these rare weekends

Sentiment visits me on the weekends. In the fast-paced life of a grad student –or indeed, of any adult– weekends are the holy grail, coveted and kind of magical.

I know, I know. Dramatic. I live in the same metropolitan area as my family and as my friends. Facebook messenger and twitter keep us connected. But even in this, I miss my home. In the quiet moments between, I am still longing. I miss the food my Ate and my mom would make. I miss my bed. 

It’s only been two weeks into the second year of med school. Yet the distance will only grow from here. There will be exams every Monday, management case presentations weekly, patient encounters to worry about, and life, friends, orgs. Work. Sleep. Exhaustion. 

(And in the future it will only be both worse and better.)

Going to Laguna last weekend feels like an indulgent paradise. 

Seeing our Lola in the rare instances I get to go home to Laguna is a heavy mystery. It’s joyful, of course. But seeing her is a reminder of the quickness of things. 

Fifteen to ten years ago, she was the busiest senior citizen I knew. She went to mass everyday and had a number of religious orgs. We would laugh at ourselves; we walked so slowly compared to her. She used to do the house laundry and cooking. Ten years old, and I remember waking up from a fever with the sound of her concerned voice near my heart. 

Now she needs a wheelchair to get around. She gets frustrated many times. We all worry when she falls. 

And I wonder if this is how it will be. From one weekend to the next, one month to the other –these are the changes I will miss. From vitality to the natural fragility of living. And I can’t get these moments back. Time flows only one way, after all. 

Which is, of course, frustrating. How do you nurture relationships in the routine that is med school? Where can I find the time? Deadlines make me short and quick to deny. And through it all, I’m selfish enough to take and take and take. But I don’t want to wake up one morning to see our house empty, the food gone. 

We found the time to leave our imprints on stone when we went to Nagcarlan. My mom paid for donations to the beautiful San Bartolome Church. 

The experience inspires its like. We work too much, yet we make fleeting marks on our own lives. Will I leave an impression where I go? Will I remember, be remembered, be loved? Will the things I build be strong enough to last? 

I want my family and friends to be happy, and I want some of that happiness to come from me. I want to live while I still have the time, and I want to live with the rest of the world. Busy, dedicated and ambitious. But not apart. 

xxx

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