Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fitting 2 years in 30 kgs

I’ve always been a relatively light packer.  But the challenge of fitting 2 years in 30 kgs got me stumped. I never thought that packing would present me such an existential dilemma.  All of a sudden the choices I make with what I should fill my baggage space and weight matter so dearly.  What makes it worse is that these decisions are made at a time when I am at a crossroads – of how do I really define myself?  Case in point: am I a working woman or a homemaker?  The choice of clothes definitely comes into play.  Do I bring work stuff or more the laid back ones?  Choice of shoes is also highly correlated: more flats or high heeled ones?  How about accessories – my mother’s beads (I would call my mom a therapeutic jewelry designer – as in it’s her creative outlet and one of the things in her pre-retirement life that keeps her sane) would need some weight allocation.

Looking On To The Future
Aside from the fashionable things in life I would also need to think about what I should do with the “free” time I am now gifted.  I have a couple of HR / OD books that I have not finished.  Yet I also need to bring cookbooks, DVDs, office supplies (I’m Laking National eh!), traveling mugs and jugs and kitchen accessories (as in some heavy duty can opener my husband asked me to bring!).  I’ve even crossed out my hubby’s list of spices, chocolates and truffle oil from the shopping list.  Of course I would also need my running gear (I’m going to strike it up in the streets of Colombo!) and yoga stuff (not to mention my yoga mat).  Medicines and toiletries also come into play.  The tablets are fine and easy to handle.  But the shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, liquid soaps, etc. also weigh a lot!  What if Pureology or Kiehl’s are not available in Colombo?  Mind you, I’m just a low maintenance kind of girl!  (My friend Ward would disagree – but dude, believe me, I am!)  

And my art works!  My framed paintings definitely weigh much and not to mention are difficult to handle.  I would love to bring a (Ninang) Migs Villanueva to adorn our flat’s barren walls.  And my humble Ugu Bigyan pottery collection (well, it’s just a motley crew of cups and bowls).  My Starbucks City Mugs have definitely taken a backseat – I comfort myself with the fact that I will be collecting more from new places (a plea to Starbucks, please set up shop in Colombo! I don’t know how I could last long without you.).

Finding Contentment With The Right Baggage
With that one question – who am I or rather who would I like to be – brings up all these (seemingly) mini and unrelated decisions!  What should I buy in Colombo?  What should I take from Manila?  I really don’t want to spend unless utterly necessary.  Yet, will my thriftiness result in something more costly – say, over baggage?  Is it cheaper to ship than buy?  Or is it even a question of money?  Is it, at the end of the day, really a question of what are you holding on to?  What are you willing to let go of?  How much space will you leave for the adventure ahead?  What items of home will keep you anchored?  What things are holding you down? 

Needless to say you can’t bring everything.  My bestfriend even said she couldn’t fit 2 years in a 4 x 4 container van!  It is true what my good friend Eric Santillan once texted me:  “…In life, some things just got to give.  Decisions will always mean some kind of dying to self.”  Indeed it is, but with this “some kind of dying to self” you are given a new life.  And here I am, standing at the cusp – taking with me some of home, diligently staying within 30 kgs, making my way through my new life without too much baggage.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Month Apart

Corregidor Trip with Hubby Day Before He Left
One of the most difficult things along this expatriation journey is being apart.  Yes, even if you have decided that you will stick together, for one reason or another there will be someone who will go ahead and the other follows.  Albeit the arrangement is temporary, missing my husband is such a pain.  I am an independent woman mind you but I say it with no shame that the only man who makes my being alone lonely is my hubby.  I am not the same without him.

The 1.5 months that we are on long-distance is one helluva time for me.  The “terribly missing hubby” is one but coupled with the thought that I will be missing the people of home – friends and family who have been there every step of the way is another.  The feeling that I can’t wait to get off work and do my “move” stuff because somehow it brings me closer to hubby also reigns.  But the feeling that for the first time after entering the labor force I will not be working and earning also looms. I am these two opposing emotions.

With Winna & Nikki (the balikbayan)
So how do I cope? I deal with my business here as best as I could: work turnovers, home spring cleaning, updating my government and bank related files and doing the doctor sweep (the trip to the Ob-Gyne was encouraging – I am fit to conceive! But challenging – I have to be on my way to baby mamahood around my 30th as chances get slimmer from that point forward).  I turn to family and friends: enjoying time with 2 friends from abroad, family bonding with a cousin visiting from the States, meeting up with former workmates and life-long friends and taking the trip down south to hang-out with my grandmother.  I plan out what to do when I get to my destination: making our new pad a home is project #1, enrolling in a language class (I’m learning their native Sinhalese baby!), job hunting and planning our weekend trips (it’s holiday every full moon in Sri Lanka – wild!).  And making a point to see and talk to hubby everyday – virtually.  Thanks to Skype we make sure we keep the connection alive.  Plus, no more lonely nights at a fraction of the price!  While a surprise tangible gift from hubby does not hurt one bit!     

A Surprise From Hubby For Our First Month
I guess, more importantly treading this dreaded long-distance relationship path is making it a journey to self-discovery.  I started this blog, I’m brewing up a few research topics (nerd!), enjoying alone time, enjoying down time amidst everything I listed above and trying out things I’ve never done before.  Case in point watching a movie alone.  Just last Saturday, I made the trip to watch none other than a movie about long-distance relationships.  One for its theme but really because I’m a Drew Barrymore fan!  The experience was liberating and interesting.  I mean it’s kind of hard to laugh out loud when you’re alone and a little bit weird to be seated between two couples (thank God they were behaving!).  But I realized one thing.  I am not alone and I will never be as long as hubby and I both shall live.  It’s the first time I felt this way – in a way that maybe only married people can (because I’ve been alone when I was single and it sure darn didn’t feel this way). Because we are married.  I guess marriage really changes you and what I love about it most is that it brings a psychical companionship that transcends space and time.  Like no other man-made relationship can. 

My husband left for Colombo exactly one month today.  And in this month, we’ve never been so apart yet so together.
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