Living in Japan allows us to meet a myriad of persons with different personalities, many of them becoming our closest friends. Sadly, long-time residents like us are left behind while most of our friends move on, for various reasons. One of my dear friends, Joey Santos, who eventually became Aya’s Ninong, used to say: “People come and go, but you stay. Kumbaga sa jeep, kami ang pasahero, ikaw yung driver.” What a nice analogy.
I wonder — is it the transience of our stay in Japan that makes us cherish those friendships more than others, knowing that the time we could spend together is limited? Is it just coincidence that many people actually find their life-partners here? I think not.
Joy, who used to work at GSJ in AIST, was one of the first persons I met when I first came to Tsukuba. She left after one and a half years. Two years ago she came back for a visit together with her family – Rolf, and their lovely daughter Sinta. Nakakatuwa kasi mga dalaga pa kami noon, ngayon mga doting mothers na. We still keep in touch, after all these years. I imagine that we would still be updating each other once in a while way until we are old grandmas, if we would ever be so fortunate.
Epong, one of my kumpares, also used to work for Intel in Tsukuba, but has moved to Singapore together with his family about two years ago. We visited them there last year, and it was like a family reunion of sorts. It truly was heartwarming.
People come and go, but the trick is in never letting go of the bonds we’ve made. Only then are the friendships truly made special – like wine with age. 😉