Alone Time

It’s been a very uneventful couple of months for me. Plus I seem to have developed case of long-term laziness, I don’t know why. I have written several drafts for new posts, but after I immediately think that no one’s going to care about what I write so why bother. There are times when JG himself doesn’t bother, which I can understand since I tell him anyway so no sense in reading something he already knows.

An example of such events that seem blog-entry-worthy to me, but I eventually thought isn’t such a big deal, was when JG left me all by myself in Libya while he went home to the Philippines for work reasons. This would be the first time I would be left all alone thousands of miles away from home; a big challenge because in the Philippines, even the most independent of persons is not completely far away from anyone. Everyone is but a jeepney ride away, and even for those whose immediate family is in the province or isn’t nearby, there is bound to be a relative, close or distant living in your vicinity. So you are never actually alone.

Okay technically, the people from the Embassy were all very nice and thoughtful to offer company and assistance should I need it. Filipinos are like that as well, we tend to take care of each other, and being left alone was also a nice opportunity for me to prove that trait to be true.  Nevertheless, I did not want to impose, despite knowing that their offer was very genuine and offered out of their deepest concerns, I did not want to put anyone in any sort of inconvenience on my behalf. Although I must say that the knowing that they are all a phone call away, gave a lot of comfort in case God forbid something happened.

For the record, JG asked if I wanted to come along. And I did wanted to go, if for anything else, see my Mom again ( I miss her more than anyone). But I convinced myself that there are several reasons why I couldn’t and shouldn’t go. One, I did not want to leave work that long and two, I knew that two weeks of home wouldn’t be enough time and I really don’t want to feel the sadness I felt the first time left seven months ago all over again. Not to mention the fact that that it wouldn’t be very practical to spend a lot of money for tickets to the Philippines when I am planning to go home next year anyway.

The toughest part was sleeping alone. As mentioned, I have never really experience being by myself. I came from a big family, so I never had a room to myself. I lived away from home for a couple of months a little while before graduating from college, but I also had a night shift job so sleeping was done in the afternoon (after classes and before work)  when most of the neighborhood was awake and the chances of intruders were unlikely. I went to live back home after that chapter in my life, and a couple more years later got married. The ironic part, I realized as I found myself unable to sleep after JG left for home, is that the years of living around people all the time has trained me to be able to sleep under any circumstances except when everything is peaceful, and there is no one who can possibly bother me. I have gotten so used to not being alone that the sound of nothing but the gentle buzz of the air condition, made me think of scary scenarios (from someone breaking in to ghosts in the house) which frightened me and kept me up.

That problem was solved with tiring myself with endless chores around the house and leaving the TV on all night.

Nevertheless, the idea of actually being left alone seemed a little exciting at the same time as well. Since I never really had much of it in my entire life, I wondered what it would be like to have complete and absolute privacy. And I found small pleasures in the simple things, like not having have to wash too many plates or clothes, not having have to share the mirror in the morning, and being able to watch whatever chick flick is on without the scowls of my husband automatically followed by his grunt of a request to change the channel.

I even planned a day to myself where in I could go anywhere I wanted to without hurrying to get home and finally being able to visit places JG often seemed too lazy to accompany me to.  It was okay, except I didn’t have much fun as I thought I would. I have been meaning to go to this bookshop which apparently sells English books. There aren’t a lot of it here in Tripoli, and it was nice to hear about one finally opening. To get there I found a number in the internet, wherein a nice man was happy to give directions to my friend who would drive me there. As it turned out I called an altogether different store far away from the one I wanted to go to.  The store did sell English books but didn’t have much of a selection and just to my luck was undergoing some shelf renovations so most books were either stacked somewhere or are still in a box. I was also looking forward to having lunch to this restaurant JG was telling me about, by the sea in Hai Andulus, which sold pancakes and hot dogs. After the lost time in the bookstore, I went there hoping to order a nice hot dog sandwich and quietly read overlooking the shore. When I got there the place was packed with people, the sandwich was small and bland, and the shore was walled out by a construction taking place beside the restaurant. The initial plane was to spend at least two hours  in the restaurant reading enough time for me to go and shop around Gargaresh after the local’s afternoon prayer wherein most shops are closed. But since I finished early, there weren’t much places to go to since most of them were indeed closed. So I just decided to go home.

By this time, I was already starting to miss JG, a lot more than I could’ve admitted when he left. Particularly around the time, when I realized that I did not say one word for two whole days over the weekend. Most particularly, when I came home to our house flooded because one of the pipes in the bathroom burst. Fortunately the only casualty was an old mattress on the floor, and my limbs which were sore for days after my efforts to bucket out the water in the house.

Few days after that, I eventually found some sort of rhythm and got a little used to being by myself.  I felt a sense of pride that I got through in one piece, and learning some things about myself like I now know that I am after all capable of keeping my mouth shut for a period of time. I was even a little sad that my time alone was about to end, but was much more glad to see JG again. I would’ve written about the experience sooner but I promised JG I wouldn’t blab about being alone so much, for safety reasons.  Plus as I said earlier, I think this might not be a big deal all in all.

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6 thoughts on “Alone Time

  1. Bless your heart!

    I totally HATE it when my husband leaves on a trip.

    Yes, one of the hardest parts is sleeping by myself. Torment. I never sleep well at all when he’s not home.

    And I’m so sorry to hear about the flooded floor. In our world, all of the awful things that are going to happen ALWAYS happen when my husband is home!

    1. It is a challenge for the wives when the husband leaves, that is something I now know. But like I said, there are some perks. The sleeping thing I think is a natural effect since you get really used to having someone there.
      Thanks for the concern, I now have a certain disdain for buckets of water and an attachment to our house floor as we have shared that ordeal together. Although it would really have been better if I had JG there, I would actually prefer having him around when the awful things happen, at least to have someone to complain to. Thanks for reading…

  2. >>I have written several drafts for new posts, but after I immediately think that no one’s going to care about what I write so why bother.<<

    Not true! I really enjoy your posts. As a potential EFM, I like to get the perspective of current EFMs as well as learn about the places people are posted.

    I also admire your courage. The first year of marriage is hard enough without also completely uprooting yourself from your home country – and also living with your mother in law.

    You should be proud of yourself for figuring out how to cope by yourself. Some people never get comfortable with it and that can sometimes lead to problem (falling in with wrong friends, etc.)

    1. Thanks for the uplift, I guess sometimes there are days when you really think, “Why bother?”. It’s nice to know someone like you takes time to read my ramblings. Will you be living abroad in the future too?

      Yes, being married is probably one of the most exciting but at the same time challenging aspects of my life right now. I can’t say I really have figured out being newly married and living abroad yet, but I try to take it one careful step at a time. Thanks again!

  3. It’s Friday, and that means that the Fifth Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    http://bit.ly/avMY9E

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)

    Thanks!

  4. I wanted to apologize to you and tell you that I’m sorry I’ve been accidentally lumping you in with US foreign service blogs. I sincerely hope this hasn’t been a problem for you! I have never meant to cause anyone trouble.

    I’ve since created a whole new blog category on my sidebars- for non-US foreign service blogs like yours – and yours was the first one I added!

    I apologize for mistaking your representative country. My family is new to this and I wasn’t experienced enough to see that you were a non-US blogging family. Thank you for being gracious with me, even through my mistakes.

    Blessings to your family as you serve overseas!

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