#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

Going Home

If you were to ask me a couple of years ago what my definition of “home” was, I would very quickly say the Philippines. After moving to Montreal though, I found it shocking that when I start to talk about home, I am referring to Montreal. I refer to the French-Canadian boy, looking melancholic while reading a poetry book on the bus on the way to the airport. I refer to the daily walks up Mont Royal. I refer to what my life has been the past year.

It was, therefore, a bit awkward every time people would ask me if I planned to settle back in the Philippines, if I was here for good now, or if I still planned to return to Canada. Setting aside economic differences that are inherently colonial in nature, I am relatively happy where I am. I am a boy of two homes, of two countries, of two cities. Montreal and Manila. Quebec and Quezon City.

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I was hit with a terrible surge of sadness at the airport. In the past, every time I flew somewhere, it was always someplace new. My first flight to Canada, for instance, was the very first time I’m in Canada. When I flew to Montreal from Newfoundland, I was to start a new life there. But now, when I’m flying back to Montreal, I’m not flying to somewhere new. I’m flying to my life. My 9 to 5 job. My plays and artworks and performances yet to be done.

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Over the past week, I developed a slight cough. I attribute it to both the heat (causing me to sweat profusely) and my propensity for the cold (causing me to turn on the air-conditioning to full blast every time I enter the condo with a sweaty back). I can also attribute it to tons of karaoke and my love for covering songs with a growl. Maybe I can attribute it to being with seven men? I don’t know — I had a cough.

Unfortunately, the plane ride would make it worse. That is actually the thing I would remember the most about the trip back. I would presume it started in NAIA. NAIA’s smoking room was really bad. You could barely breath in it.

In Taipei, the long walks did a number on my body. Yes, their smoking areas were relatively well-ventilated but it worsened my cough a lot. I tried some remedies from the pharmacy but it really didn’t work. Thank god they had face masks so people wouldn’t judge me as much.

But the full hit was at Vancouver. I was feeling really weak, really sleepy, and my voice was starting to leave me. I was asking the flight attendant on the trip to Montreal for water, and I was surprised at the shrill almost-silent voice that came out of my mouth.

Yes, I would find out later on I had viral laryngitis. Thanks.

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