I would never imagine that my journey to a better life started 32 years ago will never end; maybe because being the wife of a Greek Ithaka is never close as we think, rather is “now you see it now you don’t” disappears right in front of your eyes, just when you thought you’re there.
The voyage started primarily for survival, as is the case of millions of Filipinos around the world, bought me with the entire family of 8 siblings from Batuan Bohol Philippines to the “promised land” of Mindanao Philippines. In the 80s every place in the Philippines was a promised land compare to Bohol considered then one of the poorest areas in the country, hence the reason we thought a better life await us there. Estela Jumawid Iliadis blog
There I am a kid in the middle of the jungle, observing and learning from my father the art of surviving depending on the mercy of Nature, this Nature who delivers its secrets to anyone who will treat her with respect, likewise, will severely punish those contributing to her destruction. Estela Jumawid Iliadis blog
And one day, Tatay Forunato (My father) decided we have to go. The Philippines will always be the Philippines, there isn’t a promised land, it was a lie, an illusion, a myth. Nevertheless, the jungle of Mindanao taught me to communicate with Nature, we became friends, Mother Nature can read your feelings on her, unmistakably, once she trusts you she’ll invest you with the magic power consisting of everything you plant will grow. Estela Jumawid Iliadis blog
I wish I could stay longer, bypassing the material need being the reason in the first place Tatay brought us there, for the benefit of spiritual knowledge and discovering more. But you guessed it, Tatay wasn’t the kind of granting such requests to an ado I was!…So back to Batuan Bohol, on the real world where everything is down to earth, no rivers, and centennial trees, no monkeys crossing your path like in the jungle of Mindanao, no birds singing. The dream was over.
I was telling the story to my husband seating on the patio having dinner and he replied with a poem from a Greek poet, his name is Constantine P. Cavafy.
"As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her, you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.