Congratulations to all the pupils, congratulations graduates! It’s a special day for you, and even more so for your parents, guardians, and families who have worked hard in aiding to achieving your dreams. Give them a hug, a kiss, and lots of compliments (that hopefully you truly mean). Please invite me for more of these things - it was wonderful. Read my short speech below:
I miss this place often and dream about going back the minute I step into the airport aiming to catch my flight back to Manila. If I had the chance to fly to anywhere else in the world right now, I’ll probably pick New York. And it’s not just because my best friend lives in one of the coolest boroughs in town and I could easily crash her apartment (and probably not have to worry about rent for maybe 6 months before she kicks me out), or because I met Tom Hiddleston there the first time I went (and probably will see him again if I seek intently enough). It’s because New York City, out of all the places in the world (yes, I’m sorry, I love my country, but even Manila -) makes me feel most like myself.
I saw you today from the other side of my car window. Waiting right below the street lamp where you and I once hailed a taxi together. It was a frigid January evening and the streets were cluttered with drunken flirts and a distant ringing of reggaeton. I’ve doused myself with enough whisky and had thought the night should be over early rather than later; these days I start my mornings before seven, with double pours of coffee, enough to keep me active though hazed, enough to jumpstart the day, enough to help me remember what life was like before you and I and before you and I was no longer.