I just might have cried this morning if it had not been for the beautiful blue skies and the warm sunshine beating on my back as I walked Arabella in the stroller around our neighborhood on our way back from the park.
My husband reminded me there would be a transition period when I returned to Manila and that I'd probably get bummed. Well, here I am, bummed. I'm once again reminded of just how many filters we have to put up while living in a third world country. When they're up, it's good. I can cope. Upon returning from R&R those filters have to get rebuilt. It's frustrating and exasperating. I relive the frustrations (fears and guilt) of taking my girls around in polluted air and spraying them with their daily application of bug spray. Similar questions pop up every time I return to Manila after being in the States. Am I protecting them enough? Are they safe here? Is this the kind of home that can nurture my growing children? How many times do I have to ask myself these questions?
The city is coated with a very carefully applied gold plated facade; underneath is all the muck and grim of a poor, corrupt city that is standing still while much of SE Asia is on an upward economic climb.
The summer in Washington is beautiful, full of growing gardens, colorful flowers, squealing children playing in running water; full of life. We've returned to Manila in the middle of rainy season. Manila is gray, rainy, and muggy. The streets are full of smog choking vehicles, horns honking, useless traffic cops, and homeless Filipinos asking for money. It's sad and depressing.
The girls and I spend so much time indoors here. Even during the nice time of year. There just aren't outdoor places to go with children. Even our local playground is run down. The swings are breaking, the bolts are missing, the bridge looks like it may collapse at any minute. This is where I have to take my 15 month old for a morning outing while her big sister is at preschool. I'm already sick of the four walls in our apartment. The dog poop on the side walks and the urine stench on the concrete walls in our neighborhood are getting to me.
I was the girls' sole parent for our entire R&R in the US and I was looking forward to coming home and getting a little down time for myself to regroup so I can charge ahead in our final 10 months living in Manila. The last 10 months I am going to be refreshed from my time home and recharged from some much needed sleep and pampering upon my return.
Not so much. The car broke down, Justin's been working like a dog, and he's leaving for a business trip before we even get a chance to reconnect from being apart for 6 weeks. These are all things out of our control but add to my bummed out mood.
I miss the company of my parents during the day. I miss that added support and vote of confidence my parents so wonderfully provide me.
If it weren't for the sunshine (and the bubbles for Bella) this morning, I think I would have cried.