On the Melancholy of Departure


It’s the beginning of the last week of my teacher training, and I find my heart heavy at the prospect of leaving.

There are things, of course, that I’m looking forward to: seeing my beautiful home again, seeing my family again, seeing my friends again. But I don’t relish the prospect of returning to the city, with its dismal smog, its unrelenting traffic, its sensory rush. I don’t look forward to re-shouldering all the concerns that seemed so terribly important just a month ago but seem so hopelessly trivial now.

And I’m going to miss the new friends I’ve made here: a cast of characters Benetton-like in their diversity, but unified by a shared passion for a rigorous discipline. We’ve meditated together, chanted together, sung together and stood on our heads together. If that kind of synchronization isn’t the very stuff of bonding, I don’t know what is.

And I’m going to miss the staff here: the administrators, the teachers, the training assistants. They led our meditations, led our chants, led our songs and propped some of our feet up when we couldn’t stand on our heads on our own. If supporting sweaty, smelly feet isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

And I’m going to miss the food and the kitchen crew here. They fed us overwhelmingly, extravagantly and like there was no tomorrow. And it was only because of the consistency and dedication of their efforts that I didn’t lose the already limited reserves of fat in my chest region altogether.

And of course, finally, I’m going to miss Boracay. I’m going to miss the powdery sand, the breathtaking sunsets, the tranquil waters and the rustic charm. All its well-documented shortcomings notwithstanding, the island’s been my home for the last three weeks—and it’s been a generous and gracious host for the most part.

So this is me going headlong into my last week. And the best is yet to come.

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