After long months of sunny season and sunlit days, the cold and pulpy winds started chilling the whole of Bangkok. It was mid-December and it had been by far the coldest I experienced. Waking up early was a struggle and attending some extra classes after work was an ordeal. Many folks were getting loopy and a bit nippy.
The fading sun had shone through the yellowing leaves as dusk dominated the sky. I purposely took a longer route to avoid the grueling traffic which was heightened with the construction of the BTS railway. From my corporate gig, I took a ferry and fought against the flow of Chao Phraya River with the cool breeze gently kissing my skin. It was nearly an hour of river trekking in what is known as the longest river in the Land of Smile.
The panoramic view of Buddhist temples, posh malls and towering skyscrapers on the riverside was slowly being covered by darkness as the king sun bowed out. The view was a stress reliever and in fact a pleasure to see. Adding to my delight were the colorful lights and lanterns and creative decors hanging outside reminding me that Christmas was around the corner. I felt like travelling in the fictitious mystery-filled ocean called Grand Line in One Piece that it had left me flabbergasted.
What brought me back to reality was the heavy bag I was carrying from the pier to the crowded BTS with its colder air-condition system I had to endure in the next forty-five minutes trip. After a long time in a standing position from ferry to BTS, I decided to stop in a park, sat and relaxed under the towering brightly lit moon.
Seeing lovers walking hand-in-hand, leaning on each other’s back and talking sweetly made me uneasy. I thought it was never a good idea showing extreme displays of affection. It made me go down the memory lane reminding me of someone very special in the past whom I could never be with again. Fantasizing of the future living with her stole some thirty minutes of my time.
After the usual vexing road battle, I was meters away from my pad in a nearby restaurant eating my favorite Thai food combination – ‘tum yam pla’ and ‘kai tiyao’ (spicy fish soup and omelet). It was past 10 but I still had plenty of things to do. So I thought.
However, the moment I stepped into my room, I just lay down on my bed and got totally knocked out with my office attire. At first I was oblivious of the importance of the date until it dawned on me that that day was the 17th of December 2013, my fourth year in the Kingdom of Thailand – four years of hard work and labor for the people dear to me miles away. A celebration should have been in place, but it was no fun to do it alone. It was serenity that accompanied me all throughout the night.
The road I trod was filled with awe-inspiring adventures and surprises in which I grew from a worrier office worker to a novice teacher to a royal air force cadets’ lecturer – a job acquired through collective prayers from people I love, care, admire and respect. Working abroad and living away from my family has never been easy and the path I’ve taken was never perfect as it always has its constant flaws and challenges. But this I know, they were years well-lived and a journey well-travelled.
Thank you, Jesus.
This article was first published on December 18, 2013 on a Facebook note. It was written by Jezreel Llanera, one of the founders of PinoyThaiyo, a year before the website was founded and launched. Jezreel continues to work at the RTAFA and is now one of the visible leaders in the Filipino community.