Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Past In 3 Boxes

These 3 boxes are all that's left of the 22 years I have lived in the Philippines.

On March 27, I took Nachos with me and flew down to Manila to pack up everything I wanted to keep before my mom cleared out our apartment to sell. I thought it was a difficult task the first time I cleared out a ton of my stuff when we moved from a house into an apartment. But this time was even harder. Everything I thought I'd keep for a lifetime had to go through another round of assessment. I really took to heart the question: Do I really need it?

Although I had officially moved to Hong Kong since 2002, packing up every single thing I still had floating around the apartment in Manila was so... final. My parents realized keeping an apartment fully furnished, with appliances and a phone line with no one in it for most of the year was not practical anymore. So after some persuading from a few very logical friends, they finally decided to make the move and sell our apartment. They flew in from the States and literally cleaned out everything they still had.

My mom showed me pictures of all the shoes she kept because she loved them but could no longer wear. Instead of shipping them to the States, she decided to simply take a few pictures of all the things she loved before giving them all away. I really felt my mom's hesitation. I could have said pain, but I don't think she felt that. She knew it had to be done. That was it.

So taking my mom's example, I jumped right into things the moment I arrived. And immediately I came to a screeching halt at the bin. I started by sorting through all my jewellery making stuff. I knew what I really didn't need anymore, but it sure was tough throwing out things that brought me to where I am now. Did I really need that badly made necklace? No. But it was the first one I ever made that led me to the perfect ones I make today. I sat there thinking through it and just threw them away.

Then came all the things in my keepsake box. I had a huge one underneath my bed. I had bags of letters, cards, notes, memorabilia, dried flowers, etc. All these things I kept that brought a smile to my face. Alot of letters and cards from friends I miss and wished was still around. A 5 word note from a friend who passed away due to brain cancer. How could I throw them away? Then there were the love letters! I read a few of them. Some I just chuckled and didn't hesitate to throw them. But some that touched me simply because it was so sweet. These people mean nothing to me anymore, but I just thought how nice it was to remember back to those days when you first thought you were in love. I thought hard whether I wanted to keep holding on to them. But then I felt why should I keep them? And I also didn't want to hurt Hubby's feelings if he ever saw them. I also thought about how I would feel if I found Hubby still kept love letters from his exes, so into the bin they all went. Sigh.

I packed up all the pictures I ever took. Some important looking documents I might need. And all the rest went into the bin. I thought in the end I would have alot more stuff. But 3 boxes was all that was left. If I ever knew I would only be left with 3 boxes of things that are worth keeping back when I still lived in Manila, I would have thought I was pathetic! But its amazing how different your life can become in a matter of years. If I were to pack up anything I have now in a matter of seconds and run, I guess 3 would be the number as well: Hubby, Boy Wonder and Nachos.


christao17 said...

What a great entry. That process of sorting through your past is a tricky one because so many memories and emotions are brought up. Especially when it comes to things like cards, letters and photos, there is a desire to try to wrap your arms around all of them, to hold on to those experiences and feelings forever. I think it is a very human thing and an example of how we struggle against the inevitable truth that everything is impermanent.

Min said...

waaah!!! so touching!!

i didn't get to look thru anything though... sucks

but i heard ma is shipping a bunch of stuff here

Chris said...

Nice work honey! I think I got mine down to one or two shoe boxes... except for books which I like to keep in case I want to read them again one day.

info said...

glad you decided to keep the thing you showed us haha! with the big hair, leotards and all :)-ragamuffin girl