30 Days Earlier
I cannot believe I just graduated. Again. The sheer pleasure of earning my Master’s degree is creeping in my veins like vodka shots after another and then some. I can’t wait to board my flight to Vientiane and meet-up with my good friends, devour Lao cuisine I missed so dearly, check-out the new places that were built–or finished–since I left, and rest. Finally, clear my head.
Vientiane is my second home; after all, it is where I started as a professional and the opportunities that came along with the whole experience. It is where I started blogging, ventured into photography and travel writing, served as expat, among other things that turned my life around in four years. I looked forward to this trip ever since my Mother broached the subject of tagging along with her–yet again–since I just graduated and she also felt I needed to rest even just a short while. When my name has been approved as a candidate for graduation, I was on my toes sending out my CV to prospective job posts. But then, I thought, the whole thing would be just as the same four years ago when I found myself working as an expat a week after my college grad. I had to make a choice. I needed change.
Stepping into Wattay International Airport feels like second-nature to me. No amount of uncertainty as to where I should go, how to hold polite conversations with the Immigration Police, fishing out our luggage from the carousel and booking a cab to our hotel. I spoke in my “get-by Lao” and was delighted that I can still talk as if I’m a local–at least with my mastered phrases and inflections.
Then the Month Went By Like A Tremendous Blur
Came Monday morning, my Mom got to work and my Dad, on his sabbatical, and I started with our respective ‘gap activities’. He’s writing and I was catching up on my reading and yes, soul-searching. It felt different experiencing Vientiane like I am a tourist as opposed to being part of the labor force. I was treading on a different world here, seeing Vientiane on a traveler’s lens. There was that element of peace and calmness in the air–characteristics known to tourists in Laos. I felt like all my worries and struggles in the past were melting together with the Mekong breeze. This is going to be an amazing month, I told myself.
Apart from weddings, parties, foodtrips and a long reading list I was able to fulfill, it was the soul-searching part that caught me off guard during the month. I busied myself with novels everyday, forgot a little that I am on a diet and ate whatever I felt like (only vegetarian, of course. Okay, not really), met up with my friends whom I dearly missed and above all, reflected on my next steps now that I am closing in to the legitimate age of adulthood. It’s crazy how worrying about absolutely nothing at all–after years of overthinking–can still drive one insane and restless to do something, hence force to focus on things that matter.
Now, I do have an idea what matters to me–and that is going after something real, something I created with every choice I made in the past. The only thing left to do is stand by it, hold on to it and fight for it. Whatever happens.
And before I knew it, I was packing again to go back to my hometown.