(This post was originally published on October 20, 2012 right here.)

I was born and raised in the city. And though my parents’ roots were in the province, they spent a good number of their younger years in the city as well. There were no grandparents to visit in the province, as the then surviving ones also lived in the city. I had gone to a few provinces in the past, mostly for vacation (like beaches), or ministry and missions purposes. But staying in a province for a prolonged period? Never. So when the prospect of having to live in a faraway province surfaced, I was not thrilled at all. My whole life, my whole history seemed to be hinged on city life. My family, my friends, my work and ministry — all these were conveniently located in the city.

But I had no way out of it. It was part of my life’s syllabus, much like Photography 101 was part of my college course syllabus (for some reason, I dreaded Photography 101; but being enrolled in Communication Arts, I had to take it. Go figure.)

So I couldn’t escape this prospect, for the very reason that I’d be marrying someone who had just recently relocated there for work. Either I marry the guy and begin a life with him, or marry him and still live a separate life. So I married the guy and we agreed to visit the city every so often.

A feeling of uncertainty and slight sadness came upon me as I said goodbye to my family. Then again, I would be seeing them in two weeks for four days. But for someone who was never away for long periods of time, this could very well be a month or longer! So off I went with my husband of three weeks…to a place unknown…to a people unfamiliar…to a language undecipherable…. (Not once did I go there prior to getting married; not even to check out our future apartment!)

We rode this super deluxe bus. I had never ridden in a bus for that long — nine hours! It was a night trip, and good thing I was able to sleep during the ride. Arrival at our destination was quite surreal. Is this really happening? It was reality all right. And what a reality it was.