if not forward

Since my year started with an absolute blah & not being in the very hippest place in my life right now, I think looking back merits a stub of limelight. Because when some days seem to be a bit bleak, we reach out for some small comfort, reverting to old habits. But since home is far away & some years ago, we learn to seek comfort in a place we're just beginning to likewise find solace, in a completely different envirnoment. The sky reaching down to the valley on my kitchen window view.
My courage & bravery for leaving home was applauded by family & friends in France when I arrived. Being 11,000km away & 7 hours apart from the life I know seemed unimaginable to them. Although it was quite big to venture into the unknown, it was not like climbing Mount Everest. Being away provided so much growth. And it's not just about the delight & trouble of autonomy but of self-reliance. Where independence was more synonymous to being alone in a good way.

It is only when the zest of the new & the discovering fades away, or when you are unfortunately confronted by difficult situations that you actually realize how far 11,000km are & how long the 7 hour time difference is. On how encouraging it is to know that your family is just a drive away, the assurance of their mere presence. It then becomes unimaginable to be so far away. Especially when you just need to hold more hands while you're facing the many shadows of fear that comes with adulthood.

And for the years of being away from the comfort zone, and when all voices of comfort sometimes fail, I found available remedies here. Although some are irreplacable, they do wonders in ways, or make me dream of home when days are dreary.

I used to find comfort in barbeques, taho & fishballs probably rich in bacteria. Now they are replaced by the colors of sweet patisseries, an expensive indulgence that goes to a bigger belly, bigger hips & flabby arms. Strawberry tartes...

No matter how trivial weather talk is, there is always comfort in the sun. I used to have it almost 8 months a year & now I have an erratic change of weather. Now I really see the big difference not having the sun for 4 consecutive days. Spring is always to look forward to!

I have always found serenity in sunsets. Driving the roads of traffic then of nothingness to see it set on you. And you know that the farther you go, there would be sea & sand. Now I just see its illumination when the sky turns orange. But we have such a beautiful sunrise.

was an unconscious security in the noises of your home. Now replaced by the peace of your own sound, aloneness becomes a confusing word.

occasional Happy Hours are replaced by a glass or two of white wine in the bubbles of the bath tub sprinkled with bath salts. It's almsot like a good 250php home massage back home.

The bright malls lined with shops & restaurants are now replaced by weekly markets in the town's centre, out in the open air. I normally don't find what I want but there is as much hustle & bustle.

And the thing that still amazes me is how with the abundance of good food in France, I still crave for sinigang, artery exploding lechon kawali, arroz caldo, stinking daing, to name a few for comfort food. And it does make me feel better every single time.

Sometimes I forget I'm in France. I am only reminded of it when I think about how you can never ever feel alone back home even if you want to. Last year was a tough year & this year does not look so promising. But I'm still holding my breath. With strawberry tartes, bubble baths & sunrises.


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. I believe that one of the best way to learn is to being away from home. We learn the hard way don't we? From not being able to cook for ourselves and being home away from home we have mastered the French culinary lol ! I also think that we can adapt a lot from being away from the things we're used to and being in a new country.

    Even if you crave for Sinigang, lechon or kare-kare I am just a drive away Makis ;)!

    Cherish the past, live the present to the fullest and look forward to a bright future ;) !

  2. Yup, Haze, live the present to the fullest! I guess learning how to cook or doing house chores is actually the easiest part - being autonomous. I realized that to learn to be self reliant was harder. Where you really cannot rely on others. But that's life!

    Basta we'll food trip again soon :) When you come visit???? LOL

  3. Hi there - I finally found your blog (a link here or there). Kala kinda "introduced" you to me when she made kwento about living in the south. Anyway, so true - your post. Even if France is full of good food, I am constantly craving sinigang, caldereta, and those little barbecue sticks you can buy in the corner street for 5 pesos each.

  4. Hi Timi! Kala likewise already introduced you to me :) I've already visited your blog from Francesca's links actually. When you're in the South, don't heistate to let us know :)

  5. Hey, Makis! This year is going to be great (repeat 100 times until it becomes true). Take care of you.

  6. Hi Makis,

    If you're indulging in tarts and other baked goods, I saw no evidence of it on you!

    Must be difficult, having to uproot from everything and everyone you've known. I can only imagine...

  7. Hi Apol! Great to see you here on my blog! Well, technically, it's not yet a hundred times because I've been saying that every morning since the satrt of the year :) I know everything's well on your side. If you ever get lost around here, do let me know!

    Hi Joanne! That is because you didn't see me before :) Life always gives us something better, if not, substitutions at least.

  8. cheer up! spring came early this year, so maybe that's a good sign?!...

    being self-reliant in a place where you can't seem to find the "right" place to anchor to is really difficult... but don't fret... we will reach that state... and i say "we" for you are not alone in this sea of uncertainty:)...

    hang in there!... with the warm season here, it will help chasing away the blues :)...

  9. Where is "around here"? I know Kala is in Paris (I think), Hazel is still in Marseille, and that you moved. But where are you now exactly?

  10. huwatt? you're complaining about the erratic weather? what about us here?.. hmmm, if you only know how i find it unfair that almost every weather report, you have the sun there in the south.. and we have rain or snow here..