“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
When we were kids, we were told to dream big, be ambitious and especially that we can do anything but as we grow older we realize that life is more about paying bills and making a living. After sitting under the stars and the vast cosmos, you can’t help but notice how small we are, the secrets that lie in the galaxies and just how much is out there.
Rarely do people ever get the chance to see a sky full of stars for it requires you to leave all the pleasures a modern life and delve into a life that our ancestors used to live in. The experience awakened a philosophical thinking in an endless train of thought about life and our place in it. Under the starry skies looking at the countless fireflies while lying down on the beach made me reflect on my journey here. Sure, it has been really tough to transition from what I was used to what I have right now, but the experience has been one of the most breathtaking and amazing in my entire life. Turquoise blue oceans, cold waterfalls and high cliffs have just given me a different perspective on life in total. The warmth of the people taught me how we used to be close communities that cared and supported each other once upon a time before the technology took over that made phones smarter and humans dumber.
Such a journey it has been in these past two weeks where my homestay family – Marizza and Popeye have cared for me as one of their own. I’ve had lovely talks till late night where they shared deeply about their life and the culture of Filipino people as well as heard my experiences as a student from India living in Hong Kong. I would say it has been a wonderful experience travelling with them to churches, waterfalls and freshwater pools. I honestly felt a bond similar to what I possess with my parents which still feels unbelievable. Their 3 sons AJ, Reymar and Emaan have treated me as their brother – singing, dancing, drinking and talking with us in our small shack along with the whole barangay till 3 A.M in the night.
They have taught me how to climb trees to get fresh coconut water in the blistering heat, gotten us fresh spices from their gardens, barbequed squids late night and boated me and my friends in the open oceans for hours at a stretch. I can recall almost everyone by name in the basketball court in front of my house (our hangout spot to watch games and listen to hip music) and know all about their girlfriends and crushes!
In totality, I feel the experience has been one of its kind and I’ve never feel so welcomed and humbled. Smiles from strangers on the road is one thing I will definitely miss after returning to Hong Kong. Also, I really plan on being on close contact with them after I return to Hong Kong. Although, there is still so many experiences to come in my last few days about which I’m truly optimistic!