7/10/2008
Gibberish is my third language

At least I got wind of the news that Marielle's flying to Japan during graduation rehearsals. I actually just overheard it, but at least I knew it from her too. The next thing I know, while I was still nursing my post-commencement hangover, she's already there.

Her father teaches English as a second language. Come to think of it, he's the reason why all these Koreans are flying to the country, but that's beside the point. Anyway, it's not really her first time in Japan, having been there another time, which is why she isn't exactly going to lose her way around Tokyo. Suddenly I have a deluge of Multiply posts about Skype conversations and skimpy school uniforms, and then I really understood why she said she will miss me despite the fact that, well, we aren't really close. Let's admit that.

I was chatting with her one night, answering her status message, like I always do. And yes, for some reason I wasn't able to save the conversation. I would've loved it - that conversation where we found ourselves losing things to say because there isn't much to talk about. It's just me wondering about how she's coping, with the new surroundings and new culture adjustments. The former was refuted; the latter, well, she's starting Japanese lessons. It's her fourth language, actually; the third's Spanish.

"Ako rin, three languages. Gibberish yung isa."

My most important concern, however, was how she's coping with suddenly being alone. Perhaps it's because the news came to me so suddenly, with the flight coming down like a ton of bricks. There's always the Internet - and she probably has a better connection than I do - which means she can still do catch-up with Yas, complete with a virtual tour of her somewhat traditional Japanese room. But personal communication is still best; headphones can't equal the ear.

Marielle somehow thought I was referring to myself. "You have friends!" she said.

"No," I answered. "I was referring to you."

At least she's learning Japanese; she'd be able to relate to the people around her soon. Oh, the subtle irony - she has to learn a new language since her dad teaches the language she already knows. But at least she's getting there. Next thing I know, she'll be back in the Philippines, working as a translator for the big networks.

It's interesting realizing the many things that people do to cope with change. Some are more formal than the others. Some seem unorthodox, especially if you think too much about it, but eventually it will get you somewhere. Or supposedly, at least.

So, at this point, Marielle's learning Japanese, and I'm learning to cope with silence. It's temporary, anyway - and soon, I'll be able to chat with her and not run out of things to say.

And your responses...

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