a friend and i once went online to look at college programs. we dreamed that we could afford all those classes in prestigious univerisites, mostly on the east coast. there was one school on the west coast that he chose. i haven't settled on anywhere, although i'd mentioned cornell university. writing about this memory right now reminds me to visit that school before my friend graduates from there, ahaha. i hope he's still around.

"it's beautiful here," he confessed, as if marvelling that he's still attending cornell, a simple boy from a small town in florida. most of his other friends opted to stay in florida. besides, you don't pass up ivy league, you just don't do that. especially as it was a chance to live far away from florida, a state you could very well return to and explore on your own. that's what home was - a place you know will always be there, a place you could always return to, a steady island in the rocky seas.

ariel didn't really say that about florida, ahaha. but i suppose that's how you think of home, once you've moved away from it, and once the looming prospect of return comes closer. all those pieces about returning, how home is always the same, and yet different. different, because a stool has been moved, a chest had gathered dust, and you yourself have changed. the way you'll move when you go back home will be vastly different from when you'd have left it. you prolly weren't even conscious about how you'd have left it, to begin with.

what will it be like to leave chicago for a while and call another place home? whoa, there, i've said it - and yet i don't want to repeat it. for years i didn't consider chicago home. it was just a place to stay, where i worked, attended school, visited churches and ate out; watched movies and read books. it was where i hung out at cafes later and had drinks with colleagues and friends, later. it was where i returned to when i went on trips, with family or by myself to see other friends in their own homes, far away.

trips are vastly different - there's the mojave desert we passed through last december, on the way to the grand canyon. it was clearly a place you just had to pass through and not stay; the same with the grand canyon. who would ever want to live in such cold and windy climes, not to mention how trecherous those cliffs were? but native americans have, for generations and generations. i forgot his name, but one native american my mother spoke with said that their tribe is still negotiating terms with the government on how to parcel that vast piece of land.

the grand canyon is the widest expanse of gridless geography i have ever seen. it was beautiful, rough, and red; i had this delirious moment where i remembered my high school dragonlance books where sharp mountain ranges came off of their bases and fly to enemies and chop them in half for intruding their peace. but i picked up a small, sharp red clay shard from the base of guano's peak on the canyon;s west rim, and pocketed it. and then i ran down the side of the hill after my sister and took more pictures.

travelling means taking your heart and your packages and picking up souveniers along the way. it's not setting your heart down, like that native american guide did, when he talked about the land and their plans for it. he asked if the two other kids with me were my siblings and i grinned. he had that look on his face like he were being treated to some dolls or something, ahaha. he talked as if the land and his heart were one.

we went to the grand canyon to celebrate a decade of living here in the united states. i had spent the last of my savings out west, ahaha. but it was all well worth it. we returned to chicago exhausted, and i think a bit confused, ahaha. this year, we decided, we are staying put in chicago. our mother, busy with work, just went along with that plan, but she's made it a point to visit the philippines next year.

if she goes, i have to know when so if i actually decide to go, we're not in the same place at the same time, ahahahaha. i hella can't stand being in my own homeland and not being able to explore it - again! hello. can you tell how frustrating that would be?! yes, girls in the homeland aren't supposed to be gallivanting, but in my book, girls in the homeland aren't supposed to be gallivanting with their parents, and their friends, so that she can be overruled at every opportunity. goodness. doesn't that just leave a bad taste in your mouth. ahaha. but i totally won't mind making rounds on my own. that means, no money from the adults as well, ahaha - so gotta save up right now.

i'm at a starbucks right now because the computer in the house is occupied. and i wanted to get out of the house. if i stay there, i'll just eat everything and sleep and watch TV and while away my free day with having done absolutely nothing, the empty type of nothing. i want to read my book next. my siblings and i aren't talking, so i didn't ask if they wanted to see a movie; and as home bodies, i know what their answer will be anyways. i'm seeing one on sunday anyways too, ahaha. but as i moved the side of a couch here at the starbucks to make room for my baby julytown apple's electric plug - yes, i named my computer and i call him baby, i bet you do, too - your own computer, that is - you stay away from my computer - to make room for my computer's electric plug, i realized that this is how i behave in my own living room. i'm being hella shameless! ahaha.

but as i settled into the couch and my computer, waiting for a desk to clear, i thought, how nice to have a quiet moment to do your own things for once, with still a few hours of daylight, no less. i've worked the evening shift at the AP long enough, but i have to stay a night owl for a bit longer, until i've accomplished my one big project for next year - y'alls who read this will know soon enough. ;-) have a happy early christmas shopping season. time for a warm cup of joe.
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