Yes, the time has come folks. That time everyone in my home country has been asking about since my departure from said country: my homecoming. All throughout my time here at Uncle Sam’s, one consistent question has always been asked by family, friends, and whatnot: “when are you coming home?”

I grew tired of this question; partly because of its consistency, partly because of its “what-you-would-ask-for-small-talk” nature. However, I kept answering the question, with answers that grew more specific with time. Those answers start with “this summer” and led to “either June or July” to “Mid June” to “I’m leaving the States on June 19th.” Bam. That’s a week from now.

I will not say that I am not drenched with excitement. On the contrary, every fiber of my being has wrinkled due to extensive soaking of excitement. The prospects of coming home is very inviting: the familiar faces, the familiar objects, the familiar feelings (not to mention being fully dependent and have everything taken care of for me). But as it is with all things, homecoming is not a purely saccharine-sweet occurrence, but rather a bittersweet one.

Homecoming is that time when one leaves where one is and goes back to where one came from; a break from the present for a short return to the past, if you will. Naturally, some goodbyes are in order - one thing that makes homecoming a somewhat sad ordeal. By this time next week, I will have to say goodbye to some of the most amazing people in the world. People who made life away from home worthwhile. People who became my new home. Some of their absences from my life will only be for a short while, some longer. And as we all know, absence is always rather difficult to forget.

In addition to goodbyes, homecoming is also a time for hello-agains. This doesn’t sound bittersweet at all doesn’t it? No. One has the chance to return to familiar surroundings and catch up. But as one stays longer in one’s previous home, one fact becomes blindingly apparent: life goes on. For the people who leave places, they will think that time stops during their absence, and in their return time shall resume, thus leaving everything the way it is: familiar. The fact of the matter - or rather, the bittersweet fact of the matter - is that time doesn’t stop for anyone. When we leave a place, time doesn’t stop for us and wait for our hello-agains. It goes on, bringing changes to all things that we used to recognize. Alas, time changes what is existing and turns it new. What does that leave us then? It leaves us to start afresh and deal with the changes that happened during our absence, all in a place that used to be familiar. Used to. Oh, the irony…

Yes, our friends changed, our favorite coffee place morphed, and our driveway transformed. But despite all those changes, one important thing to remember is we ourselves have evolved as well (and hopefully for the better). We shouldn’t feel so alienated by evolved familiar places because change will happen no matter what. As was said before, life goes on and time stops for no one.

During my last homecoming, I had not figured all this out, and dear me, how I wish I had. This time around, I had learned my lesson, thus I shall prepare myself accordingly for this bittersweet affair. Hopefully, I will be able to make the best of whatever has to come.

So then, let us pack up our bags and head on home, for home is waiting for our coming. Along the way, changes will be apparent and nostalgia might occur; nevertheless, all we can do is move on, keep evolving, and hope that those evolutions happen for the better.

Have a happy Summer vacation.