I've been feeling a bit up-and-down recently, experiencing an emotional roller coaster of sorts regarding my upcoming trips to visit my father for the first time (hopefully, it's been difficult trying to get in touch with him) and also go to the Philippines for the first time.
I have to say, there's nothing like serendipitous incidents to make me realize that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing right now in my life. For example, yesterday I picked up a book at a used bookstore the other day, a travel guide to Philadelphia, which is the nearest big city to where my father lives. After thumbing through it randomly for a few moments, I looked up 'Chinatown' in the index (I'm always curious to see what Asian communities / neighborhoods are like in places outside the Bay Area). In the corresponding section, which was very short, was a brief description of some of the main Philly Chinatown sights, including a lion gate donated to the City of Brotherly Love by its sister-city, Tianjin, China. This happens to be the city that my partner's father is from. It was almost spooky.
Yesterday, I also went to hear Walden Bello speak at a public form organized by some activist friends of mine in the Filipino community. I heard Walden speak a few years ago in Berkeley, and his sharp intellect, practical reasoning and understated but very visible passion for advancing the political, social and economic evolution of Philippine society (and global society as a whole) is refreshing, inspiring and absolutely necessary to witness during these dark days of the Bush administration running amok in Iraq and global capital's disastrous impact on the Earth and Her people (aka climate change).
Walden is running for a seat in the federal Congress of the Philippines, and the gathering was something of a campaign event--although not a fundraiser for his campaign since (and rightly so) Philippine candidates cannot legally accept foreign donations. It so happens that there is going to be a major election in the Philippines on May 14, 2007, just a few days after I am scheduled to depart. Already there are suspicions and warnings of coming election fraud, such as the sudden fire that burned down the Philippine elections commission office in Intramuros, Manila. And although these developments scare me a little--no doubt the travel conditions will be a bit more dangerous during this time--I am actually excited about being in the country during a time when so much will be happening politically, and when I may be able to witness some of the amazing movement work in the Philippines that I have heard and read so much about over the past ten years.
So I feel that I'm doing the right thing, that my feet are planted firmly on the path and in the right direction, and although I am still feeling a little scared and a little excited and a little apprehensive about these trips all at the same time, I can't imagine taking these journeys at any other time in my life than right now.