So far, I find the XCE a very enjoyable experience. I find it fun when I’m always hanging out with my friends. But I’ve come across a problem. Some people have come to say that XCE is boring–that it isn’t worth it and that it isn’t fair. Actually, even I say these things to myself. But I always also say that XCE isn’t a time to have my vacation. Rather, it’s a time to develop responsibility in myself, to become more mature and more independent.
XCE involves a lot of sacrifice. One is in not being with my family. Whenever I think of my home and my parents and siblings, I start to get homesick. But I’ve already survived three weeks in XCE. I think to myself that this is still worth it–and that we can still learn to be more independent unlike when we’re at home. At home, we just command others to do what we want, or ask our household helpers to clean up the floor or wash our clothes or fix up our things. In the XCE, I’ve learned to be my own household help by cleaning up the floor, doing my own laundry, sometimes even hand-washing my clothes.
I’ve also learned to eat new food. The food in China and the Philippines are not the same. Unlike the Philippines, we can’t just tell the cooks, “Paluto ng…” There is a menu here of what to eat–and that’s what we eat. Nor can we just go to McDonald’s everyday. Here we are taught to bear with what might seem to be unusual food, but which is the ordinary food served in school. That takes discipline.
Some of us might think that the teachers are too strict because of the ‘No Room Hopping Except on Weekends’ rule and the curfew time. The teachers don’t seem to mind if we get mad at them or hate them because of these rules. All they want is for us to become better Xaverians, or as we say, ‘Men for Others.’
I have already written much. I would like to conclude with this: XCE is a way to develop my maturity and responsibility. We are being prepared to face greater difficulties as we grow up.
[Text by Enzo Manzano / Picture by TC Ang]