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Young Blood

Lugging books as a way of life

05:00 AM December 09, 2018

We didn’t have much in the form of home comforts other than a reclaimed sofa and a would-do TV. All of the supposed budget for such was invested elsewhere.

I was then studying at a nearby private school. My schoolbag was heavy with books; I think there never was a time in my life, especially in childhood, when my bag was light — it was always heavy.

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During the seemingly long walk from our house to the main road where my mom and I would catch a jeepney, I would always complain and wish I could just teleport my bag to school so that I would never have to carry it.

There was even one time I almost forgot to bring my schoolbag, and all the while I still had a towel wrapped around my hair on the way to school!

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My books were heavy and expensive. If I had to do the math, all my books from preschool up until grade school alone could buy me and my family a couple of luxury beds so we wouldn’t have to settle for hard ones — even the floor.

But no one, not even my frugal-out-of-necessity parents, questioned or complained about the book prices. They knew their investment in their children’s future.

The house would always have more books than the time to read them, since everyone was busy. But on weekends, I would always see my father sitting under our mango tree and reading one of his action-packed thrillers from Tom Clancy, John Grisham, David Baldacci and the like.

My mom’s slightly different as she’s a night owl. I would always catch her in the middle of the night studying for her M.A., then her Ph.D., then Special Education, or marking papers.

If not, a couple of books left open and a notebook freshly inked would keep her occupied for most nights, in-between coaching my sister and I for speaking competitions, which we all won during our grade school years.

I thought I would come to hate the heavy books that plagued my childhood. But on the contrary, I think they have become a vital part of my life.

Even now that I am living and working overseas as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, I have a shelf full of books; some I have read, a few I have scanned, and a few others I have yet to read. And I can’t wait to find and read more.

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Noelle Angelie Tan, 27, was born and raised in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. She is living and working as an ESL teacher in Quang Ngai City, Vietnam.

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TAGS: Noelle Angelie Tan, school books, Young Blood
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