Monday, May 25, 2009

I Agree with Lizzie

I'm really scared about the trip now. I got it into my head last night that if I made a master list of all the stuff we'd need to take with us (the important documents we'll need to get the visa, and the application materials for Lizzie's school), I'd have something of a handle on it and that clenched fist feeling in my stomach would unclench for a bit.

I've saved all the emails with the lists of things we'll need on them in a special folder. But wouldn't you know it? There's a "significant problem" on the server at school that holds the email program--so email's been down since Saturday. Now it's Monday and I feel like a floundering woman in deep sea water, cut off from those lists, unable to get control of her life.

This panic is ridiculous. I know that. But knowing and feeling are two different things.

I could try to reconstruct the lists from memory (I've done that, anyway) but the problem is that I don't trust my memory. All this trip preparation, this anxiety, has fuddled me up. I made dinner on Saturday. In the process, I opened a can. Twenty minutes later, I needed to open another but couldn't find the opener. I looked in every single drawer and cupboard, cursing myself for the lapse in attention. I called Dave in on the case, a pair of fresh eyes. Finally, I opened the drawer under the telephone, the one where we throw the checkbook and ledger, pens, bits of paper, receipts. And there it was, of course--the last possible place it could have been.

I feel like one of those painfully pathetic women wandering the streets, wringing their hands, going "uh uh uh" as they roll their eyes skyward, expecting it to fall on them momentarily.

In the meantime, we keep having parties with our friends, eating and drinking together, taking scads of pictures to commemorate the occasions, reassuring ourselves that this is not good-bye, we have plenty of time together, and anyway, it's not like we're not going to see each other again soon for another Sunday night dinner, or at church, or walking down the hallways at school. All this anxiety and hilarity--we're riding a pendulum, speeding from fear to exhilaration and back again in minutes.

This, too, shall pass. In a week, we'll be in Manila, breathing a different kind of air, faced with a new set of challenges, joys, and puzzlements. For all I know, we won't have regular or reliable access to the internet, and email outages will have to be handled with smiling aplomb, the sort of "go with the flow" shoulder shrugs we needed to perfect, years and years ago, when we lived in Mexico and the power went out regularly, right in the middle of our favorite soap opera.


  1. I'll bet you could recite those lists in your sleep. Thanks for posting this pic (and the rest on the fb). Paul loves it & tells his friends he said hi. Top-notch brunch on Sun. I'll think of chez El Mac everytime I eat a waffle.

    I miss you already, but it's temporary 'til we hang out again, so stay strong, babe. What do our friends Night Ranger say? "You're motoring!"

  2. I have been mesmerized by expat blogs lately. A sampling of expats in the Philippines: (that second one has a ton of great resources!)