It has been the second week I stayed in this lovely village. I have fully got used to the simple lifestyle and would like to cherish every moment I spent here. It feels so good to make new friends and getting to know new stories every day. I have never tried to talk with strangers passing by me before, but here I can tell they are willing to know me through their eyes. So I just say “hi” and introduce myself, and the best thing is they will always be responsive and friendly, which makes me feel like popular and valuable and even helps me consolidate my confidence.
There are only two members in my host family, including our sister Nelly and her mother Nainai, which is kind of special among our classmates. However our house can be really alive due to the neighbors and all Nelly’s friends, who almost show up every day. We even celebrated the birthday of our neighbor and had dinner together last Thursday. Especially when night falls, we spend quality time together as a family, with people all sitting outside together and chatting. Even if sometimes the communication can be difficult and we may be quiet, the atmosphere is still very harmonious and pleasant. I particularly love it when some young guys come to play guitar and beat-box and we were really having a “music night”. Nikie is the girl living next to us and her singing voice is so touching. I recorded a local love song performed by her, which I will definitely show everyone when I go back to Hong Kong. And Nikie’s father Jong is really a nice and passionate person, who is always trying to explain everything that is interesting to us, even if he is not very fluent in English. Jong loves to go swimming and we also like it because he would bring fresh fishes back and Nelly and Jong’s wife would just cook it immediately. Along with coconut wine, we would again have a night feast together.
Last Sunday Nelly took us to the beach with Juno and Foung’s family, which is truly an unforgettable experience. It was my first time swimming, and also drinking beer, in the sea. I felt myself being warmly welcomed when talking to local people in the sea and having BBQ on the beach. They are just so friendly and generous to invite us to drink whiskey, sing Karaoke, and take pictures. Their enthusiasm and happiness are so real that it feels like visible and touchable. For many times I feel impressed by how east it can be to be content here.
The waterfall trip yesterday is just fantastic. I realized that I need more outdoor activities and I really would like to get stronger because it makes me feel a little bit guilty when everybody was helping me to climb up the cliff and jump. I knew I have to jump when everyone was counting for me. The cheering was so exciting and I didn’t want to disappoint my dear friends. I feel so lucky that my life is enriched with friendship, passion and freshness. I am also grateful to my family who have offered me the best they can do and made it possible for me to receive good education in HKU.
I think I have gained some precious value of life which I have always been looking for. Although the meaning of life can vary over time, I feel like enlightened at this stage. We are faced with many choices through our life. There are thousands of lifestyles, and the definition of “successful” is never absolute. Thinking beyond our current environment will make people more open-minded and less obsessive to certain things, both physically and psychologically. For example, I believe it will help me to overcome obstacles like peer pressure back in Hong Kong if I remind myself about the lifestyle here in Jagna, Bohol.