14 June 2009

Airplane Fly-By

Every time I hear the engines of an airplane zooming by up in the air, I always find myself frozen, stopped in the middle of the road, and trying to strain my neck and see what kind of plane it was, and what airline that plane was. Even here in my office, I have a window next to my desk, and the sky above seems to be part of the landing routine of planes that land in Buffalo Niagara International Airport, so I always see the planes quite close, their steel bellies zooming by.

Flying has always been an exciting thing for me. Even if I wasn't the one flying, I would always ask people who I know are going somewhere what their flight itinerary was. And I always do not understand how some people are heading for somewhere fun and different, to not even know what airline they are taking, or what route they are flying.

Perhaps it was because I watched this international movie the other day (see my earlier post) that I tend to think of travel and things associated with it. My feet are getting itchy again, and a moment ago, I realized that I have been here for about four years now. It's getting a bit long.

So, speaking of length of duration, let me recount where I have lived for the past 26 years.

  • Manila, Philippines: July 1982 - August 1985. I was born here, and I have lived here until I was three years old, until when my dad decided that he wanted to go to graduate school so we moved. I don't have a lot of memories here, except those that are aided by pictures. I remember that our house didn't have a fence yet, but that's all I remember.
  • Denver, Colorado: August 1985 - August 1987. We lived here for two years, while my dad was getting his master's degree. My sister was born during this time period, and again, I don't remember much except for photo-aided memory (by this, it's either I remember it, but chances are I just reconstructed these memories based on photographs I have seen later). Some scenes include playing with my dad's typewriter, making a huge snowman outside the apartment, cooling corn by sticking them out the window, and my stubborn inability to swallow my food.
  • Manila, Philippines: August 1987 - October 1988. We went back to Manila, after my dad's stint in graduate school. Honestly, I do not remember anything at all during this time period. No photos I guess.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: October 1988 - October 1989. We went to Honolulu, and I started first grade. I remember my first grade homeroom teacher, her name was Mrs. Ching. I remember winning something from a FedEx raffle. We started an aquarium in the house. I remember taking a class photo and I got so nervous I took a dump in my pants. I also remember lots of other things, like the Ala Moana Shopping Center, and strolling in Waikiki Beach.
  • Manila, Philippines: October 1989 - August 1995. This is the longest time period in which I stayed in one location: five years and ten months. I went from second grade to seventh grade, graduated as a valedictorian in elementary school. There were plenty of memories here, since by this time, my hippocampus is already fully functional.
  • Osaka, Japan: August 1995 - April 2000. This is the second longest time period in which I stayed in one location: four years and eight months. I studied Japanese, went from eighth grade to eleventh grade, and learned to play the piano. A lot of embarrassing language-related experiences happened here, such as asking a department store clerk to try a sweater on for me, among other things.
  • Guam: April 2000 - August 2001. I did a one-year and four-month long stint here. This is where I graduated from high school. I didn't like the place, the island was too small, and every time I went to the mall, I would see somebody I knew. I ate blue ice cream in the first week we were there, and my tongue turned bright blue. The lasagna in a restaurant was rather soupy, my mom didn't like it. We would go to the beach and do some night-swimming, after buying some barbecue chicken. The kelaguens that the Chamorros cooked were rather tasty.
  • Manila, Philippines: August 2001 - August 2005. I spent exactly four years in Manila after living in Guam. We came back in August 18, 2001, and I left for Buffalo in August 16, 2005. It seems that I travel in August a lot. This is the third longest time period in which I have been in a certain location. Anyway, I enrolled in the university, and finished my undergraduate degree in three and a half years, graduating with a magna cum laude. I abandoned my musical pursuits and pursued something else. I also had a taste of living without parents, since my parents went away to live in Europe in 2004. This was also the first time in which I visited Europe, when me and my sister flew to Austria and visited Italy and Greece as well after my graduation, and this is also the first time in which I traveled alone, when I flew to Taiwan to participate in a conference.
  • Buffalo, New York: August 2005 - present. So far, I have been living here for three years and ten months. If you look above, my history seems that I rarely stay in a place for more than five years. So I suppose this explains the travel itch. This is the period in which I started traveling alone, exploring three countries in South America, and a few in Europe as well. Whatever happens after this, I do not know yet.

So yeah, I wonder where I will be in the next few years. I can honestly say that I have no clue where I would be, and at times, it can be disconcerting. I find that other people cannot understand this, since they've been in one place all their lives. So yeah, when an airplane flies by, who knows, I might be in the cabin, moving to my next destination.

(Abraham Again, from my DC Memorials Series)


  1. How come you don't know? That's strange - to not have a plan I mean. Come to Canada, I'll buy you a pink icecream.

  2. Priyank,

    Well, it's not really the case that I do not know where I will end up next. There is planning for the future, but obviously, one cannot predict the future. There are places I want to be in my future, but there is no guarantee that I can get that version of the future.