Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with the Housewives #2: The Academic Wife

Ayubowan! (A Sinhalese greeting) I now bring you my second interview this time with my cousin-in-law, Jen.  I will call her the Academic Wife (AW) as she embraced this so-called housewife life in support of her husband’s academic aspirations.  Jen, Donny (my husband’s cousin) and a then baby in the womb (Sammie pooh!) went to the US in pursuit of Donny’s MBA.  It is amazing how you could get to know better a person online.  Since Jen and her family have been in the US since 2008 and only been back for a few vacations here and there we would just “see” each other on Facebook – communicating mostly via comments on each other’s posts.  She has been a comforting presence and offering me words of wisdom here and there.  She has been kind enough to grant me this “interview” so here goes her (or our) story:

Hot Mama Jen with Sammie Pooh!
Number of Children: 2 going on 3 (the eldest of which is her hubby!)
Housewife Category: Somewhat – still doing “work” back home (she has her own marketing company back in the Philippines).

Editor’s Note: “Work” back home… what a great idea!  Oh, I don’t have my own company back home… Haaay!

LLVL: How was the transition like for you shifting from your prior occupation to being a housewife?  

AW: It wasn't too hard.  I was pregnant when I moved so I took the time to rest and study up on the baby.  

Editor’s Note: I once told a friend (who was a mother of 2 boys) that I wish I was already pregnant so I could surely “do something” when I get to Colombo.  She just looked at me and half-mockingly said: “Oh, so you want to do something eh!?”  See?  See?  Pwede! (Can!)

LLVL: What was difficult? 

AW:  The most difficult part was accepting that I wasn't going to earn as much as I used to, and really being "dependent" on my husband for funds (or using my own savings to do things I wanted to do).

Editor’s Note:  Aye! Aye! Even as a kid, I prided myself in “saving” up for what I wanted (well somewhat) rather than just “asking” my parents for moolah.  And now, I am in a position where my life is totally dependent on someone and he is not even your “parent.”  It was a weird thing really.  And a major issue for me.  But after 2 weeks, I think I’m getting the hang of it ;-)  Except for those times when I just want to hang out in Barefoot ( , sip an expensive cup of coffee and look around the shop… and eye a very, very nice kaftan and a lamp worth Php6,000…  Emotion # 2: GUILTY!

LLVL: What do you like best in being a housewife?  

AW: I love the independence and the autonomy.  That you can create your own schedule, plan what's going to happen to your home and your life (lives) and that you have time for yourself and time to just relax and catch up on leisurely things you want to do.  Here I love how everything works - that there's a dishwasher and all the cleaning tools...

And it's interesting to get to know where you're living a bit more.  A new culture, a new language, etc.  You get to enjoy it more than he would because he's in the office all the time, and you have all this time to research and learn.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes I wish I was in a place where you have all the cleaning tools.  After cleaning the house for the first time, I thought I went out for a 5k run.  It was great working out and doing something productive at the same time.  But sometimes I feel like I’ve been washing the dishes the whole day!  And frustrating how the washing machine’s limited to just “Spin.”  But I relish in the fact that I can outsource the task cheaply – for those we need to wash & iron, we bring it to a laundromat for just Php500/week!  Not bad!!! 

Learning about the country (well at least the city) and their language are my sources of consolation nowadays.  Since we’re having furnitures done I get to go to the outskirts and see interesting views.  Whereas hubby, although he still goes to the outskirts everyday (office is 45-mins away in Bigayama) it’s the same thing (except when he goes on field work and out of town meetings).  But as he commented on my last post, he knows I could kick his arse in Sinhala!  Puluan! (I can!)

LLVL:  What are the challenges?  

AW:  You in a new country, like me -- it's about putting yourself out there and making friends.  It's much easier to just hole up and wait for hubby and then your life revolves around his, but it puts a lot of pressure on him, plus it gets a little depressing for you.

Editor’s Note:  I know, right?  But how do I exactly put myself out there and make friends?  Well, I have my Sinhala class.  And hopefully I get to continue this yoga gig with the soshall ladies.  But making friends take time – something that I realized just now.  Because I’ve been in just one place forever and all my friends generally are brought about by the structures that I find myself in (like school and work) that I don’t exactly have right now.  For someone who is actually very friendly, it is a task!

LLVL:  What things you do that help you enjoy being a housewife?  

AW: I have my exercise time, pilates.  Of course, Sam and the things we do.

LLVL:  Any other tips to enjoy being a housewife?  

AW:  I guess you just shouldn't fight it and just go with it.  Don't think of chores as chores but as opportunities for doing things for yourself and for learning.

Editor’s Note: Going with the flow has not always been my strength but being where I am now, I totally have no choice!  And after 2 weeks, it’s actually quite nice.

LLVL:  Do you have plans of shifting to not being a housewife?

AW: I ask myself that all the time.  I honestly don't know.  I miss being the productive professional that made my own money, but at the same time, now with Sam and baby #2 on the way, I can't imagine leaving them in the care of someone else 8 hours a day.  It's amazing being able to see everything (including the not-so-good days).

Editor’s Note: Aww Jen, you just made me want to have babies now! Haha!

LLVL:  Any other words of wisdom?

AW: Find a hobby you'll love and won't let go of that's just for you.  And make the most out of the time you're there – don’t be afraid to get lost?  You learn so much by just exploring and immersing yourself in where you are.  Don't hold back! =)

Editor’s Note:  I guess that’s just it: DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET LOST.  I’ve been lost many number of times but I always get to see more, learn more and I always find my way home.

So there you are, two ladies who married into this family.  A family that seem to have happy feet and a knack for finding their footing in many different countries in the world!

Till our next conversation at Interview with the Housewives – where the real housewives talk!

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