Missing the Commute

I miss commuting. There I said it, I do. Before we left Manila, I was so thankful that I was finally getting away from all the heavy traffic and congestion that the everyday-commute brings. I hated lining up to get inside a jeepney, I hated being cramped inside the train, I hated sitting beside people who sit sideways (thus occupying tow seats instead of one) while they loudly chew a swad of bubblegum.

But living here in Libya has made me realize that I took for granted the great thing of being familiar of the place. One of the things that JG hates about me is that I always sleep when we’re commuting, something I miss being able to do as well. At home, even if I sleep inside a jeepney or a bus, I know I wouldn’t miss my stop. And even if I did, I know what I would do and where I’d go. But here I can’t just go where I want to; I am thankful don’t get me wrong, nevertheless being at the mercy of others people’s driving skills and schedule is not the same.

I would like to learn to commuting here in Tripoli, but I can only imagine how hard it would be for me since I don’t speak Arabic. Besides, it might just be me, but I always chance upon passing IVECO’s who either have wobbly hind wheels or having machine problems. Maybe one day, when I have at least a bit of grasp of some Arabic words and see less of the broken down IVECOs, I can learn to avail of Libya’s public transportation services. As of now, I am not ready yet.

One might ask, why doesn’t a diplomat’s wife buy her own car? In the future we do plan to, but that still leaves some doubts. I suppose it is common knowledge that one must be an experienced driver when getting behind a wheel here in Libya. And that is someone I am not. As mentioned earlier, I have been a commuter my entire life; and also mentioned earlier, just like a little baby, I often find myself dozing off when in a running vehicle (especially in the morning). On my home, I often think whether I can drive the highways of Tripoli. Yes, yes, I can always learn. In fact, I was becoming confident of that notion and was thinking about getting some lessons; until one day, when I saw a small Suzuki suddenly swerve from left to right, fly off the road to the sidewalk, somersault in the air, and crash top first. I gasped in shock, and I really thought the driver was done for, but I was even more shocked when he got out of the car. The teenage boy who was driving, seemed dazed, but was very much alive.

The unfamiliar streets of Tripoli

The only time I was able to see something like that is when I go see an action flick. Of  course it can happen anywhere, to anyone, but I’m not going to lie, I have noticed that a lot of drivers here seem to not like following proper traffic safety rules. Then again, who am I to say what the proper way to drive is? But even my Libyan friend who drives for me sometimes, always says that in Libya, you have to have ten eyes when driving. He often points out other drivers who turns first before signaling, or the ones that speeds down the highway like a maniac on the lose, and special mention to the accidents we pass by almost everyday.

These, I know are but ramblings of a new girl, in a new place. I apologize in advance if my observations seem rash, or if it seems that I am comparing my home to Libya who obviously have a different way of life.  But I do miss commuting; I miss being able to read a book, or look back at a street in which someone I know lives, or be able to decide to walk on a whim stopping by a favorite store. Perhaps this is homesickness, perhaps this is impatience over being able to be familiar of a place. Maybe I’ll get over it, and one day I’ll get to know Tripoli too – I don’t know. Right now I can’t help it, I just do miss it.

In Manila, it's like this everyday - Oh how I miss it.


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