Emails, SMS and basically the internet makes communication faster and efficient. And we all love how we get to stay in touch with people who matter by the hour or even by the minute. All thanks to microblogging phenomenon, Twitter and THE social network, Facebook where people are all connected. One finds it rare to meet someone without an account, especially Facebook.
Regardless, I like snail mails. I like words put on ink, written down, and actually kept in boxes stashed on top of our closets and under our beds. I like rereading them on a cold, rainy night. I like sifting through them whenever I get lonely or depressed. In short, I am a HUGE fan of letters.
I have kept almost all the letters I have received since fifth grade. Handmade valentine cards we used to make for Arts every February, little notes of encouragement, birthday cards, random letters, peace-offerings, Palancas, and even the ribbons used to wrap for my gifts are all in a bulging orange envelope I stash under my bed. And yes, I intend to give them a fancy place to put, say an embellished treasure box.
My favorites among the stash are those I received during our Senior High retreat right before graduation. Those we call, PALANCA. Imagine trying to write for 120 batchmates? Handwriting. I couldn't take writing for each one anymore, I resorted to encoding general messages. Seriously. But don't tell! Of course, closest friends received lenghty letters from the teenage, emotional-at-the-thought-of-separation-after-graduation version of me. You know high school, complete opposite of college. The thought of graduation in college comes with a huge sigh of relief whereas in highschool came with a dread. Everyone, at least most of my friends did, half-wanted for it to last longer.
My friend Dahl probably did not want to have hers mixed up with everyone else that she especially made mine late, really really really late. Like, six years late. I was truly surprised to receive it one random day.
So, WHAT IS A PALANCA anyway. Why does everyone look forward to have one? What does it mean?
Well, Palanca is a spanish word that literally means lever; just as a lever enables a person to move something which is beyond normal strength. Usually people associate Palancas as letters. Surprisingly letters are merely one vehicle in which we convey the actual Palanca being done at that time. In short, the effort, the thoughts, well-wishes and prayers written on the letter are actually the Palanca itself, not the letters. On retreats, receiving a Palanca from loved ones is a wonderful, moving experience. Really, I shamelessly cried over a letter I received from parents. At home, when I opened the envelope filled with letters from batchmates, I was moved to read how our friendship meant to them. I felt loved and blessed that I have all these people in my life. Receiving one again after six years was a treat. It reminded me of high school, how far I've come since then, the changes I went through, and the friendship I still share with most of my close friends. Life is indeed wonderful. These are few of the reasons why life, in spite of trials, is worth living.