The move went fine, really. I don’t know but I’ve always felt at home in the Free State. Reisterstown, where we live, is a suburb so it’s very quiet and laid back unlike downtown Los Angeles. I really like it here! Even on the first week, I already felt like I have lived here all my life. I felt that I so belonged here that everything is just marvelous. Everyday, I am so thankful that I am right here, right now. Our house is fully paid. The car is fully paid. We have everything that we need. And I don’t have to work for anyone anymore even for a day! I am actually living my dream life.
What grabbed your attention during your first month in Maryland?
I’d really have to say the trees and the flowers. We arrived on April 1st to what for me is the “quintessential” image, the embodiment of Maryland landscape—the bare trees, all branches, no leaves, against the bleak late afternoon skyline. [Blame it on my past visits, which were usually in late autumn, or late winter; and usually with flight arrivals after 5pm.] I was told that they had snow in Maryland a day or two before we arrived, but everything has been pretty since we landed. Then, Reisterstown started to get warmer and sunnier. The skies started to be bluer and brighter, and every day the trees and flowers just burst into colors. The first glorious flowers that I noticed were the yellow forsythia. Then, some red bud trees, which were red one day, and then blooming pink two days later. The most dramatic were the cherry blossoms! First they were just dark branches; then, the white and pink blooms that light up the tree for seven or ten days. Then, the flowers are blown away, and the green leaves start to grow. It was so pretty to observe those changes right before my eyes.
Did you go to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC?
You bet, I did. Washington DC is about 45 minutes away from our home. Since the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin by the Jefferson Monument are very famous, I decided to check that one off my bucket list. I drove halfway, then we took the trains the rest of the way. All the while, I was thinking, “How insane is this?” It’s like commuting to Antique from Dumangas just to get a glimpse of the Rafflesia. Well, I am one of those romantics who would do that.
Don’t you miss Los Angeles?
Frankly, no. I lived in L.A. seven years, and I have had my fill of that hustling and bustling city scene. We watched a movie almost every week in L.A. Either that, or we attended the theatre. I haven’t been to the cinemas or the theatre for over a month now, and I’m still happy and okay. I’ve actually started gardening [well, sort of], which of course, was impossible to do in downtown L.A. where I lived.
What’s your main entertainment nowadays?
Cable TV, I guess. Haha! But my retirement has more to do with it than anything. I had cable TV in L.A., but because my hospital work just drained the energy off of me, I didn’t really watch much television. These days, I can actually be more patient with commercial breaks. In addition, I have started reading books from my library again. You wouldn’t believe the number of books that I have in my personal library, and the range of my collection. Just reading the titles on the shelves make me a very learned man already.
And you picked up poetry again?
There is so much that I wanted to share about my first month in Maryland, and the spring magic is just so inspiring so I decided to write poetry again. But, you see, now that I am retired from Nursing, my life is bigger than just Peter Solis Nery, so I tied this up with my Foundation’s project. I’m not only writing poetry, I’m also giving an online poetry workshop at the same time, and it’s all in Hiligaynon. So yeah, this project of “The Hiligaynon Poet in Maryland” is a good record of my move to the east coast after my seven-year stint in California. Yes, there is life after Los Angeles! For a taste of my poetry project and workshop, visit the Facebook page of The Peter Solis Nery Foundation.