October is the month I love the most! Because this is my birth month. And, ehems … I have a secret as well related to October. But I think that secret is not bloggable so I won’t write about it here. Not yet. Anyway, October was already my favorite even before that secret 🙂 So ok, it will be my birthday soon. I will be counting and adding another year to my age. Just a number. Well, what do you think? When I was in high school I had a classmate who was born on the same day. Her name is Pansang, nickname for Esperanza. Such a nice name. She is a sweet girl with a nice singing voice. Always smiling, with a delightful laugh. I remember her clearly ‘coz we have the same birthday.
Christmas away from home...
So back to the month of October. I know I am a bit late about this but I want to write about it just now, since it is October. It is now the “…ber” months, and in the Philippines, it signals that Christmas is approaching. Actually starting in September, people start doing some Christmas stuff already, i.e. playing carols, writing gift lists, practicing for Christmas shows, etc. Even though I am not in the Philippines now I can still celebrate Christmas. I have learned a long time ago that it is not in the decorations and the trimmings, but in the heart, in knowing the truth of Christmas, that we can feel the true essence of the season. So no matter where I am I can still feel the spirit and joy of Christmas. It’s of course fun and nice to be with family and friends and especially to be in the Philippines at Christmas time. No doubt about that.
In temperate parts of the world October is the start of autumn/fall season, when the leaves change into a variety of colors. It is a nice sight and gives one a feeling of awe and amazement. When I first experienced that in Scotland it gave me a feeling of peace and silent joy! And it was good since in Scotland it was so cold and sometimes dark but the colors bring some brightness to each day. This is God’s way of saying that despite the dump there is something brighter; despite the despair there is hope, always.
Ubon city with the Mun River running alongside it.
I am just so glad that I was away almost the whole week last week. I needed the break from the rigors of working here which had quite become so stressful. Or maybe it was me stressing everyone? I had a very wonderful time in Ubon Ratchathani, northeast Thailand attending the Mekong Fisheries Symposium despite suffering from stomach problems. It was so nice to be with friends and professionals. I am not saying I do not have friends and there are no professionals here. It was just a different setting over there. I think the most common question we asked every time we saw a familiar face was: “Do you remember me?” Some people I haven’t seen for more than 15 years and now we had a chance to meet again, mostly AIT alumni and former UBU colleagues. I even met somebody from the Philippines who is now neighbors with my former boss. Nothing amazing in that except that since I left for graduate studies way back in 1989, I haven’t seen or heard from my boss. So now I know his whereabouts which is a good thing.
It was also good to go back to Ubon Ratchathani where we lived for three years in late 90s. We did go up to visit it when we left. The place has really developed but still it has maintained its old ways and native charm. There is still no public transport at night, people wake up early in the morning, shops close early in the evening, and food is still delicious. We got to visit the usual places where we used to eat (Ban Nam Jok, Indochine, Rim Mun Market, Nescafe) as well as the new joints (such as Sep Soi 9).
I like the silk and other kinds of cloths they produce.
One of the things I would normally do in Ubon was to go shopping for some nice and native stuff which could not be found in Bangkok. Or, if available in Bangkok, they would be several times more expensive. Especially the nice woven cloths both silk and cotton, as well as the blouses and shirts.
It is always nice and rewarding to reconnect with people we once knew. That is why communication is so important, as well as networking. As we reconnect with old friends and acquaintances, we also get to meet new ones. And we hope that the connections and reconnections never end. Even as we age and change in some ways, there are still aspects of us that will never change.