I had looked forward to the start of July to restart writing on this blog–the beginning of the second half of the year seemed like a convenient and appropriate marker to start, I guess, any habit that one wishes to keep for the rest of the year or even longer, sort of like New Year’s resolution at midyear.
I’ll go ahead by stating the obvious–for everyone else I am quite certain–the first half of the year has been defined by the coronavirus pandemic and our collective response and experiences around it. Besides that, I am sure so many other things have happened in our respective communities, societies, and our personal lives. As to my own, I don’t know where to start. It isn’t even just the first half of the year that I’m making up for lost recollection–it’s the entire year since my last blog entry in June of 2019. This includes the entire time I was in Paris as a graduate student, the defining experience of the last twelve months.
Perhaps that’s where I should start with this brief recap. A few weeks ago I had just officially completed my Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in European law at the Université Paris II – Panthéon Assas. (The last three months of which I spent at home in Manila, through online classes with our professors. I chose to fly home for refuge last March after everything went coronavirus haywire in Europe and Asia). My year in Paris was a remarkable experience I sincerely wish I had kept in better posterity in an online journal, with photos and well-written prose, rather than through bits and pieces of tweets and Instagram posts and private snapshots on my phone. More than the masters program, it is the experiences with new friends in Europe, and the many travails of trying to adapt in a seemingly impenetrable society in Paris, that truly made a lasting impression on me. I will try to write more about these experiences through bits and pieces of recollection in future blog entries perhaps.
Having mentioned my year in France provokes the question, where do I go from here? I am still largely uncertain, to be honest, given the precarious situation. I had originally planned on staying in France to do an internship in one of many international law firms with offices in Paris. But that is no longer forthcoming, for the meantime.
I have also considered, perhaps, restarting a career in Manila but the nagging thought is that, I did not go through all the effort of the past year to just go back to where I started. I wanted to do and still aspire to be more than the lawyer that I was. I still want to be the cross-border, multi-jurisdiction international lawyer I fancied myself to be. More than that, I still want to achieve the “happiness” I’ve always dreamed of (a complex personal issue which I will speak of more when the time comes). Then again, the guilt also comes after that–at a time when the pandemic continues to rage in the Philippines, should I really want to be in a situation that puts me thousands of kilometers away from my family? What if something terrible happens to any of them? The anxiety might kill me first. On another hand, at a time when the Philippines’ political situation demands a more courageous front–should I not aspire to stay home and fight with my colleagues in the legal profession?
Ah, I don’t know anymore! To be honest, I’ve set in motion a personal plan I’ve come up with a few weeks ago that would bring me back to Europe by next month. But as long as nothing is certain, I will keep such plans to myself and my family for now and just go along where the circumstances, and more importantly my will to pursue personal happiness and fulfilment, take me.