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It’s been a long time coming indeed; eleven years to be exact. Permit me, if you may, to share with you our own little tale of affirmation and the fruition of a dream. My matey and I were lying in bed one evening, admiring a cheap Renoir painting of a European cafe scene which I had framed and hung on our wall.

Before that, our conversation had started on a set of colorful Australian coasters adorned with indigenous prints (which I also had famed) and this led us to say, “well, we have visited and lived on that continent, why not jump ahead into that cafe scene next?” True enough, at the time, it has already been five years since we came home from down under where she finished a second Master’s degree.

After a brief reminiscence of that Aussie experience, as our convo continued to gravitate towards that cafe scene on the wall, I remembered sharing about my visit in 92 where I once sat on a similar outdoor scene in Wien with my espresso. Call it the beginnings of itchy feet or a mere longing between us but, it was then and there we simply agreed, in due time, she would experience that too.

Now call it pure luck, coincidence, synchronicity, aligning with the universe, or just simply claiming (which has become quite a popular affirmation slay these days) but a few months later, she excitedly called from me the uni. She had gotten an invitation to pursue her doctorate in the Netherlands! To think, we had already put that thought aside as mere idle talk and had gone on with our daily chores. But instantly, my thoughts went back to that nighttime quiet conversation which felt like a long time ago. Swooning over a cheap rendition of a Parisian outdoor cafe scene.

As the title suggests, it has been a long time indeed. Her journey however, is near its fruitful end. As what had been her dream, the course had involved several trips to Europe and the US as part of her study, plus more months in her university in the Netherlands. I can only presume how many coffee shops she had visited by then. Even as the whole duration may have been delayed by three years of the Covid freeze on all activities, it has likewise been dotted with numerous local field visits, plus conference presentations both here and abroad.

At this very moment, all her efforts are encapsulated by where she is as I write this. More than anything, nothing could be more symbolic: a late-night phone call place her on a train from the Amsterdam Schiphol airport, headed for her scheduled PhD thesis defense. While I know she’d hate when I write about this, I deem it an honor to heap praise on all her efforts. Despite the odds, the dream she deserves, though a long time in coming, is now hers.


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