When I first came to Manila to study college, I was a naive skinny guy. I was 5'7.5 or so and weighed less than a 110 pounds (with clothes on!). My idea of eating out is eating in Jollibee or McDonalds and watching movies in theaters is a rare treat.
I had a little difficulty in adjusting to the faster pace of life in the city. I had what they called culture shock. Still a loner during my freshman year, I feel conscious when walking along the aisles and halls of UP, thinking everybody is looking at me. I was geniunely shocked to have seen two gays kissed in front of me (well, more of life lips to lips smack which I guess was their beso beso).
I almost cried studying for Math 17. Having learned nothing more than elementary algebra in high school (the pace of my studies in high school was really dragged down by my slower learning or preferring-to-do-other-things-than-study classmates).
I almost dropped out of ROTC and my knees shook every Monday (and sometimes Wednesday) that I have to go to UP to attend the ROTC trainings.
I had very little money back then. Generally living on a monthly allowance of less than P1,500 (including budget for transportation, meals and school projects). I survived on coffee in the morning, coffee or some other drink and perhaps some snacks for the whole day, and a heavy dinner. No wonder I weighed so little.
During free time, I roamed the dusty heart of Quezon City (Cubao) and was a regular visitor at Booksale stores in Cubao.
My clothes back then comprise mainly of t-shirts, checkered and plaid-ish polos and jeans.
I bought the shirt and jeans in Melvin's or its affiliate stores 'cause that's where they were cheap. I used a shirt that my sister-in-law gave to me back in high school for more than 8 years and would have used it longer had my mother not taken it. I felt really really good on being able to buy the P325 paid of walking shoes that was really comfortable.
I splurged on a double cassette recording of Les Miserables, which cost me about P250.
Life was not then easy then but I survived.
* * * * *
It's been almost ten years since then.
I am now weighing about 160 pounds.
I generally don't like eating in Jollibee, McDonalds or other fastfood stores. My idea of eating out is at Italianni's or Fish & Co. or some other restaurants in the Greenbelt area.
I can watch movies in theathers whenever I want.
I have adjusted to the fast pace of city life and cannot bear of the thought of living again in the province. Walking wherever, whenever no longer gives me the creeps. Guys kissing no longer shocks me. Been there, done that. In fact, I think very few things now can shock me.
I have forgotten most of algebra and trigonometry and calculus is now like the walking shoe I so dearly loved - probably unusable and discarded.
I am now earning more than the average person my age earns. Hell, I am earning more than the average person twice my age earns. Food is no longer a preoccupation and I can eat whereever I want, whenever I want.
I find it icky and jologs going to Cubao and my favorite haunts is now Glorietta and Greenbelt.
Now, I have a closetful full of clothes. Some of which I have never even worn. There was a time just last year when I did shoe-shopping on a weekly basis since I was bored. Just last month, I bought three pair of shoes from the mall.
Cassette tapes are no longer in and I regularly buy DVDs for my collection. Spending about a thousand bucks for DVDs in one week is no longer a treat.
Life is in many ways easier now but I'm still not completely satisfied.
* * * * *
Life was simpler then.
Life is more complicated now.
I couldn't buy things then.
Now, I want to buy things I can't afford.
There were times when I was really depressed then.
These times still come now.
Some things change.
Some things . . . well, they're just reincarnate themselves in a more complicated guise.
2 months ago