My fever went away after 3 days. My cough is still lingering after almost 2 weeks (it only comes once in a while and no longer makes me want to gag). And my drippy nose is still trying to win the prize for Most Likely to be Confused for a Faucet. But this headache? It’s the worst.
I used to get migraines. Painful, white-hot, searing, blinding, debilitating migraines that made my whole head feel like it was a bass drum. They’d last for an hour or so, and were generally aided by all the weed I used to smoke. These days, I get the same kind of crazy-ass migraines, but only on the left side of my head, right above my eye. And the worst part? No Mary Jane to help me through the yuck.
I’ve only ever gone to one doctor about these headaches, and I’m thinking I should find a trusted MD on this side of the globe ASAP. There have been too many instances of strange to ignore, and before they get out of hand, I’d like to be certain that I’m not being checked up by some quack who also gets paid good money to use a toilet-cleaner-looking brush on womens’ girly parts. What? Have I not told you that story yet?
So you know that big fight Rob and I had? The one that we’ve had over and over and over again, but using different circumstances to describe the same problem? Yeah, that one. It’s pretty much a projection of all of the fears that I have about relationships aka all of the phobias my folks’ whack-ass marriage have implanted in my head. And after we sorted through all of the stuff that makes me a horrible partner all of my issues, we reached this funny conclusion:
We’re getting married.
Hold off on the congratulations and all that good stuff because it’s not even Facebook-official yet. It’s just, ya know, something that we’ve decided. Like where to have Sunday brunch and which school to send Riley to for pre-K. Sure, it’s a considerably bigger decision, since I’ve been afraid of the M word for as long as I’ve been able to pronounce it. But for the most part? It’s just another fact, and I’m not in a position to blow it up into a bigger deal.
The thing is, I’d like to be in a position to blow it up into a bigger deal. As in: I’d like to talk about my gorgeous and lavish wedding and all of the engagement and bachelor/bachelorette craziness and the guest list and food and how cute Riley’s going to look in a mini tuxedo. I’d like to talk about how much fun the honeymoon’s going to be and how we’re definitely going to have another baby within the next two years. I’d like to talk about the bigger, better space we’re buying for our growing family, and the chicken coop that I’m putting in the backyard and how much fun our three dogs and three cats are going to have chasing those damn chickens.
But the only part of all that that’s true is the bit about the animals. Everything else? Pipe dreams, my friend.
At this point, we’re having a blast in the Philippines, connecting with our roots, learning about our heritage and culture in a way that’s simply impossible without living here, and enjoying the heck out of the crappy economy and the fact that I get paid in dollars. We’re kind of in a strange in-between, a stopover before Real Life begins.
And as much as I appreciate everything this stay is, I also have to acknowledge that it’s another story Rob and I will pull out and laugh about when we’re living the life that we’ve got planned.
But this? It’s not the life we’ve got planned. It’s just a detour, an awesome aside that makes life more interesting.
It’s a lot like the growing pains of other couples who are starting out: only, instead of laughing about the roach-infested $1200 studio apartment on top of the crack den, Rob and I get to reminisce about the orange-violet-indigo sunsets and the Hepatitis B-infected street food of the Philippines.
And this is posing kind of a problem. Because, yes, living here is a blessing for a million and one reasons. It’s revamped my writing style and voice and given me at least a dozen novels worth of material. It’s given me the opportunity to bond with my extended family and acknowledge sides of me that have been dormant. It’s given my fledgling family the healthy and amazing start we deserve. But it’s temporary, and that temporariness is getting to me and Rob. We’re craving the real deal of New York City streets and hustle and bustle. We’re anticipating all the hectic chaos of having multiple kids and buying a house in The City That Never Sleeps. We’re thinking about the cost of a wedding with at least 200 guests (because, c’mon now, my baby shower had damn near a hundred guests).
And that leap? From quaint, family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere of the Philippines, to the demands of the NYC economy and culture? It’s staring us in the face and getting us a little excited. And scared. And ready.
So we’ve been tossing around the idea of Rob moving back sooner than expected. Maybe as soon as 6 months from now. And earning his degree in the States. And generally doing an overhaul of his stocks and bonds, and figuring out what’s best to do about his investments.
And we’re reconnecting with people who have big leads on uber-well-paying (though ethically-questionable) jobs, as well as jobs of the less seedy variety.
And we’re setting aside money for this life that’s supposed to start in three years: the one that we just wouldn’t be able to afford if we stuck to the current plan.
And as much as this all excites me, it scares me, too. Because I could do quaint. I could do relaxed. I could do comfortable and simple. But then, while living that comfortable and simple existence, I’d probably work myself into an ambitious frenzy trying for a life that I’m terrified is too far out of my reach.
This way? All of our options are still at our fingertips. And we have the comfort of the Philippines to boot.