15 June 2011

Turtle Blasts from the Past

The other day, I was checking out my parents’ old house, rummaging through stuff. I found old stuff of mine, like my yearbooks from high school and college, and also this one scrapbook that was made by my friends from Japan, when I left high school there as we were moving from Osaka to Guam.

So here’s the question: should I keep them? Or should I throw them away?

I am actually one of those people who keep no clutter at all. I am not a hoarder. Due to the fact that I have already experienced a total of eight different international moves (Manila-Denver-Manila-Hawaii-Manila-Osaka-Guam-Manila-Buffalo), I am used to the idea of packing my life in boxes and moving, uprooting myself and replanting in another place. Thus, when you do this over and over again, you learn to throw away a lot of things, as the less stuff you have to pack, the less luggage and the easier the whole process becomes. And related to that, you also learn to not stack up a lot on things as well.

In fact, I don’t have a lot of physical reminders of my childhood. I remember helping a friend move one day, and he had plenty of boxes that contained memories, stuff that had some historical and sentimental value, and he had plenty of them. He wasn’t from the area as well, but his hometown was just the next state over. My hometown is 12 time zones away.

So, as I was exploring the old house of the parents, I discovered my old yearbooks. Apparently it’s still saved there. I also saw this old scrapbook that my friends from Osaka gave me. They made it for me as I was leaving Japan, since I spent two years with them in high school and they were sad at the fact that I was leaving. I read them, and it was quite fun, you know, re-living those memories in my head, giggling at my stupid hair pictures.

The thing is, if you ask me, right now, I don’t know these people anymore. I used to keep up with a few of them in Facebook, but now, nothing. They are practically strangers to me now. Given that, do I still want those stuff?

Perhaps I could still keep it, just for memories’ sake. But that means that’s added clutter. Added stuff that I have to pack and carry again with me when I leave Buffalo. Do I really want that, given that I fully know that Buffalo is not my permanent home?

So I think I have an interim solution. I will leave those in my parents’ house for the moment. When I leave Buffalo, it will not be with me. But when I finally settle down to the city where I will permanently be, I’ll get those stuff and take them with me. I think that should be a solution.

Sometimes living like a turtle sucks.

(The Patio, from my Ollantaytambo Series)


  1. I moved to Canada with nothing and over the years, little by little, I brought back some pieces of my life. Like my agendas, I used to make a drawing a day when I high school, on the relevant page of the agenda. My school pictures and my degrees and transcripts. A few books. Old clothes.

    I still have very little, most of it is at my parent's, which makes me feel bad because their place is very small. But again, I don't have much. I have a few huge photo albums from our first three trips, pre-digital, I used to make albums with travel pictures and glue little souvenirs, such as bus tickets, train schedules etc. I was going to take them but my parents like to look at them once in a while.

  2. Zhu,

    I ended up keeping some and leaving some. I took my yearbooks with me, but the photos I left behind. I figured that wasn't mine to take. And it results in some good strolls down memory lane when visiting the parents.

  3. I so get what you mean. And I'm not even halfway through your total number of moves.

  4. Toe,

    Don't worry, given your job, you'll reach that number soon!

  5. I threw away all my school stuff. However, some years back when I was visiting my parents, I found a letter I wrote to them from a camp I went to when I was 16. It made me cry. It's weird how certain objects trigger reactions like that.

  6. Priyank,

    I know. Which is why even though I don't have contact with my old classmates from high school anymore, sometimes reading about what they wrote for me when I left their school is nostalgic and brings back memories.