Day 9: The Konyo Boy

I hung out with some former high school classmates (and batch-mates) last night, and had a great time catching up on news and happenings from the past couple of decades.  So much has transpired– marriages, separations (there is no such thing as “divorce” in the homeland), and even some deaths– that they scolded me for having been gone for too long.  Luckily, I had in my midst the organizers of the ongoing batch efforts and, most importantly, the 25-year reunion taking place in February of 2012.  I don’t think they’ll allow me to be as out-of-touch as I’ve let myself be.

My poor memory also reared its ugly head last night, as they fondly recollected events and interactions with me of which I hadn’t the foggiest reminiscence.  A couple even remembered the day or situation when we first met.  They also spoke of a teacher who really remembers me and, hearing that I was in town, expressed that I stopped by to visit with her.  (I will actually do so today.)  One in our group also reminded me of an intense high school crush, even ribbing me with the fact that she was also still single.

It’s funny what people remember, and what they don’t.

They also reminded me that I was known as the konyo boy (or American boy) in high school.  Of course, I knew this.  After all, I returned to the Philippines after having finished elementary school in the U.S.  This, they said, was likely why many of my classmates back then had concerns making friends with me, as if I wouldn’t be able to relate with them somehow.  Although I’ve always been one to have only a small circle of friends, I did feel a bit of this exclusion back then.  Many, especially those in the other classes, were also intimidated by my American-sounding English.  What came naturally to me inadvertently became a deterrent.  Even last night, as I tried desperately to speak in my native tongue, I would stumble and revert to pure English.

I’m now actually looking very forward to returning for the 25-year reunion.  Oh, the stories that will surface then!


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