I’ve been back in the Philippines for about 2 weeks, and still don’t think I’ve fully adjusted to life and things here. Not only is this a lifestyle change, but I’m also re-adapting to 3rd world habits and coming to terms with Mom’s illness. I’m sure it will feel “normal” eventually, but so far it still feels like an awkward vacation.
Here are a few anecdotes of my experience thus far
- It’s been funny retraining myself to constantly think and speak in Tagalog again. I’ve always been fluent, but this time it feels like I’m always stumbling for words.
- Getting used to taking a bath with a bucket of water and “tabo” (scoop) again. I got so used to instant hot showers, it was a little frustrating to wait for for water to be heated. Some days I just gave in and took a minute bath by splashing cold water on myself.
- Fruits galore! So happy to be around so many choices of tropical fruits again. We eat papaya and Guyabano for breakfast; then lansones and rambutan for snack; and mango for dinner.
- Driving here is a guaranteed test of focus and patience. There are no 4 way stops, no specified lanes, and worst of all, no yielding for pedestrians. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to be just as aggressive and less courteous on the road for a safe drive home.
- Since the parents are retired, I sort of feel like I am too. But don’t worry, I’m committed to taking on projects or classes to keep me busy.
- It’s also pretty evident that Mom and Dad need help around the house. With Mom resting most of the time, dad does everything from shopping for food, cooking, cleaning, running medical errands and caring for mom. I admire Dad for hanging on and never complaining through it all.
- It’s been great reconnecting with my childhood best friends. I’m grateful that we can easily catch up and relate after 16 years of a disconnect in between.
Quite a mouthful, huh? Will add more later.
So I’ve spent the last week or so cleaning, packing and sorting out my life. I’ve accumulated so much, and want to hang on to so much that this moving process certainly hasn’t been easy. In between all the mess, I found a note I carried in my purse for months. It’s something I wrote to myself as an encouragement when I felt lonely and confused. Now it comes as a strong reassurance that no matter what happens, it will all be worthwhile.
“Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself all the trepidation and clumsy uneven infatuation that you would with a stranger. Try only to be kinder, softer and remember all the things within you which are worth loving. Listen to the voice at the back of your head which tells you, as much out of sadness as anger ‘You are ugly, you are boring, you are stupid.’ Give to the fleeting moment of attention it craves, then remind it “even if that were true, I’d still be worth loving. No matter what happens, whether people drift away or as life challenges you, never forget that you would always be worth loving.”
I leave San Francisco, my home for the past 8 years, tomorrow and found this just in perfect timing.
Nostalgia’s already sinking in. Although, I’ve had my share of challenges here it’s so hard to leave a place that has motivated and refreshed my life in so many ways.
Kudos to you, San Francisco. My heart is forever yours.
Someone once told me “If you’ve enjoyed my company 1/100th as much as I enjoyed yours, I think I did pretty well.” At first I thought it to be a rather exaggerated comment from an acquaintance I barely knew, but in retrospect, I really am grateful for the sincerity and gratitude it stems from. Sadly (and probably ironically) it was mentioned by a coworker I’ve lost touch with, but still someone I am grateful to have known and spent time with.
As time comes closer for me to move, and as time with close friends runs limited I’ve been thinking a lot about human connections, our multitude of responsibilities with each other and the nuances of the roles we play. It’s easy to forget how much of an impact we have on each other. Whether we interact as coworkers, as acquaintances, as friends, as family, it is important to remind ourselves that we matter more than we realize. Although there are always risks, heart aches, anxiety and changes through life it is always refreshing to remind ourselves (and each other) that we are blessed with people to love and sustain us through it all. After all, that is what genuinely keeps us alive.
The war you feel within – that restlessness, the undending uncertainty – is not to be dismissed, avoided, hated. That internal conflict is not dark, it is a beaming light trying to focus you, the rolling thunderous call of courage, the rays of greatness seeking to explode beyond your skin to touch once more the Spirit of Possibility. (Brendon Burchard)
Cheers to new beginnings! Welcome to my new blog on my everyday inspirations and adventures. I’m about to begin a big leap of faith – quitting my job for family and travel – and this quote seemed very apt to describe the restlessness and change stirring within me. It’s sure to be a process of learning and living (as life always is), but I am not leaving room for doubt or fear. Just hope, trust and satisfaction.