It’s Christmas night, and it has been a nostalgic type of day. I’m thinking of church and San Francisco. Ever since last night, all I’ve been yearning to do is to sit down in a church and pray or meditate. I really wanted to go to midnight mass, but I was too afraid to go out in my neighborhood and I wasn’t even sure if the mass would be in English or Spanish. But either way, I feel sad that I haven’t gone to church since our last mass in HNU (and a special one at that—Liturgy of Lights, which reminded us to use our inner light to act and be God’s instruments of peace and justice). Every Sunday that I do not go to church, I feel like I am taking a step back. I know that this does not necessarily apply to everyone, but for me, I’ve realized how essential it is to go and to cultivate my faith through traditional prayer. Of course, it isn’t limited to only that, but I just miss being involved in Campus Ministry and I’m really looking forward to the events that we plan to have in the near future. I’m especially excited for Lent… a time for sacrifice and reflecting on the “self.” I am always grateful for opportunities to mold myself into a better Christian.
I’ve also been thinking about San Francisco. I did not think that it would be possible to fall even more in love with a city. I don’t want to call it an obsession—I’m not that crazy. But if I had to describe how much I love SF, I’d say that it’s to the point where I can close my eyes and its 7×7 mile map appears in the black space behind my eyelids, with all its little lines and neighborhoods. There are little imaginary pins tacked onto landmarks and if I zoom into my mind’s eye, each specific place’s significance pops up. For example, I can zoom onto Irving Street and the memory of Dabbie and me walking back from Tart to Tart past midnight and running like crazy back to Brian’s apartment because we thought someone was lurking us on our last night of our trip rushes back to my senses and I literally feel like I’m right there again, panting out of breath with our hearts racing like fire on grass. I have never been good with directions—heck, prior to our trip, I was really nervous about having a paper map to navigate with—and I have always been uneasy with trying to find my way around. But the fact that I have memorized the shape and the general areas of this beautiful peninsula indicates my strong feelings for this city. I’ve grown attached; actually, I have always been.
When we moved from the Philippines, the first city that we landed on was San Francisco. We then moved to Vallejo, and how I feel about Vallejo is closely related to how I feel about SF, which basically describes how I feel about the bay as a whole. I can walk on the streets and every sense of nostalgia and fond memories come crashing into me and just about knock me down. The easiest way I can put it is I feel like in my past life, I lived in the bay and experienced a great and fulfilling life, and in my present life, whenever I’m weaving through SF, my old soul sighs a great big sigh of relief, as if to say, “ahh… I’m back home.” And that’s why I can’t wait to go back. I’m so excited for what’s to come in this next year.