Traveling has always been an anxious endeavor for us. You would think that after having had to go to all these places has made us a savvy traveler. When we were younger, traveling was an adventure we wouldn’t miss. But, lately, the packing and unpacking has become a chore, especially when we have a fear of forgetting some things we find out we missed when we’re already in the midst of the trip.
This was bugging us when we got on the plane to meet family in Boston. The only thing that quieted the voices of uncertainty pinging about something we surely forgot, was the anxiety of going through the numerous “checkpoints” that had to be done before finally being able to sit down by the pre-departure gate, and wait to board. But, as soon as we find ourself buckled in, the vagueness of having forgotten something resurfaces.
No friendly Pinay this time. Our boarding pass group being a C, found us like the final few stragglers trying to see if there were still seats that did not mean being sandwiched between two strangers. No such luck. Even so, we rejoice in the fact that, at least, the two beside us are on the slim side. Both happily giving me the privilege of the armrests, which made us bless them too, since the flight would take four hours. That’s an average West to East coast travel time. We happily settle down in our sandwich seat and start looking at the watch. Remembering to adjust the time when we get to our destination.
And so, like giving birth, when we get through the pain and chaos of swearing we did not want to feel like this ever again, the moment your baby is gently placed on your bosom, everything else before that moment disappears. It is only you and those tiny fingers and curling toes. So with seeing my son open his arms and welcome me to his new home. His chest higher than my bosom now. And time, now four hours ahead from where we left.
We wake up late. The couch, where we will be camping for the next two weeks, is comfortable. The sun is higher than we realize. The cat is nowhere to be found. The only indication of her are the bowls of food and water by the kitchen window, and her kitty litter.
We take a few moments to take stock of the fact that we are now in Boston. Quincy, to be exact. And while the son and his girlfriend are at work, we try to find the space to put our things without having to disturb the spaces they (my son and his girlfriend) have designated for their own purposes. We want to be a good guest. Hopefully be invited back.
Their working hours did us well too. We had a chance to explore the library downtown and walk through the main streets without them worrying about what we would be doing while they were at work. This made us realize how many cemeteries there were in the place. All of them small and historical in nature. Meaning, for one, the father and son Presidents family’s grave sites, as well as other early pioneers, were right beside the City Hall building. Apparently, transferring the graves was not allowed; to maintain the nature of their places in American history, we suppose. Thus the numerous small cemeteries that dotted Boston as well.
One of the best places they took me to, though was this beautifully serene lake in New Hampshire. We sat there by the water, watching two loons in the distance, a pair of binoculars passed around in pleasant camaraderie. Talking on subjects we are happy to have opinions they did not think weird or offensive. Cultural differences and all. The nervous tension that built up in having to meet my future daughter-in-law’s family seemed to dissipate quietly in the warm summer sun.
The city of Portsmouth was delectable too. A small port town that still had red bricked streets and sidewalks. The unevenness of the sidewalks a testament to how each brick must have been put there by human labor ages ago. An ambient sensation of being in a quaint old European setting.
All the while, as we spent the weeks with our son and soon-to-be daughter, as they walked us through the weekend city tours of the Boston they lived and worked in, and the New Hampshire they loved, our time with them seemed so flitting at best. We come back to the anxiousness of having to travel through the same journey we had to take to come here.
On a cloudy Boston day, waiting to board the return flight back to home-base, we actually start to realize how much we really did not have to worry about having forgotten anything really. That the most important part of the trip was the time spent with new family and friends.
Best of all, the cat found us agreeable enough not to leave the couch as we snuggled beside her on our last night in Quincy, Massachusetts. (Mndanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Margot Marfori is an author and visual artist from Davao City. She is currently based in Henderson, Nevada)