Sayonara, Manila!

purple bagsNearly 12 months of communicating mostly online, patiently waiting for school holidays to come around, and traveling thousands of miles to be together for just a few days, this is what it comes down to.

While the last three weeks have been absolutely stressful, thanks to having to deal with red tape and braving Christmas traffic to get from one point of Metro Manila to another (hello, Pasay to Kyusi in a day!) to run after certifications and official documents, I still count myself absolutely lucky to have the chance to be with The One and to be given the opportunity to work in another country. Things fell into place just when I was about to give up and embrace life-long singledom (nothing wrong there, mind!) or accept the prospect of working in the same city until for the rest of my productive years. And so after feeling like I’ve gone a decade older pleading with all sorts of powers-that-be to give me a piece of paper, sign statements or give me a clean bill of health, I’m flying tonight to be with my love while waiting for the right papers to come along for a pending post thousands of miles away. They say that luck is when preparedness meets opportunity, and I guess this is just as true in my case in spite of many lingering doubts about my own capabilities.

I wish I had the time to have a proper send-off party of sorts with friends or a nice dinner with family, but the last few days have been a blur of rushing projects, completing  presentations, attending meetings, gathering personal documents, and letting go of my most precious belongings. It was not all easy to say “bye” to Voltron, my car of nearly 18 months and my fist big ticket purchase; to scramble for someone to take over my nearly new mattress because I wasn’t in the mood to give it to my landlord who refused to reimburse my two months’ worth of advance rent; to let go of the shoes, books, and clothes that would not fit into the 40-kilo limit the airline imposes on luggage; to end my gym membership which has sustained me through tough times, that instead of tearing my hair like a mad woman, I would attend combat classes that encouraged me to throw imaginary punches at  phantom enemies while burning hundreds of calories in the process.

I have lost count of how many times I packed and repacked the precious few things that I was allowed to bring, but it has been a great exercise in letting go and focusing on what’s ahead. I decided to bring only the clothes I see myself wearing a lot to work, runs, or strolls around the city and elsewhere. I packed my most precious bags and purses (read: mejo mahal), a few accessories, and a couple of books that might look nice on a library that I hope to rebuild in the near future.

And so here I am waiting for the driver whose service my soon ex-boss lent to make sure that I would reach the airport one time, safely, and in style, if I may say so. In this mad Christmas traffic made worse by the Metro Manila Film Fest parade, who knows how long it would take me to arrive at the airport which is not even that far from my now-former apartment.

I hardly had any sleep since last week, but nothing compares to the excitement of starting a new life with the love of my life. I have indeed been lucky.