Closure                                                                The Blob,  Vol. 6, Issue 2, May 2011
Saturday May 14th, 2011

Yes, it's a buzz word these days with all of the expats around the world, though there are still some that ignore the importance of this step. How can one bring proper closure before saying goodbye to friends, coworkers and a country they may never see again? Saying goodbye is not one of my favourite things to do, in fact, I'm the kind of person who will someimes sneak out of a big group without saying goodbye to anyone. While this may be a bit rude in some circumstances, I know that I will see those people again and I also realize that I can't do that for bigger exits such as leaving a country.
One of the more helpful things I've found in bringing closure is to perform rites of passage. School's often hold parties for departing faculty and as much as I prefer small groups to large groups, attending those parties provide a rite of passage and help to bring

a sense of closure with everyone. Another helpful thing I've found is to deal with and face lingering emotions towards the bad experiences I may have had in a place. While most of my time here in the Philippines has been positive, I have had a few bad experiences such as having my iPhone stolen right out of my pocket while doing a pilgrimmage to Anti Polo on Maundy Thursday (how ironic, right?). I also had a sum of money stolen by a friend. While the loss of property left a bad taste in my mouth, it also reminded me of the importance of health and friends and that material things pale in comparison. The experience also made the boundaries between rich and poor more clear as well as the reality of what humans are capable. The thieves used a young deaf girl as a distraction to help steal my phone, much like what was portrayed in the movie 'Slumdog Millionaire'. That latter part is very sad, but at the same time, I have to ask myself 'who is the real victim of the crime?'. Am I the victim because I had something I owned taken from me, or are the thieves the victim of a world that allows such an inequality of wealth? Hollywood does well at portraying criminals as heroes in a lot of their movies, and some might argue that North Americans are the criminals in our world today? I can't say that I feel blameless having more money than many of the people around me here in the Philippines, but I also can't say that being violated is a good thing. I'm very thankful that the worst I experienced was the loss of an object, but I also learned that given the right circumstances in life, I could easily find myself doing the very same act as the people who took my phone. When enough injustcie happens to a person, their views and values can change a lot and who's to say that they are totally wrong if their experiences have treated them unjustly?
I'm thankful for the unique historical opportunity I've had to live in the Philippines and experience this great culture. I hope that the lessons they've taught me in hospitality, kindness and encouragement will lift me to higher heights as I learn and meditate on them to deeper levels.
Goodbye Tagaytay, Boracay, Puerta Princesa, Clark, Zambales, Baguio, Mt. Pulag, Laguna, Davao, Mt. Apo and Manila.