“There are no cats in America/ and the streets are filled with cheese/ There are no cats in America/ It keeps your mind at ease…”
These are the lines of a song I have learned since I was a kid watching The American Tail on Betamax. The lyrics suddenly came to mind while I was on my way to Florida to attend the American Association of Cereal Chemists meeting in Florida (Sept 11-14, 2005). The song spoke of finding greener pastures on the other side of the world.
True enough, when I got to my destination, everything was more abundant, more grandiose, larger than life even. Primarily because I was staying in a tourist spot designed to take everyone’s breath away. The Kennedy Space Center was definitely the highlight of my trip, with all its gigantic machinery that has brought man to the moon and back again. Disneyworld in downtown Orlando was also a sight to see. The hotel I stayed in, the Gaylord Palms, was a great place to stay with the themed restaurants that make you feel like you’re in Hogwarts’ great hall, dining under the sky.
I didn’t feel away from home because the weather was generally like at home. But I did miss my food. After two days there, I couln’t stand not eating rice! I have never felt farthest from home.
…Until I arrived in the Bay area in California. The weather there was COLD… in summer. Well, colder than what I’m used to. I had to wear a jacket the whole day! And the wind was strong! The San Francisco area was just like Makati… only, all the skyscrapers are chucked into a small space with streets just as small as those inside the UPLB campus!
I’ve been there, and now I’m back again. In this trip, I learned that once you leave home to see the world, you’ll find more reasons to stay.