… where I have been these past few months, I have simply been spending time here in Manila. The past five months have really been an emotional rollercoaster for me, and at the risk of being over-dramatic there is really no better way of explaining it other than the fact that I got really depressed.
So I guess I do not need to tell you what happened to Libya, and if you have been following my blog, I think my last update was around April when I retold the story of how we got out. But leaving wasn’t as easy for me, because I had to leave behind the most important thing, or person rather which was JG. He had to stay behind because his work demanded it of him, and I was ordered to leave for my safety. Actually I vehemently wanted to stay, damn the bombs and the violence, I would really rather face all that than having to go through the last five months of worrying for his safety and well-being. I even opted on staying in Djerba where I could be as close as possible to him. I stayed there for almost 40 days, hoping for the best, of either things quiet down that I could come back to JG, or if it didn’t he’d come home with me. But he was ordered to stay. And stay he did.
Up until the last day, when I was boarding my plane home, the feeling of resentment for the career my husband chose, and the irritation of how this could be happening to us planted its seed in me that I really did not want to do anything that had to do with any of it- which is basically why I stopped blogging.
I spent the first few weeks hiding away in my room watching Korean and Japanese dramas, and spending money on phone cards for long distance calls. The really worst part was a few months ago when the rebels were finally able to penetrate into Tripoli and JG was stuck inside the house for four days unable to get out because it was really unsafe to do so. He did not have internet connection, and getting through by phone got really difficult to do.
The really worst thing about all that was being in a position where you can do nothing but wait and hope that nothing bad was going to happen, the feeling of being so powerless to change anything because you got caught in a situation that you did not ask to be but was so much bigger than you are.
But as cheesy as it sounds, events like that really happen to teach you something, you just have to be able to recognize it. What I did learn most of all is that really, sometimes you just got to let go. That as disabling as it feels, there are some things you just have to wait out and hope for.
Eventually I did get out of the room and thought about what I could do while I waited, of course the worry and the longing was constantly there, but I thought that this probably is a good opportunity to do things I have always wanted to do – also mostly to distract me.
For one thing I did get the chance to spend time with my family, and some good friends I haven’t seen since I left. Such moments reminded me of the person I was before I got married, and how great having company you really enjoy feels like.
I also rediscovered Manila, two years ago I really could not wait to get out of here. To get away from the congestion, the dirt, the chaos, and most importantly the Filipino trademark of everyone being in your business. But while I waited, I made several trips to Quiapo and walked around by myself eating the most unsanitarily(sic) prepared street food and buying everything from fake lamps to “cheap” DVD’s. What I realized was how much I missed being in a place where you understand people, being able to make a turn and not be afraid of getting lost, comfortably being able to act w/o worrying of offending somebody because you did something wrong. For some weird reason my walks made me understand what JG was always calling the method to the madness that is Manila. As for Pinoy nosiness, one time I unconsciously found myself stopping to watch a very public marital squabble, reminding me that the very thing that I hate is within me after all as well.
I also took the time to learn some new things, first academically enrolling for a master’s degree. On a more social and (perhaps) practical level, I also bought my first car (well technically its JG’s money, but hey conjugal property right?) and learned how to drive. I did this out of frustration of not being able to get anywhere in Libya due to our lack of skills in maneuvering a vehicle, and promised myself to be prepared next time we get posted, especially if it’s a place where public transportation is a bit difficult to get used to. On a more personal note, I also took found a new joy in swimming. It was probably the one thing that kept me sane throughout all this. I don’t know why, but for some weird reason I found a moment of peace when I’d go to the nearby public pool and swam laps. I guess the workout was a way for me to vent out my sadness, which is great because in the past whenever I’d get mad, or sad, or tensed, or whatever I’d just cry, but now I found that swimming calms me. It is also kind of nice to think that maybe I was a mermaid in my past life (humor me on this one okay?). I got burn marks all over, and I realize that it’s not easy to require a pool very time I need to vent out, but finding out what it does for me really is a great discovery for me.
If you are curious, I guess I do not need to tell you how Libya is now. But like all bad phases we got through okay, well almost. Tomorrow I am flying to Oman where JG was cross posted to a few days ago, I finally get to see him after five agonizing months. So it’s a brand new adventure for JG and I, and if God willing I get there safely, hopefully this is the start of more posts to come.