I initially made this WordPress site for my Fine Arts project (MapaLakad, the Old Manila walking tour), but as I am out of my home country for a year or so, I’m taking this as an opportunity to write about the places I’ve been to while I’m away.
This is quite a throwback post as I’m currently uploading some of the photos I took on my phone to my Google Drive. Let this be some sort of a travel journal so I could collect my thoughts, reflect more deeply about them, and perhaps have the strong urge to write a personal essay once more.
I arrived in Boston on the third week of August. My plane landed on the airport past 9 pm and the landlord couldn’t give me the keys to our apartment till the next day so I had to book an AirBnb for one night. My plan was to leave early after a good breakfast (and a great morning walk!) so I could head straight to my new home address.
The next day, Marjorie, my university friend from the Philippines, went all the way from New Jersey (where she’s currently residing) to my place in Cambridge. We had it sorted out even before my flight: we would tour much of Boston and then head for NYC and NJ after three days. Her home in Lodi is just 15 minutes away from New York by bus!
I am deeply grateful to Jorie for the time and effort. She toured me around Times Square and Central Park as she has visited these places several times already. She knew every avenue and had the right directions from Port Authority. I would have gotten lost if not for her navigation. Jorie was right, though — you have to love the chaos of New York in order to appreciate it.
Many times I am reminded of Quiapo and Recto, the sights and smells in the streets, the noise in all corners, the penchant of a person to be in every place. We don’t have towering skyscrapers in the area, but it is the ambiance of New York that makes me understand why the Schuyler sisters in Hamilton would call it “the greatest city of the world.” I didn’t get to watch a Broadway show because of budget constraints, but I’d definitely put it in my bucketlist next time!
I also went to the Museum of Moving Images in Queens to meet up with high school friends who also completed their studies abroad. We haven’t seen each other in a while, so it was a great catching up while going around the Jim Henderson exhibit.
Jorie drove me around New Jersey as well. She brought me to Seton Hall University where she would be taking her MBA and to Liberty State Park where we had a good view of the New York from New Jersey. In the afternoons till late evenings, her family would bring me along for a good conversation with their Filipino relatives.
I left their place on a Sunday morning after having spent four days in NJ. Jorie drove me to the nearest bus stop and we wished each other luck on our graduate studies.
I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to go to different places, to afford these things to while away my time before classes start. But I have no intention of forgetting my purpose of going abroad; things are going to get busy and real serious pretty soon. I had to hype myself before the homesickness starts kicking in.