Ultra lights

I brought a camera but my photography skills have faded away. Or the lighting was just terrible. And this one? It's already one of my better shots.

For some odd reason, I ended up not writing a blog entry about my meet-up with Malia in Singapore. The bottom line was, she was having a hard time cracking the (boring government-controlled monopoly that is the) media industry there, and she decided to go back to the Philippines and surprise her closest friends here. I would've written an entry on that surprise, but my mood swings kicked in.

Not surprisingly, I didn't go "nandito ka pala, Malia?" when I got to the restaurant with Clarence on Thursday night. The big surprise was the arrival of people I have not caught up for ages. Sara, for one, is working as a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, but her fashionista exclamations haven't disappeared. Kizia just graduated (I did know that, but my congratulations were in generic Facebook status messages, since there were just so many of them) and came from a job interview at a recruitment firm. The biggest surprise was Martin, someone I've seen only a couple of times after he left DLSU: he's preparing to defend his thesis at the Ateneo.

Jana, well, my apologies for not having an idea what you're up to lately. It's a failure on my part.

Jackie called it a "mini block reunion", although judging from the number of people who didn't make it - Jaja, Ale, Kaymee and Kat were busy with work - it didn't seem so small at all. There were ten of us (Jill and Ariane round up the final list) and, similarly, there were ten conversations or so. It's amazing to see how far we've come, although "far" is completely subjective at this point. As always, I acted the fly-on-the-wall part, but at least I was their pet fly. I was having a hard time taking everything in. I just remember laughing randomly, especially when Martin's quips came in and save the day.

I can totally understand where Sara was coming from. "Pwedeng isang conversation na lang?"

I don't think that will ever happen. Sure, we came from the same block and spent the good part of three years dodging bad professors and staying up for our projects, but we're totally different. Outfits, for instance. Malia came to dinner wearing a casual get-up, with a bright pink cap, one she probably bought in Singapore. Ariane, Kizia and Jill looked fresh from the office, although the last one upped the glam streak with the flower prints and the hair. Jackie and Clarence came like they were attending a fancy affair, although the latter just didn't have anything to wear. Martin and I looked pretty laid back, although I did not think of what to wear. Jana, perhaps to keep her background a puzzle, came in with a leather jacket. Then again, that's what you'd expect her to wear.

We ended up outside the Shang later in the night, a chance for a couple of people to whip out their cigarettes and take a puff. And a couple more. I haven't seen Jill smoke until that night, and the same goes with Kizia. Considering what came before, it was one of the more surreal things I've seen in my life. Please tell me I was just dreaming when that discussion about cigarettes whose tastes lie in between lights and ultra lights happened.

That said, it was still fun, never mind my claim that the real fun happened when I left. I was the first to bail, as I'd like to call it. But they all know I live far away. It was almost midnight when I got home. It was still the most fun I've had in a while.

"It's nice to do some catching up," Jackie said when I told her I got home. "Kahit di nakapag-usap yung iba, okay na yung fact na we spent time together, di ba?"

A part of me feels weird that the most fun I have is with my college friends. Yes, they'll be there, but I'm not there anymore. It was obvious with the ten simultaneous conversations at that outdoor table that we've taken our separate ways, and while there's contact, you can't rely on them forever. It sure felt weird bringing my inherited camera to work, and texting the wrong details to people, and calling Ariane many times to find out whether they're lost or not. It felt like a throwback to the past, and it's now what you want when you want to move forward and, in the words of all those career counselors, achieve your greatest potential.

It was still the most fun I've had in a while. So fun, in fact, that I didn't think about not replicating this at work... perhaps until now, two days later.

(In case you haven't seen it, my photos go here. I didn't upload them on Facebook because I wanted them all in one place. I would've said I didn't want duplicates, but you're probably reading this on Facebook too...)

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