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From Our Readers: Here's What Waiting Looks Like

You called me to come because you wanted to talk for one last time.
ART Trixie Ison

I still remember the last time I saw you. You stood in front of my house with your hands in your pockets. You called me to come because you wanted to talk for one last time. I rushed and found you standing there, waiting for me with your usual half-smile. Your dad's car was behind you and I knew that inside was your luggage that I helped you pack the night before. You handed me your external hard drive and told me to download as many movies as I can so that we would have something to watch when you get back. We awkwardly hug for a few minutes and then you leave.

The day after, I woke up and tried to look for signs around me that would make me feel like you were gone. But there weren't any. The sun was still up. Breakfast is the same as always. And WiFi connection at home still lagged sometimes. There was no rain outside my window that made the perfect background for my moping with emo songs now that you were gone. Life around me still went on. Even if I didn't want to.

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Life around me still went on. Even if I didn't want to.

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It upset me how little change there was when you weren't around. I was waiting for waiting. I was waiting for the mopey, sacrificial, lovesick kind of waiting that I thought I would experience. I was waiting for the aftereffects such as crying and inactivity. I was waiting for the rest of my body to get the memo from my heart that something was missing. I was waiting for everything to show me how diminished everything else would be without you.

But it didn't.

Because in reality, that was not what waiting looks like. Waiting was not about being stuck. Waiting was growing up yourself while knowing the other person is doing the same thing too. Waiting was not endless days spent moping around. Waiting could also be going out, meeting new people—widening your circle. Waiting was not the world falling down on you. Instead, it is looking forward to something that would happen and making the best out of what is happening. Sure, sometimes you get lovesick but you can also have enough assurance from the person from the other side of the world that it is not all futile. Waiting is waking up, facing the day ahead, and telling the other person about how your day went and them sharing their own story. Waiting is not just about distance, or time. Waiting is about having memories that propel you on as you anticipate the coming chapters ahead.

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Katherine Go A day ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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