An Open Letter to Manila
I feel like I left a part of me behind when I left you behind. You were all that I could think about as the plane took off. I could physically feel the weight of the longing, the deep sadness that came with having to leave you. You freed me somehow, in between the painted sunrises and the insane traffic. While we were together, you revealed so many dirty, majestic, and resilient aspects about yourself to me and that was it. I fell in love with you. I adore you so completely that I know weeks, months, and years down the road, I will still feel the same. You showed me what it was really like to live. When we were together I felt like I could finally breathe. Sometime during our short adventure, as you were showing me the brutal truth about people being forced to live in devastating poverty, you charmed me with beautiful people with the most genuine smiles. You showed me towering mountains and humid jungles and cities so vast they seemed endless. You were also the first one to show me the ocean, all blue and infinite. I loved the ocean almost as much as I loved you. But I don’t think you’ll ever truly understand how much it hurt to leave; it almost broke me. I do want you to understand that I’ll be back. I could never really leave you. Not forever. And, perhaps, when I return, you might be able to help me lift this unbearable burden off my shoulders that has overwhelmed me ever since I left you. Maybe I’ll return the favor one day.
Grace Beckner is a sixteen-year-old Junior at Monte Vista High School in the beautiful but microscopic town of Monte Vista, Colorado. In her free time, Grace enjoys reading, writing, and setting for her high school volleyball team. She is currently in love with traveling all over the USA (and sometimes the world), meeting wonderful people wherever she goes, and writing about both. Her favorite place she’s been to so far is Manila, Philippines, and she hopes to return sooner rather than later to the city that stole her heart.