Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the end is near

Our apartment is beginning to give me flash backs of our tiny little 950 sq ft townhouse in Arlington before we moved to the Philippines three years ago. Piles are starting, colorful sticky-notes are tacked on things, and empty diaper boxes are getting filled with winter clothes and baby items that I didn't think I'd have to see for a while longer. Even the suitcases are getting filled with maternity clothes and stuff. Lots and lots of lists are being made.
The movers come to survey the house next Wednesday and then ultimately pack up all our possessions on May 24th! It's exciting and stressful all at the same time. If you would have asked me 6 months ago how I felt about moving back to the States I would have gotten teary eyed and wistful about leaving the Philippines and our apartment we've called home for the past 3 years. I would have told you that I was dreading repatriating back to the US and all the logistics that come with that. I would have told you that I was sad to rip my children away from the only place they've ever called home.

I'm glad that I've had the past 6 months to prepare and mentally get ready to return home. I'm happy to say that I'm ready to say goodbye to Manila. I'm ready to have our next adventure in Africa, but mostly ready to have 6 months in America with our family and friends to familiarize ourselves with American life again as well as introduce our children to the country they come from.

I feel almost as if Manila is pushing us out; getting under my skin and grating on my nerves more and more. The oily layer of pollution I found covering our wedding quilt that hangs on the wall above our bed helped solidify my readiness to leave. That, and Addie's teacher contracting Dengue fever, the mystery bug bites on Bella's butt, and the horrendous smell of dried fish (the apartment unit below us re-fries for EVERY MEAL) that waifs up through the exhaust fan and permeates my home and churns my pregnant belly. These things all have me excited to breath in some fresh American air because if that's what's been collecting on the quilt above my bed, Lord knows what's going in my lungs all night.

I'm ready to stop scanning the kitchen and bathroom floors for cockroaches whenever I enter the room. I'm ready for incandescent light bulbs, flushing my toilet paper down the toilet, and cheap Tampons (although I could argue that I've had more months pregnant in the Philippines than not). I'm ready for courteous drivers and traffic laws that are enforced, blue skies, grassy spaces, and other Americans to chat with while in line at the grocery store.On the other hand, I'm very sad to leave Cora and Garry. They are like family. Yaya has been spoiling the girls a little and I see an extra fervor in her imaginary play with them. She's teary eyed when we mention how close the end is coming. Our two children are not the first kids she's cared for like they were her own and had to say goodbye to. She's debating whether or not to find a family without children next time to spare herself the heartbreak of kissing the child one last time as we head for the other side of the world, possibly never to see them again. She's a Saint for giving herself to families like she does and I honestly think there will be children that will miss out on her love if she chooses not to work with kids again. Right now I am sad to leave these people we love, not the Philippines.
Addie is struggling with the idea that she's saying goodbye to her friends. Many of which are headed to other countries or back to the States themselves. She's very concerned about her toys getting packed up and sent to Africa. She had lots of questions about what will come with us (Lucy? Of course.) and what will stay (that nasty bag of old used wooden kebab skewers I found in the pantry that Cora saved for God knows what reason? Of course not) and how everything will find us again. When I explained that a boat will take our things to our new home in Africa she processed that information and then determined that many of our things could not possibly fit on a boat. A boat the size of our apartment building my darling. A humongous boat! You will not leave anything important behind sweet girl.Pregnancy tends to focus my attention forward (about 40 weeks forward to be exact). It's been good timing to help me not dwell on the past few years and all that we will miss about our home here but instead get excited about the future for our growing family and all the new things we will experience. We cannot wait to welcome a new little one into our family and then promptly initiate him or her properly by forcing the impossible eyes-open infant passport photo right before hopping on a flight around the world! Cause that's the way we roll.


Elyse said...

Well, for as excited as you guys are to get back to the States, we are just as excited for you to get here!!! Joe and I talk about it like it will be Christmas morning! We are very much looking forward to our time with you. Do you know how much ice cream we will have to cram in? Six months is too short of a time!

Melinda Renee said...

Let me know when/if you're in Vancouver, I'll be there just as soon as my tired car will allow! I'll be keeping your family, and your stuff- just for Addie- in my prayers for safe voyages!

Rachel said...

Hooray for the end being near! I'm sure it will be hard to say goodbye to Cora and Gary, but just think about all the wonderful hello's you'll be getting once you are back in the US!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we are able to make back to the mainland to see you guys!