Despite all attempts to be efficient and early in the tedious business of packing, I now find myself mired in the paralysis of The Last-Minute Effort, my usual self-centeredness reaching epic proportions as the hours I have left to get my bags all packed dwindle: talaga? na-shut down yung exhibit sa CCP? na-curtail ang freedom of expression ng artists? shet, kelangan ko pa mag-pack, anong oras na ba?

On top of that, there’s nothing like a series of sweet send-offs to make me wonder why I’m even leaving to begin with. Granted, I don’t think I would be smack in the center of a ridiculously charming cat-themed party of former FHL students (with custom-made cat hats for all and a cake featuring an image of my self and cat!) if I weren’t leaving. I don’t think my typically cool and ironic UP students would be driven to do choral singing of “Wind Beneath My Wings” (yes, alcohol was free and abundant during the night of the said choral singing, but still) if I weren’t moving very, very, very far away. Old friends extend dinner and drinking invites and family get-togethers triple in number. I go to a lunch or drink up and come home bearing gifts. Even my high school friends whose schedules are often conflicting and are therefore hard to round up were all in attendance and relatively punctual for a practically impromptu dinner on my second-to-the-last night in Manila. Yes, people love me. And all I need to do to know it is sign up for a doctorate and live in another country for a minimum of three years.

I enjoy taking off and have managed to be somewhere else from time to time in keeping with my nomadic inclinations, but it’s also quite a relief to be pretty sure this is my last long-haul move away from home. I have only so much energy for moving along the highway, I think.