Thursday, May 28, 2015

Present Perfect

In the Philippines, there is a travel tradition called pasalubong, which involves bringing back small presents for loved ones at home. It is a thoughful gesture that lets one's nearest and dearest know you were thinking of them on yout travels and wanted them to have a small token from that city.

These days, with budget airfares and improved road systems making travel much more accessible, the pasalubong tradition may not be so frequently practiced.

Among childhood friends though, it is very much alive.

As teens, my best friend N and I were lucky to have spent every other summer in Europe. I was at boarding school in the UK, so my parents and legal guardian invested in a London flat where various family members could stay during their trips over. This included my second family that is N's. When her parents and brothers went to America instead, she would still come to London with my mum, dad and sisters.

In later years, it would be just my sister, N and myself. We would spend a few weeks in London and a few days somewhere "on the Continent". Rome, Florence, Venice, and Vienna were some of the cities we explored when we weren't pounding the pavements of London. Those memories are priceless, and to this day we have small items that remind us of certain trips.

When we graduated from university, started working, and then married and had kids, the threesome trips stopped, but the travels didn't. Instead of visiting new places together, we would see them with our own families, and always bring back something for each other no matter where in the world we might find ourselves.

N's family have been bitten by the cruise bug, so she has been trying to convince me and Big A to try one with them. We look forward to the day we will travel together again, whether it be on a solo girls' trip (the big 4-0 is coming up) or with our husbands and kids on a large ship. Until that day, each time we travel, no matter how near or far, we will come back bearing presents for the other. 

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