It is the first week of January 2012 and I find myself sitting on a stool, typing away on my laptop which sits atop a plain white wooden table, glancing every once in a while at three other big monitors on tables on my left and right in front of me, music playing, while people walk up and down the wooden steps of this urban minimalist office I happened to have found myself in this Londony afternoon (read: umbrellas) – contemplating on some statements slash accusations hurled at me on the phone by some Neanderthal (oops livin high and yu-uh, takin it easy). Strangely enough, this office reminds me of some bar called S. Yes, bright white lights and walls and bookcases (real or imagined) always remind me of offices. Maybe that is the reason why I wouldn’t want to hang out at Bar S. Who wants to hang out at the end of a work day and still feel like you’re still at the office? Regardless of who owns this bar or that bar, I have a predisposition for dim lights.
A predisposition to never be that exposed, but maybe only by a tad? A desire to not be too seen, to be there, but not really be there, a choice to be social or anti, aloof or otherwise. Yes, dim lights.
What am I doing here, really? I’m here because the beach is here. The beach is calling me (cue in: All Saints’ Pure Shores). Arriving at the grand terminal two nights ago, with the weather comparable to that of windy, rainy, minus snowy, Chicago in February, with my evergreen everbright big backpack heavier than mine and Lia’s combined weight and an overnight bag packed with all that I might ever need, including cottonbuds, I asked myself that question. What am I doing here really?
I’m here because I am moving here, but more than that, what is in here that would want to make me actually move?
The first night whirred by, as we, in a scooter, visited bars one by one, eating and drinking as we go. I realized, clubbing works. I realized I must also be getting old. Loud music with frenetic teenagers stress me out. I always say, when asked what my genre is, folk and country.
I’ve been told my personality is more suited for the laid back. I was most at peace when I was living in the island, by the beach, where the crashing of the waves on the rocks soothed me, calmed my always near-to-frazzled nerves and my thoughts drowned in the wind.
Bar after bar we came and went and I was near to thinking whether I was actually willing to take the plunge into uprooting myself in the chaos that is Naga, the community bar that is Wharf, into moving to this city where I know less and less people and clubbing works, seemingly without fail.
Then we drove into near empty wide streets, that looked like Espana, only that it is empty, totally. Past the mall that tried its best to be like Mall of Asia, into the boulevard. The boulevard by the sea that actually led to…. nowhere, and I fell in love.
In the cold and dark, we followed that boulevard and…
I was reminded of Mui Wo – a little seaside village where the expats of Hong Kong lived with their families. Mui Wo with its carless streets and hundred-bicycle parking lot, leaving every morning and arriving every night – a ferry ride away from Central.
I was reminded of Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete where the sun rose on jogging locals while expats watched in their al fresco cafes sipping French coffee, drinking German beer, munching croissants and English breakfasts.
I was reminded of the Partido Riviera, where the sky melted with the sea in an endless, partition-less blue. Where is the horizon, you ask yourself.
Here I can take long walks by the sea with my daughter who loves the water as much as I do. Who loves the wind on her face, the water lapping at her feet and all around her. Boats, I saw boats! Yes, I can live here.
Everything here will be better. Everything here will be better with my daughter.
Why am I moving here? Because I want a simpler life. Because I want a life where I can spend mornings walking down this seaside boulevard with my daughter, to come home only to make breakfast and take her to an international school, working in the office right by where her school is as I wait for her to come out – flushed with joy from playing with friends and learning all kinds of stuff she would want to make something out of when she is older – like numbers, colors, letters and sounds.
This year is going to be different, only because this year is going to be for her and for me, and no one else. This year is not going to be for the employees of Bar W and their concerns, whether they get to keep their jobs or not. This year is not going to be for the musicians, whether they get to keep their venue or they put extra efforts in finding a place and a crowd. People will always put their own interests first, I better put mine first too. This year is not going to be for anything other than going back to the basics. This year is going to be for doing what I love most – and that is being a mom.