Copyright © 2019 FOBOLOUS by Rainne Mendoza  

    

How many times have you found yourself alone in your room?

 

Or in a crowded place?

 

Going through nostalgic videos and posts one by one on your social media accounts.

 

Sinking your teeth into vibrant images, bittersweet photographs and recordings that bring tears in your eyes.

 

But you continue to browse, glued to your electronic device, consoling yourself that it will soon come to pass.

 

The holidays will soon be over, you said, along with all the other things that remind you of home.

 

 It’s been what?

 

Ten years now?  Maybe twenty?

 

Do you remember what you were wearing when you hopped on a plane to fly away thousands of miles  to experience what everyone told you was a better world?

 

In America where they said you would see the whitest snow.

 

Perhaps, Europe where folks dress up fashionably in cafes, conversing among each other with that crisp, melodic accent.

 

Well, look at you now.

 

Speaking effortlessly and strutting around like a native, driving around through short cuts and back alleys in your town or city.

 

To avoid the monstrous rush hour traffic.

 

Day in and day out.

 

You’ve got it all figured out.

 

Not bad for a thriving transplant.

 

You have adapted well to the country of your choice.

 

And hardly anyone can spot the difference anymore whether you’re a local or not.

 

But there is just that time of the year again.

 

The dragging period of temporary hell when almost everywhere you go, the street corners are brightly lit, colorfully decorated with shimmering trinkets and ornate wreaths and everyone’s mood is electrifyingly festive.

 

And excessively merry.

 

And you’re not.

 

Because …

 

Your family and friends and even pets and trusted hairdresser and grocer and cab driver and everyone else you hold dear are not around to celebrate with you.

 

They’re thousands of miles away in the very place that you’re fantasizing about, the one you left behind to set out on your adventure.

 

And you’ve got that homesickness bug clinging to you like a leech all over again.

 

If you’re Filipino, you suddenly miss the early morning walks to Church for the Misa de Gallo and lining up at the bamboo stalls outside for the hot, melt-in-your-mouth Puto Bumbong and Bibingka downed with refreshing salabat. 

 

You miss the Kris Kringles and exchange of gifts and the Noche Buena.

 

Even the Christmas lights forming a huge star, plastered on your neighbor’s wall back home, flashing on and off like a choreographed dance to the tune of Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer all night long.

 

And you wonder now why in the world you wanted to yank it out of your neighbor’s wall so bad.

 

Had you known you’d miss it - that Last Song Syndrome trigger from the bowels of Christmas flops - you would have taken a snapshot and a video of those dancing lights as a souvenir.

 

So you could listen to their mesmerizing melody to your heart’s content when you’re feeling sentimental.

 

Like right now.

 

But hey.

 

If you’re living away from home, don’t fret.

 

You’re absolutely right.

 

Christmas will soon be over and everything will go back to normal.

 

The way you’ve always preferred.

 

But guess what?

 

Something is about to inspire you to get through the rough times of your life either as an immigrant or a temporary resident in that foreign land.

 

Not just during the bittersweet holidays.

 

But for the rest of your stay in your new home away from home.

 

Without having to brew your own native drink just to feel more jolly in the middle of those long, freezing nights.

It has a funny sounding name but it's worth a peek.

 

It's called FOBOLOUS.

 

 

 

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