I have to admit that this blog series about Borneo is really long. I am writing it since February and it already reached 18 parts for a 4-day journey. Blame my Iack of discipline for the 3-month period I spent just writing about this adventure. Anyway, I am excited to end it in this post. I am also excited to proceed to new topics and probably try some poetry.
Remember Pastor Anthony? The guy I met in Brunei? Well, he texted me in the afternoon asking me where I am. He wanted to meet me again. I am glad I just finished my me-time and I am now excited to be with people once again. Pastor Anthony met me in Mcdonalds near the City mall.
“Darby, I know this is your last day. Do you want to go to *he mentioned a place which unfortunately, I have forgotten already* before you leave the country? It is like the Signal Hill but it is better. I will be touring some of the congregation there”
“Sure Pastor. I would love to”
“Before that, I just need to pay some electric bills and meet our church musician at a nearby mall. Then we will go to the church to fetch some of the members. They are also travelers like you”
“That would be great!”
After running some errands, Pastor Anthony bought me some curry-based snack then went to the church. Unfortunately, it rained really hard. The place he was talking about is uphill so it would be difficult for the car to go there. Instead, Pastor Anthony and I just talked about a lot of larger than life topics–his faith, his advocacy in life and his mission in Kota Kinabalu. Aside from that, I was able to talk to some of his members. During my stay with Pastor Anthony, I realized two things:
1. I am no longer familiar with purely Christian conversations since I was exposed to different faith systems.
2. I am enjoying purely Christian conversations the same way I enjoy other conversation with people with different faith system.
Ironic? Maybe.. but come on, realizing it in a foreign land is something awesome right?
After my stay, Pastor Anthony and some of his members took me to the bus station to Adam‘s place.
At the bus..
It was around 6pm when the bus left. I was alone again with a smile on my face while thinking about the conversations I had with Pastor Anthony. I am seated with a girl on her early twenties who is taking a nap. Kota Kinabalu is a bit gloomy now after the rain. Or maybe it is gloomy because I am about to leave. After 5 minutes, my phone rang. It was Adam.
“Hey Darby, where are you?”
“I am still on a Bus to your place”
“We will just meet you in One Borneo. I am with Anne and Yian, a new Couchsurfer” (this time, Andris, the Indonesian guy already left Kota Kinabalu for his Brunei trip. I advised him not to take the ferry)
“Wow. You have a new Couchsurfer? That’s cool! Ok. I will just see you in 1B. Bye!”
“Take care Darby”
After my phone conversation with Adam, the girl who is sitting next to me smiled.
“Hi. I heard your conversation on the phone. You are not Malaysian?”
“Oh. Yes. You are right. I am from the Philippines. Is One Borneo mall far from here?”
“No. Just around 10minutes from here. I am Naity by the way”
“Nice to meet you Naity. I am Darby”
“So, how long are you staying here in Kota Kinabalu?”
“Oh, I am just staying here for 3 days and 3 nights. This is my 3rd night”
“You are already leaving? Oh that’s a short trip”
“Yes it was. Too bad I can’t file longer leaves at work.”
After a great 10-minute conversation with Naity, the bus stopped in One Borneo. I bid farewell to my 10-minute friend on a bus. Even it is just for 10 minutes, I can still say that it is one of the highlights of my last hours in Borneo.
My final hours
I saw Adam, Anne and a new face waving at me when I arrived One Borneo. We hurriedly went into the car because Adam still needs to go to a supermarket to buy some ingredients for tomorrow’s food in the cafeteria (remember, they have a cafeteria biz inside a university).
While in the car, Adam introduced me to Yian, his Taiwanese guest. Yian is one of the brave Asians who quit their job for travel. He speaks good English with an Australian accent. The smart Anne figured out that Yian learned his English from an Australian Tutor.
When we arrived home, I spent 20 quality minutes with Adam’s dad. Adam’s dad is 100% Filipino who married a 100% Filipina girl making Adam a pure blooded Filipino.
“When did you left the Philippines, dad?”
“It’s been 50 years already”
“Do you still have contacts with your siblings back home?”
“I stopped communicating with them after my 1st year here. I have done that to stop the pain. I have to detach myself”, he said with tears in his eyes. I can’t blame Adam’s dad. I am an advocate of non-attachment. But of course, the tears only proved that a part of him was lost when he stopped communicating with his family here. But that doesn’t mean he is not ok. He is ok. Until now, while writing this, I am missing Adam’s dad more than I miss Adam.
After that, Adam prepared our dinner–my final dinner. It was actually cooked by his Turkish uncle. It’s called Kebab Sandwich. My last dinner in Malaysia is Turkish food. Isn’t that special? Anne, Yian and I enjoyed every bite while saying our “oohhs” and “ahhhs”.
…and the last ahhh
…the last bite…
is actually the start of my goodbye speech.
“Anne, thank you for everything, for traveling with me, for sharing your inspiring stories of strength and courage. Good luck on your Mexico to Canada hike. Yian, you are in good hands with Adam. You are brave for quitting your job. Hope to see you in the Philippines someday. Auntie and Uncle, thanks for opening your home. You cook really good food. Good luck on your business. Dad, stay strong and stay healthy. You are blessed to have Adam and he is blessed to have you. And for Adam, words cannot express how much I appreciate your goodness. Here’s a globe as a simple token”
I handed a small globe to Adam which I secretly bought while he was buying some stuff. I have written the words V.I.P. TRAVELER because he will always be a VIP and he deserves a VIP treatment EVERYWHERE.
After that, I hugged everyone…