In my first year of my life in Hong Kong, I felt very homesick. Despite having lived in 5 different countries so far, starting over and over again, I felt very scared leaving Japan for this new adventure at age 26. Perhaps it was the idea of committing to a full-time job that actually mattered to me: a dream-come-true of becoming a Montessori teacher, perhaps it was the idea of the unknown... any case, I was surprised at myself how "weak" I felt to take the plunge.
Perhaps because of that, I felt very homesick... and I took many of the opportunities I got to go back home to Japan. I went back for our fall break, Christmas break, spring break, and my summer! I know, a bit excessive... but looking back I feel that I must have needed it- it was an intense year and I need to fall back to an environment and people familiar to me, who I knew had my back. It provided the recharging I needed to keep going.
In February however, for the Chinese New Year holidays, I chose to join fellow coworkers to a trip to the Philippines, to Palawan island. Here are the thoughts I jotted down in my Facebook page after coming back.
|Island hopping the first day|
”My first trip to the Philippines was to Palawan Island. Words are not enough to describe the peaceful, beautiful, calm place. First time snorkeling, discovering an amazing world down below with its fun creatures and colors, watching fireflies along a river, swimming between rocks to find beaches and lagoons, are only one of the many things we got to experience.
|First time snorkeling!|
|Monitor Lizard at the Underground river|
Above anything, I was touched by the people. People went out of their way to help us have the best experience. The Palaweños, were very humble, but conscious, amazing problem-solvers, advocates and protectors of their own environment and heritage.
They have a prison without walls, Iwahig Prison where they have prisoners are “free”. The prisoners are given responsibility to govern themselves and be part of a self-sustaining community through farming and fishing, and their families can move and live with them. A local guide mentioned, by giving the opposite of what they usually get, freedom, the prisoners treasure it and therefore do not leave.
The butterfly garden work extremely hard to conserve the native species of butterflies. People study which plant each butterfly species need for its survival. Instead of the locals cutting down these plants, they ask them to breed butterflies, keep the plants and sell the cocoons/pupas to the garden for educational purposes. A beautiful helping cycle.
The young tricycle driver on our last day, Edgar, shared to me with sparkling eyes, his dreams of one day having a tricycle painted blue, with a stereo attached so he could bring music wherever he took his passengers. He said to us, “Love is what is most important. What is the point of having money if you don’t have love?”
A truly vivid place that has taken a special place in my heart. Definitely recommend it to people!”
|Hiking to a waterfall|