It’s 9 days before we actually meet that I wrote and sent my former student Olivia a welcome note on Facebook. I was so excited knowing she will be staying in my home province for the duration of her two weeks vacation in the Philippines. If only I was there I would’ve run into her for one weekend and get to see her in person already. We exchanged few lines of pleasantries after my short note. It’s warm and happy.
Time and memory always reconnect distance and I’m swamped how powerful it holds so much of our world. Myself was into introspection when I started thinking what can I gift her. I wanted my gift to stand with time and memory. Options of the usual touristy souvenirs came up but I stopped considering it eventually. I just can’t think and find anything that represents time and memory. I fired my laptop. Instagram and Pinterest saw me through my bright brain cells all lit up, blinking and charging. Creativity pushed in my veins up my train of thoughts. Inside I was alive. I knew what I have to do.
I waited for them at the arrival. A favor from her current tutor asked me to accompany her and the girls while they await for their midnight flight back to Korea. I obliged myself because it will be my chance to spend some time with Olivia. We had our lunch, watched a movie and talked waiting while time passed on. On one of our chat exchanges, she said, “I’m a big girl now. You will be very surprise[d].” Indeed I was but happiness overflowed in me because through time she did not forget me since we parted ways as tutor and student. My chance to say goodbye to her then muted me under the circumstance. So I grabbed the chance to apologize to her now and put it all behind us.
Her innocent mind seven years ago would not have been so understanding but I was confident she will take things astride and deal with the now. She’s grown to a tall young lady. Tall as me and I can tell she has grown to be smarter too compared to when we were starting out our online classes. I always believed she has potential of learning the English language quickly with comprehension.
I tried taking some photos of her but I ended up with her hands, heads turned and more hands in my lens. She defied my requests and guarded my discreet attempts. She retorted, “Ah noo!!” I whisked my camera back in my bag. We talked some more about her school, food, her memory of me and all other sorts. She was quiet and conscious, now.
I asked her tutor to take our photo together since she does not want me to take hers. She obliged and I moved to seat in beside her. I teased her by trying to hold her hands down to prevent her from making those peace signs. A trademark habit most of them makes when posing. It was somehow a cutesy pose but it has some wacky appeal too. I said to her I want our smiling faces only. No hands barring them. She did not obliged this time. I attempted twice holding her hands down but I gave in to her cutesy pose on the third try. I don’t want her to be pissed or think weirdly of me. Teenage thing you know.
In all of these, it was humbling and ecstatic for me; to affect her in some ways through our course of teaching and to know we are to meet personally after seven years past. It warms the heart, you know.
No goodbyes exchanged this time, just a wave and that peace sign, crazy. Hehe!
July 25, 2015