50 Days

We’re officially in the “leaving Manila” countdown.  In 50 days, we will hop on a plane with our baby, dog and cat, and say goodbye to this place that has been our home for the last 2 years.  A place we might never come back to.

We arrived as newlyweds with our pets (Lily was still tiny at 5lbs!) and will be leaving with a 3 month old baby…

I have very mixed feelings about leaving.  6 months ago, I couldn’t wait to get back to DC, the fact that my pregnancy hormones were flying high, also meant that my patience for the Filipino-way (“wait a while, ma’am”) was at a minimum. 

Since then, I have made incredible friends through the MADS playgroup, and know a ton of other moms with babies around the same age as Ellie, and it would have been SO much fun seeing them all growing up together!  Plus, since our baby was born in the Philippines, it now holds a special place in my heart as well. 

We still have a lot to do.  I know I want to do some shopping prior to leaving (sorry, Karl…), and I am off to Divisoria for what will likely be the last time next week.  Hope to add another trip to Greenhills soon too!

There is still a lot of sorting to be done (what comes with us?  What goes in the air shipment to DC?  What goes straight to Brazil and we can live without for a whole year?).  We need to sell our car, I need to start going back to the gym if that Marine Corps Marathon goal will become a reality, the pets and baby need their last immunizations (both due in a few weeks), baby still needs to be put on our orders (so she’ll “exist” to the State Department) and once that’s done we can finally book her ticket.

I am going to miss this place, and I am going to miss living in Asia.  I truly hope we come back one day (not necessarily to Manila – I hope we get to live somewhere different, because that’s part of the experience, no?).  I am going to miss exploring new countries and exploring the Philippines beautiful islands.

Now that I have a little over a month to go, I am not ready to leave.  I am so not ready.  And it breaks my heart that Ellie might never get to see the place she was born in.

I’ll be leaving the Philippines in 50 days.  But a little part of my heart will be left behind.

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8 Comments

Filed under Asia, Foreign Service

8 responses to “50 Days

  1. Ali

    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed Manila, I swear keep changing my mind over whether I love it or not!
    I wanted to ask about Divisoria (since you mentioned it). In my research before I got here I read that it was the place to go for fabrics, but whenever I’ve asked anyone about it, Filipino or expat, they say ‘ohhh, no, you probably shouldn’t go there… unless you have someone with you who knows what they’re doing’ – i even got this response from the useless ‘orientation guide’ that my husbands work made us meet, who was supposed to show us anything we wanted! eh. so, I gather that you’re not scared of it… any tips? I’m mainly worried about how to get there and find my way around. we don’t have a driver and I don’t really know anyone here.

    • There’s the divisoria outdoor part that is super cheap and more like a market, easy to get lost, very dirty, definitely need a local and high chances of bring pickpocketed. Then there are the divisoria malls, which is has stall (not stores) inside, but not nearly as crazy, easy to walk through, safe, lots of good deals on bags, shoes, kids clothes and adult clothes (the later only if you fit in the “one size” clothing).

      I haven’t been there for fabric, I heard that mall burned down a few months ago, not sure where things moved to. I *think* the fabric area is also in a mall, but like everything there, there must also be an outdoor part.

      If you want divisoria “light” like I do, to to mall 168 or 999 (they are next to each other, I forgot which one you see first on the street, I like that first one better — I think it’s 168). That would be a good intro before venturing out to the other stuff. Plus, much better deal than greenhills (but no handicrafts or pearls).

  2. I spent three months in the Philippines after college – and a part of my heart will forever be there too. There’s just something about that place that stays with you. Have some pancit for me!

  3. I’m with you… although I think I’m a little more ready to leave than maybe you are, but I think Manila is probably a little more exciting than Cotonou. 🙂 I also don’t have a firm departure date yet so nothing specific to countdown to, but should be leaving right around when you do. Enjoy your final weeks and your time stateside!

    • I can’t imagine if we didn’t have a firm departure date how much more stressful it would be, since we had to book a place for home leave, arrange our packout, book our tickets (for us AND baby — and we’re still waiting until she shows up on our orders, but at least our two seats are saved!). Enjoy your last bit of time in Cotonou too! Where to next? (I can’t keep track!)

      • Yeah, I’m probably not going to get orders until a few weeks before I leave, if that, so it’s gonna be hectic getting everything arranged for the toddler and the dog with such short notice… ugh. Part of the problem is that I don’t actually have an onward yet (tandem issues), but hopefully that’ll be resolved next week!

  4. Al

    Its been two years already? Started following you when Carl just got his assignment to come here.
    It was nice reading your blog about your adventures here and around Asia and of course about your pregnancy 🙂

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