Thursday, April 17, 2014

My house

This is the third time I’ve started this post, because I walk away without saving. Note to self – Windows Live Writer does not automatically save on the settings I have set.

Anyway…

In keeping with the last two posts, I should say that the next thing about Manila that I’ll miss is “my” house.

It’s been a great house these last almost two years. My boys have grown so much here! We’ve enjoyed having a pool so much. It’s been a great thing for the boys, who enjoy swimming more than I do. On many occasions all four boys will go out and have a good time and they would stay all day if we let them.

We’ve potty trained two boys here! There’s such a relief when you’ve potty trained your children and to have that happen twice in this house means that I’ve connected to it as a place of big accomplishment, and relief (In the interest of honesty I’ll admit that having helpers in the house has been a big part of these events being “easily” successful).

I spent a lot of time holed-up in my bedroom during these two years, as that was my safe and peaceful place to go to, to escape my sometimes overwhelming depression.

I got my tattoo here! My sister and I both did that, and it was pretty cool that the artist came to my house.

That same bedroom is where I finally got my email saying I had a security clearance and could start working after a two year break in employment (which is what was causing the aforementioned depression).

We’ve had two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, (almost) two Easters, eight (almost ten) birthdays, one New Years, in this house. We love holidays in this family, and we’ve enjoyed using this house to celebrate.

There has been lots of relaxation, playing, learning, and growing in this house. It has been our home for almost two years and we love it. We will all miss it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I will miss…

Anyone who knows me here in Manila will be completely surprised when I list the second thing I’m going to miss in Manila.

I’m going to miss driving.

I usually hate driving here. And when I say hate, I mean…absolutely loathe. The driving here is so stressful.

However, there’s a freedom in driving here that doesn’t exist in the States. For instance, if someone is in your way, you just go around. No matter what the situation is. If you can fit around them, you can go around them.

Rules aren’t widely known, loosely enforced, and almost never followed.

I feel like my skills in driving, and parking have increased exponentially since I started driving here.

I don’t know what I’m going to do in the US when the driving is ordered, predictable, and restrained. Or what I’ll do about all the wide lanes and free large parking spots. Probably stress out less and enjoy it more, and save money on parking. I feel like it’s possible that John and I might fight over the keys for the first week or two.

We’re trying to sell our car here. It’s served us well and I’m hoping it will serve someone else in Manila well after we leave.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I’m going to miss…

I’m going to miss a lot about Manila. Sure, I’ve spent a lot of time here acting (and sometimes being) miserable. But there have been a lot of good times here.

I’m going to miss the people here.

I have a feeling this is going to be my number one answer whenever I leave somewhere. Relationships are the most important part of my life. Luckily I get to take the most important ones with me.

Possibly the hardest part of the Foreign Service life (for me at least) is making good friends and then leaving them.

For instance, two months ago, or less, an officer, her husband, and their daughter arrived at Post. We’ve spent a good amount of time with them and I’m so sad that we’re leaving in two months.

One of the benefits of social media is that I can stay connected with them. I’ll be able to watch their daughter grow up, even if I can’t see it in person.

One thing we wanted to do in The Philippines is make relationships with people who were outside of the Embassy community. We accomplished this, during our tour. We’ve met Americans, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Australians, Brits, Scots, and more. The Philippines is a place full of people from all over.

I’m really going to miss the people here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Heartbroken

I finished reading I am Malala yesterday.

I had a difficult time reading it. I would often take a break and read something easier and lighter.

There’s something utterly heartbreaking about reading a book written by a girl who was shot in the face by Taliban at the age of 14.

She was an amazing girl who did what she could to fight for girls’ rights to education. Her father was also a fighter, fighting for basic human rights in his country.

The stories she tells of the decline of conditions in her country are amazing. It made me feel so lucky. It gave me perspective.

When I was 14 I was sad because my parents didn’t have the money for the things I wanted. That was my biggest worry.

Now it seems so ridiculous. I wish I could meet Malala. I would tell her that she’s an amazing person. I would thank her for standing up for girls. I would listen to her speak, with all my attention fully on her powerful words (those who know me know my full attention is rarely applied).

What an amazing person. What a sad story. I feel so bad for the whole country having to go through so many devastating things.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pic-a-nic!!

I’ve been working on a section of the house a week, starting last week, in preparation for our move. I decided that this week I would do toys.

This morning I asked our amazing, wonderful, can’t-live-without-her, helper Lucy to take the kids out of the house so that I could do this arduous task without their interference.

She suggested to them that they eat their breakfast like a picnic. Coen got really excited and was all.

“We’re going to eat a pic-a-nic!!!”

It was super cute.

So now they are happy children who will have no idea that I’m going to be going through their toys and choosing what they have to throw away, sell, or get to keep.

I may never tell them.

Shhh….

Friday, February 28, 2014

My song lately

Because… it’s awesome. I’ve also been visiting the 24 hours of happy website. It’s a 24 hour long video. It’s this song over and over, with pretty cool segments of people dancing and lip-syncing.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I don’t want to go

I’ve been involved in the departure of a close friend. She’s leaving very soon and I’ve been with her during her pack out, shipping her car, mailing things to herself in the States and at the next post, and her final mani/pedi. Soon, we’ll go to her final dinner, and I’ll be going with her to the airport.

Today when I was helping her, I was carrying something to her car, and I almost started crying. Mostly out of sadness that she’s leaving. She’s been a rock in my life the last almost two years (she arrived in Manila a week after us). She’s one of the closest friends I’ve ever had. But also because I just had it hit that we’re going to be going through all of these same things very soon.

The departure date that we’re trying to get is not long from now. It’s with-in sight and it’s scary.

It’s scary because there’s so much to do. It’s scary because I’ll be leaving friends who have become family. It’s scary because I don’t know how the children will handle it. It’s scary because I’m going to be moving to a country that I’ve never visited before, and even though it’s a tropical paradise for many honeymooners from the States, I won’t be living on the beach, now, will I?

The good news (because without the good news, how would we live)?

I will get everything done that I need to do. I will meet amazing people in Kingston. The children will see that we are excited to go to the US and to Kingston and they will be excited because of that. I will learn Kingston and the surrounding areas just like I learned the parts of Manila and San Jose and Falls Church and Dallas when I moved to all of them.

So, even though it’s scary, I know that we’ll be ok. We always are.

There may be some uncertainty, but there always is. It’s always hard, but we get past those times.

We will again this time.