Sede Vacante

The light is on but no one is home.

Archive for language

Language can set you free

Imagine a human being with only one word for the feeling in the pit of his stomach–“SAD.” Just sad. So he drops his ice cream cone, and he feels sad. His favorite football team caves in the superbowl, and he feels sad. His new car gets scratched, and he feels sad. Just sad. He knows not sorrow, desolation, abandonment, emptiness, depression…. All he knows is “sad.”

Now what does he feel when his little daughter falls into the pool and drowns while he ran inside to refill his beer. He must feel something. He runs to you and tells you that he’s sad. Of course you tell him that you know the feeling; that you’ve once dropped an ice cream cone, bet on the wrong team, and scratched your car. You pat him on the back and tell him it’s ok. Everyone feels sad every now and then. You tell him that he can always buy another cone, that there will be more games in the future, and that the insurance will take care of repainting the car.

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Finally coming home with lessons learned

Bubble of home.

It’s been an interesting 10 weeks to say the least. It’s the longest I’ve spent out of the country, and away from my wife since we tied the knot so many years ago. I signed up for this gig because I wanted to learn some new things–always a good thing for old dogs like me.

Perhaps it was apt that I ended up in Ho Chi Minh. I don’t think I would have learned these lessons anywhere else. In most other places, it’s so different that the novelty lasts quite a bit, and you can easily distract yourself from the strangeness of a place by the fact that there are new things to see. The funny thing is that HCM is a lot like Manila. The area where I live in, Phu Nhuan, reminds me of the backroads of Cubao or perhaps Old Manila. Just when your mind is about to adjust to a level of comfort something just slams into you that reminds you that you’re not back home. You’re in the twilight zone, in some strange twisted mirroring of the reality you used to call home.

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