Sunday, July 29, 2012
I spent the first year of my time in Manila resisting. I resisted the traffic, having a driver, the check out process, the stomach illnesses, and the polluted air. I was exhausted by the quest for groceries, atttempts to go out to dinner, and my wish to practice yoga in a studio. I was so mired in the difficulties that I could not apprecitate the postive aspects of life in Manila. When we returned from my OB MED evac to Florida with our eight week old baby, I mellowed. I wasn't going anywhere anyway, so the traffic didn't bother me as much. I fully appreciated having domestic employees to help with housework and allow me personal time. Tony the driver also became our dog walker, all around errand doer, and furniture-putter-togetherer, and I accepted that it really was nicer to chill in the backseat instead of battle with 20 million other people for space on Roxas, EDSA, and Buendia. I discovered that I could have clean, organic produce and other groceries delivered, and decided that if I wanted imported cheese I was going have to live with it being just a little bit, well, moldy. And now that I'm back in DC, I can't believe it, but I'm MISSING Manila. No, not the moldy cheese and the pollution and the Dengue fever, but I came to really like my life there, and I miss it. I imagine that as soon as I settle in to DC, we'll be off to Albania, and the process starts again. I'll be in Tirana reminiscing about the time I paid $15 for a beer. So what is consistent in life in the FS? Not your stuff: Delta might misplace it or it will arrive covered in mildew. Perhaps the most consistent aspect of a mobile life as a US Diplomat is the community. Having only been back for a month, we've already reunited with several friends from A-100, and many of our closest Manila friends, and everyone is the same. People have babies, live in exotic places, and change jobs, and they are still the core group of awesome people that make life in the FS something to miss.