Urgent businesses, both personal and otherwise, brought me once again to the old homeland left behind over a quarter of century ago. Having spent three months reacquainting with already unfamiliar haunts just a little over two months ago, I had thought that the transition would be an easy cakewalk the second time around. After all, three months are a sufficiently long period of time to spend to get familiarized with one's immediate surroundings. Even medical practitioners are quite agreed that the human body itself requires only from 3 to 6 weeks to reacclimatize. Thus, the rest ought to follow suit.
But already the end of the second week of my new sojourn would indicate to me that the disconnect and disorientation have been just as sticky and tenacious as the first time around, or any other time around for that matter. In fine, getting used to the new locale and taking on habits and chores corresponding to the new environs have never been an easy task. Such matters as which news, or political issues, or social concerns (local vs US), should I sink my teeth on take on unruly challenges that normally would not even be given second thoughts by the locals.
After all, my life essentially is now that life in the adopted country that I have chosen to embrace and where my immediate family roots are now well in place and thriving. It does not matter much that I still maintain a decent residential house in the city in the Philippines, where I grew up, got educated in, and worked for a quite. That I still maintain bank accounts in local banks, or that I continue to maintain and cultivate investments in local enterprises would in my judgment render to me only remote relevance and importance. This, albeit being profoundly conscious that deep down, I pursue all these because I subliminally identify with the place and its people and am morally constrained to exert my level best under the circumstances to assist in its earnest efforts to economically uplift itself. The added burden of having close family relatives and acquaintances still in the place and quite literally in a mortal struggle to make ends meet makes its case more compelling.
That I have to spend more time here is not the issue. The bone of contention rather is how one can continue without confusion, puzzlement, and conflict, living the new life adopted over the old life that was abandoned many years ago. Thus, should I concern myself with the quirky nuances of local politics, or festering social issues currently impacting the local scenes? Or should I rather continue with the acquired routines and attitudes now seamlessly enmeshed with my new life? It is rather amazing to realize that deep and subtle changes in practically all areas of human living are manifested in attitudes and in values, apart from the typically visible and tangible metamorphosis that one goes through when uprooting one's family from one country to another.
The Internet or the World Wide Web has of course become the phenomenon that allows every participant the open world of options and choices catering to every conceivable individual preference. Thus, keeping in touch and participating with family activities or discourses from 7,000 miles yonder is no problem. Neither is keeping close touch with the politics, the social activities, etc. or what have you, of one's new milieu any great concern. After all, the Internet has made the global environment one big interdependent community. International events are no different with the ready accessibility and ubiquity of local events.
But the in-your-face distractions of critical local events sprouting all around are difficult to effectively ignore and discount, regardless of how hard one may try. Much the same way that getting some sleep would be next to impossible amidst blaring radio sounds in the background.
And this has been my dilemma. My regular incursions in the blogosphere continue to affirm this confusion. Should I focus precious limited time on reading up on US blogs dissertating on issues relevant to the US, or should I go to local blogs agonizing on the myriad of social, political and economic maladies besetting the nation? Which at times could be at cross-purposes, or maybe exhibiting downright shades of conflicts of interests?
The uneasy compromise that I have grudgingly applied is for me to limit my interests and concerns on local events, and maintain the aloof attitude of a distant and disinterested observer, deaf and somewhat powerless to even formulate opinions on the pressing issues. And to continue marshalling efforts and resources toward the adopted country which offers many grand promises not only for me but more importantly, for the younger members of our family who have hitched their lifelong stakes in a country that arguably offers the best possible opportunities for living.
Regrettably, making this priority choice has been quite easy and unequivocal from purely personal interests' point of view.
I personally find that because of the added perspective and hindsight benefit of being able to competently compare the old life with the new, the former and most everything integral to it have been found gravely wanting and disappointing.