I have never not lived in a major city. True, Kathmandu isn’t as metropolitan as Manila, but a capital nonetheless. I’ve always said I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else but the city. I’m used to being in the centre of things, falling asleep to the sounds of traffic and airplanes overhead. As a kid, spending weekends and holidays at my cousins’ in the suburbs meant sleepless nights because it was just too quiet.
Thanks to surfing, I’ve spent more time out of town in the past two years than the 20 or so years we’ve been in Manila. I recently spent a few days in Zambales and being there on the weekdays made it feel more homey than our usual weekend trips. It it really hit me hard how much I now dislike living in Manila.
Manila traffic has become increasingly absurd these past couple of years. It can take three hours to get to my former university in Quezon City. Which, if you drive without rest stops, is the same amount of time it can take you to get to Zambales.
I’m lucky I work from home and don’t have to deal with the traffic on the daily. It’s working remotely that has also made me be more comfortable with being alone, which is one of the reasons I used to hate the idea of life in the province. You’re never really alone in the city, and that’s not as a good of a thing to me anymore.
I’ve always been a city mouse, but the sinking feeling in my stomach every time we get to the toll gate that marks our return into the city tells me I’m ready to become a country rat.