Ever since I found out that there was a picture-perfect lake with matching open air swimming pools just 10 minutes by foot from our house, I’ve been looking for every opportunity to spend the day there and pretend that I’m in some far-away beach resort — minus the gigantic price tag
I took advantage of our work-from-home moratorium to whisk myself and Tobias off to the lake, as soon as the work for the day was done. The even better news is that because of the COVID-19 guidelines, the number of people allowed into the park was limited per day, so there wasn’t the usual overflowing crowd that you would normally have to share the lake with, on a day when it was all sun and barely a cloud in the sky.
I settled in on our usual spot under the tree next to the baby wading pool, and just breathed in all the marvelous beach vacay vibes. Just generic happy chatter all around, children giggling and shrieking as they splash in the pools, and fellow sun-worshippers on this faux getaway just lying silently on their beach towels without a care in the world. I could get used to this.
As my son and I were enjoying a snack on our picnic mat, a small group of girls a few mats away from us stood up, assembled in a line, and then proceeded to dance what I knew to be a Tiktok-choreo. Oh sweet childhood. They flashed their prettiest smiles, danced, and guffawed loudly when they watched how their video turned out. I found myself suddenly a bit envious.
I guess on a day when you’re out to enjoy peace and quiet, you let your guard down enough that you can’t help but reflect on your life deeper than you would usually do. I suddenly missed my best friends from Manila, and realized that this would be a running theme in my life. Moving thousands of miles away to pursue my long-term happiness also meant that I had left behind what has brought me happiness in my past.
I was jealous that most of the people around me still see their childhood friends, their best friends, their siblings and relatives on the regular. If they were bored, they could just come over to each other’s houses, or maybe catch up over a cup of coffee in their favorite cafe. It’s probably a luxury that people never think about, if they never chose to move to anywhere else aside from home.
I wished that my best friends and I had the same luxury, that we could all just meet up on a whim, grow old together, inevitably immerse ourselves in each other’s web of family and friends, go through all the drama and the hilarity of life, and come out laughing at the end. But that is not our story. And I guess, that’s okay.
Ours is a different story, one overflowing with adventures and endless anecdotes, of get-togethers that are too rare and too short, but whose warmth reverberate a bit longer than others. I am grateful to have such strong and meaningful relationships, within a life where I was constantly zipping and zapping all around.