WHEN I first landed in Toronto, I was so excited to discover new things that I did not really miss home. But when I came back for Christmas, I felt so drained from all the hype that a part of me did not want to go back. I realized that, no matter where I am and how long I am away, I will always want to come back home to Cebu. I miss the common activities I used to do, such as meeting up with friends in Ayala, playing laser tag in Parkmall and swimming in City Sports. Though I do not physically tense up nor am I conscious with my actions and behavior, being in a familiar place just helps me relax.
One of the challenges of living in a different place is finding people with the same beliefs and culture as I have. Since Canada is filled with diverse cultures, it is harder to find people that I can vibe with. It does not help that I am an introvert and I cannot make friends easily. I was fortunate enough to meet another Filipina, although she is from Manila. I had to change my perception; not everyone I met had the same religion as me, and their educational system was different from mine. It also took me some time to adjust to their culture, such as cleaning up my table in the food court and having to approach a teacher whenever I needed help with a certain assignment.
Another challenge was having to remember that the people around me only understood English. Whenever I felt emotional about a story I was sharing or got too comfortable with people, I started talking in Cebuano. This habit was a little harder to control since it came out naturally. There were times I could catch myself before I spoke, but other times it would slip. I’ve even accidentally said “Dili man gud!” to my Cantonese friend.
I definitely enjoy being in Toronto. I do not regret making that decision. However, I think this long vacation back in the Philippines is a much-needed break for me. Being around what makes me comfortable helps me gain enough energy to take more risks. So while I am still here in Cebu, I am taking advantage of the comfort surrounding me.