Back to School
I can’t help it but always look back years back.
It’s almost June and even if we know this is a wedding month, something I haven’t booked yet, it’s more known as back to school month.
Here in Hong Kong, following the British system that school starts in September and ends in July to fully cope up with the thought that July and August is meant for overseas trips, summer camps and crazy sale while learning is at peak during winter season.
After a month of playing native games with neighbors and watching TV, the fun is over and everyone’s back to school. Enrollment is not much of an excitement because walking thirty minutes to my grade school building is not like a walk in the park. My mother brings me to school and while walking, we would talk about how many notebooks do I need, whose the teacher I would like to enroll to and negotiate my baon for the school season. The process of enrollment does not take a couple of hours and the sight of the growing weeds in the landscape means we will start the school year cleaning up the field. So I then ask my mother to get me a new piece of sanggot from the blacksmith next door.
Coming from downtown to get new supplies for our little buy and sell business, me and my siblings were eager to see what kind of notebooks we do have. I need a new bag as my old Flash Gordon inherited from Kindergarten is less fashionable and I need that ‘box’ type so i can put my Araling Panlipunan, Science, Math books, and other activity notes. The notebooks we will have for this school year are 30-leaf items whose covers appear Aga Muhlach, Maricel Soriano, Philip Cezar, Bogs Adornado and William Martinez. We would then remove the spring binder and replace it with thick technicolor yarns. As experience would tell us, spring notes often wear out by midseason and is therefore inconvenient to use. As the children then are less conscious of what others would say about their new accessories, we did not worry about being bullied or being called class clown; children then were quite corteous.
And yes, I do not need a new pair of shoes as my brown barko is still as durable as the day it was bought. We go to school in slippers and while it makes our feet dirty and exposed to all kinds of infectious diseases during monsoon season, we were pretty much confident about them.
Going home on a sunny day reminds me of the dusty road en route. We used to take either of the two routes, one at the Sampaguita Street highway or the longer, yet more relaxed, less dusty route via Kumintang and Dona Aurora Street.
On a rainy day, it’s more sober on the second route, coupled with scary ghost tales especially when one member of CHDF was murdered along the same path when I was in my second grade. At home, my lola would prepare hot champorado topped with condensed milk. I missed those days.
As years passed, routes change, friends add up, and interests quickly change. When I was in my first grade I only wished to go home and watch Electric Company and Sesame Street, later Superbook, Flying House, Scooby Doo, Batibot, etc. That is why I was ecstatic when I got to watch a few of the old Gospel episodes last Christmas during my vacation.
We all wish we were kids, but God made us grown ups in order to fully understand, enjoy and appreciate things around us. Afterall, as independent minded we eventually become, who would want to be crawling forever, or stuck on television watching Barney for at least sixty years?