To call it quits is to say, cut and cut cleanly.
This is how I see things now between me and Los Angeles and all those things that this city stands for.
I have picked up the courage here, the strength to go on, the purpose to hang on to dear life.
It is in Los Angeles that I had ever tried my longest walkathon ever when the Metro buses called a month's strike in November 2003 during the time that I first went back to the country for a brief visit and the strike extensing for a few weeks more after returning.
I know when to quit Los Angeles and it is now.
Manoa on the hills beckons and at least, at least, I have to try figuring out the connection among the islands in the Pacific.
In Hawaii, I could pick up ethnology again, that part of anthropology that makes you a producer of knowledge from the library, from an armchair, from a desk, lonely with your thoughts but always looking for the electric light that makes you view things in a new light, always in a new light.
I have walked the streets of Los Angeles and I cannot complain.
I have found a connection in Skid Row on 4th Street in Downtown.
On the day I had my interview for the stamping of my permanent residency, I walked the stretch of the USCIS and Downtown, praying, thanking, praying, thanking.
In that long walk in the balmy heat of the spring sun, I could sense the lighness in me, the lightness of my walk while witnessing the terrible scenes of homelessness and deprivation and social injustice on Skid Row.
I tell myself, One day, one day, I will pay this country back for this kindness it gave me, for taking me in as its permanent resident alien, for believing that I can do something, something good, something better, something best.
I count my blessings: it is not everyday that someone like me is granted the residency in a few months. This sweet good luck is given only to a few and I am grateful for being one of the few.
I am lucky--and now I am quitting Los Angeles to start something somewhere else.
I know, I know, the scenes will not be the same.
But there are homeless in Aala Park and I have seen them, I have talked to them.
I tell myself: I can never serve all. I serve some justly and that will suffice.
In the meantime, I begin to pack my bag.
First to a government work in Williamsburg, for the cause of im/migrants, for the cause of legal justice.
And then this posting in Manoa for a longer, much longer time.
No, I am not calling it quits.
I am welcoming other opportunities to serve.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 20, 2006