It’s always great to hear from family, especially as we ride out a global crisis on the other side of the planet and haven’t seen any of them in … years?
Mom Diane, Tedly, and I are missing family during the pandemic. Not from social distancing – but because we are a half a day ahead and literally half a world away.
This is a somewhat personal post.
I really wish Karen was here with me to explore places – like we explored the “Rocky Road” we snuck to on our bicycles as kids.
Or to go listen to live music – like we did in our 20s. Or to help each other (in person) through life challenges like my alcoholism and bad hair dye jobs in our 30s. Or laugh our butts off like we did in my early 40s.
My sis is adventurous. She hiked Half Dome with her husband! She and I ran around Zion National Park in Utah like it was our playground — pictured at the top of this post in the summer of 2012.
She’s always up for adventures — especially if they are ‘close’ to home. In this way, she is the opposite of me.
Today her adventures are different from my predilections. Karen has several four-legged and beaked children, and she enjoys ‘nesting’.
And me in contrast: no home base, hardly any worldly possessions. No soul depends on me, except my spouse.
To be honest, today I’m feeling a little bit angry and a lotta bit sad that I cannot easily see my sis, and also my mom and dad, and other family.
Yes, there is video chat, and we do that. And we text, and we ‘connect’ on social media. It’s just not the same as real-time time. I’m not a big phone talker.
Tedly and I canceled our plan for me to return stateside this September, October, and November to go ‘home’. I was thinking about surprising my sister, and just showing up at her doorstep! (She’s pulled that trick on my parents some years ago, LOL!)
I was also going to see my parents – who are doing well, but getting older. The last time we all were together: Christmastime in 2017.
Now, there are no plans for my return to the USA in 2020. The expense, the potential for getting ‘stuck’ somewhere we don’t want to be on quarantine — are major deterrents to the idea of a home stay. Thanks a lot, ‘Rona.
Also, there’s a whisper of a question: how easy would it be to get back out here in the world?
As it is now, Americans are unwelcome in many countries. At least we are already in the Philippines, and we can stay up to three years by current rules, if we absolutely had to.
Our ‘new normal’ routines in Malay, Aklan, Philippines
Is three years enough to get back to ‘normal’? I don’t think anything will ever return to ‘normal’ again, really.
And so, as they say, enjoy today, because life is now. We live that. We have a ‘new normal’; new routines; a new chapter in life.
Mom Diane has her church in nearby Malay, and local friends for hikes and visits. These are sweet ladies, full of local knowledge and helpful about local history, geography, food, and more.
Tedly spends time with his fellow beer-drinking friends, most of whom have Filipina wives and families whom he’s also gotten to know.
He also takes the lead and does the “heavy lifting” on all of the Ati projects (we all help with that to a certain degree).
I have friends in Boracay and Kalibo I visit regularly, I spend time with my friend Yolly (the owner of the HangOut Beach Resort where we rent an apartment), and I play games with local kids.
Our new normal lives almost always intersect at the dinner table, when Tedly, his mom and I share with each other what we’ve been up to that day.
We know our faraway families are busy with their own lives, just as we are with ours. Special props to our many family members with children schooled at home!
Mom Diane clearly enjoys hearing from family back home. She sometimes reads email aloud sent by her children, Tedly’s siblings.
Tedly certainly enjoys hearing from his brothers and sisters, and it was a joy for both of us when his sister Tina and her daughter Elizabeth visited Barcelona at the same time we were there in early 2018.
Hopefully one day, when we are older, Karen and I will be able to sit down with a homemade chocolate cake and laugh as we each share tales about the adventures we’ve had during the time spent apart.