“Welcome to the inaugural run of the #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl hosted by Tala Ocampo and Didi of D for Delicious. This November we talk about our First Voyage as trailing spouses and what we’ve brought with us, rather: what’s in your suitcase?
Please see the end of the post for other #TrailingSpouseStories.”
Met my husband, got married and had our two sons over the course of our over 15-year tenure in the United Arab Emirates. In early 2013, there was a falling out with his then new employment in Dubai. After already having trailed with him from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and back, been through so much all those years, we both decided t’was time to move on. Hence, the move to Sri Lanka, with one setback; I will not be able to join my boys immediately. The day I had to send them off in the airport was the most dreaded day of my entire life. It was sad to have left my family back home in ’99 when I had to leave for the UAE, but nothing has prepared me for the devastating pain this day would cause me; even with the thought that we will see each other soon enough; not even then. To cut this long story shorter, they left for Sri Lanka whilst I had to stay in Abu Dhabi with the company I am working for since earlier, a previous employer whom I’ve left when my husband got a job in Dubai, and was kind enough to hire me back. I did not leave work just then, as a gesture of gratitude for their having my back when I lost my job in Dubai amidst the recession.
I visited my husband and my 2 sons in Sri Lanka for a month-long break during the summer. At this time, I was weighing everything. It’s not much of a question whether or not I can be OK without having to work for a while, because I love being a housewife and am a very much hands-on mom. It is more of could I afford to leave them once again after the break and finish my contract or should I just tender my resignation then over e-mail and finally, stay? Besides, my husband got a good job in Kandy (hillside province of Sri Lanka) and this importantly factored out in my decision to move because it is definitely one of my favorite places in the country. My husband found us a lovely and secured place to live, transferred our sons to an excellent school and made me a promise that we will never go hungry. He had me at living in Kandy and so, I made a decision and I wanted to do it right. Enduring another bout of goodbye kisses, hugs and tears, I went back to Abu Dhabi; but this time, everything is so much clearer. With a few good strokes and finalization, transferring the flat lease, closing off the telephone line connection and saying goodbye to friends and family, I was saying Ma’a salam UAE and saying Ayubowan Sri Lanka.
My luggage was way, way over 30 kilos, which the airline allows me to bring. Since I started packing, I have been focused only on taking as much “pasalubong” as I can for my boys. As long as I was able to pack a couple of my dresses, some shoes, tops, jeans and pair of shorts and undies, that will get me by, I wanted to allot the rest of the space for my kids’ goodies. We have never been raising the children spoiled and always wanting but I am cutting them a little slack. Having been born in the UAE, surrounded with big and small luxuries that are easily obtained while growing up; they have had a great deal to adjust with, moving to a very simple living in Sri Lanka with limited options compared to what they were used to having. So, I bought clothes, toys, food stuff and treats which are not readily available in Sri Lanka. In addition, thank God for digital book readers installed on my phone. Though I am a fan of traditional reading, which is still what I prefer and encourage on my children, I am glad being able to bring hundreds of books without having to add up to my baggages. As a book freak as I am, my shelf contains a varied selection from classic literature to Edith Hamilton’s Mythology (I am very much fascinated with Greek & Roman Mythology) to feel-good Kinsella so I am covered.
Pretty much, I have made the 5-hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Colombo on 17 January 2014, marking level 01 of my very own Kandy Crush. Been here for 10 months now and counting. With a good nudge from Ms. Tala Ocampo’s “Living La Vida Lanka” blog, which I came across whilst in dilemma of identifying myself with Sri Lanka; support of my family, the love for my husband and my 2 sons and ultimately, God’s ever-presence, I have accepted what I am where I am now, happily.