August 25, 2012 marks my 25th High School Reunion with Colegio San Agustin Makati.
Well, technically, I’m part of the Wachusett High School Class of 1986, in Holden, Massachusetts. And we celebrated our 25th High School Reunion last year. I didn’t go. Rutland, Massachusetts was only home for a year, not long enough to form any lasting bonds. Most of the friendships I made faded as soon as I left. My memories of the place are all foggy, and I have to consult old photo albums to remind myself of all that I did in my last year of high school.
In my late teens and early twenties, Salisbury, Maryland, was home — a very significant time in my nascent adulthood. This was where I went to college, had my first serious boyfriend, decided on a career, and learned to be resourceful, tackling jobs from college catering to go-go dancing. I created many memories here, and made a lot of friends.
A year after graduating, I went back to Salisbury for homecoming. From the tailgate parties to the football games, the pep rallies to formal alumni dinners, I attended everything, caught up with everyone. Two years later, I visited again. But this time, skipped out on the formal dinner. Three years passed…and I decided the airfare was too expensive. It took my college BFF’s wedding in October last year to get me to go back east again.
On my last visit, I drove right by my old college campus and marched past places I had previously partied, with hardly a glance. I had breakfast with my college roommate, Agata, now Salisbury University‘s International Student Advisor, who immediately got our other roommate, Meme, on speakerphone for a good dose of raucous reminiscing.
Otherwise, nothing looked or felt the same. Gone were the bars and clubs that witnessed my youthful debauchery, and gone were the people that made Salisbury feel like home. Salisbury is a college town, composed of transients and tourists — no one is really from there, and most everyone I knew had left. It dawned on me, then, that I was simply a visitor in this place.
Maybe the old adage is true… that one can never go home again.
But Colegio San Agustin is different. This is where I grew roots and I developed my identity. I spent the bulk of my toddler and ‘tween years there, graduated with the grade school class of 1983, then attended freshmen and sophomore year before taking off and finishing high school in Massachusetts. At a fundamental level, I’ll always be an Augustinian.
I continue to nurture friendships with many of my Augustinian friends, virtually or otherwise. Posts on our batch Facebook page further set off interactions, encourage conversations, and deepen our common bonds. I can’t think of a group more cohesive than ours. This past May, my husband and I took the long trek from Montara to Irvine for an advanced celebration of our 25th high school reunion and visited with 45 other stateside friends. I felt at home.
Perhaps we can go home again — as long as we recognize that home isn’t a place — it is a community of people that cherish the ties that bind them together.