

I'm just a bit sad because M's flat was usually the place to be to hold such gatherings - whether they were small, impromptu ones or these large, organized parties - and I suppose a lot of us were comfortable with the place already, and the fact that it was available. Towards the end of the evening, Lorie and Nathan and I were sitting at the low bamboo easy chair (cos Nathan was already sleepy and incoherent, so it was just mainly Lorie and I talking) and she was saying, "It was only towards the latter end of the semester that I was really happy here, and now we're going back home for the vacation and this won't be here anymore." And I think I know what she means - that somehow, we've managed to integrate our lives into this funny, whirling tapestry of movement and stillness, and that these people are our friends, that we've managed to survive with them through the difficulties and triumphs of graduate school, and at the end, most of us leave because this isn't home without the people you're with.

When I first learned that I was going to Singapore last year, I thought to myself that I was perfectly happy with the friends I have in Manila and that I don't really need any new friends, really. Looking back, almost a year ahead, I laugh at the absurdity of the situation. I would never have been able to survive Singapore so far without my friends - back home and here. Real people, with whom I will fight and make up with, with whom I can call at a moment's whim and drag out for movies and meals, who will take me to the hospital in the middle of the night just because this is what friends do. And I'm glad. And I'm thankful. ^_^

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11 more days until blast off.

11 days, 2 exams, and too little time to say goodbye.

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