Now I don’t really remember anyone saying that moving to a different country and starting a new life (read: from scratch) was easy. That’s because though it’s fun and exciting, it’s no walk in the park.
It’s been 13 days since we arrived in KL. We have finally moved into our new apartment – a two bedroom, three bathroom unit with its own storage room. It’s huge for just Alvin and I and I feel like it’s empty most of the time. And that’s because it is still quite that – empty. We’re taking it slow when it comes to buying furniture as we want the condo to look exactly the way we’ve been planning without breaking the bank.
So far, we’ve purchased the essentials and we’re predicting my decorating plans will take about 3 months to fully materialise. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that I stick to my deadline and that I am able to have everything running by then as guests ranging from family and friends will be arriving in just a couple of months.
We were told by most of the people from the Embassy that KL is a post where you would definitely be getting lots of visitors due to its proximity to Manila. No complaints there, I say. As most of my friends and our family (even the ones in the Western part of the world) are already making plans to come over and it would be nice to show them around.
Speaking of visitors, the Ambassador recently hosted the son of one of the DFA Undersecretaries who was on a short trip to KL with his friend. We had dinner with them that night and shared lots of great stories over food. I had the pleasure of getting to know the Undersecretary back when I was part of the media, covering the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) back home. The Undersecretary’s son is fun and smart – just like his dad. My husband and I had fun pointing out their similarities as he seemed like the exact (only younger) replica of his father.
As for the rest, Alvin and I have been adjusting quite well to the new environment. It’s a good thing the weather is similar to that of Manila (only less humid) so we didn’t have any problems with it. Though I’ve been able to withstand up to minus 15 in Sweden already, I’m still rather sensitive to the cold. I’m pretty sure my husband is too as he has lived in a tropical country all his life.
The people from the Embassy are all welcoming so I guess that helps a lot with the adjustment. My husband’s colleagues are all friendly and pleasant so it’s always a joy to see them. Last night, we had an ’emergency party’ to celebrate the birthday of Johann.
Johann, along with a team from the embassy just came back from a trip to Sabah where they did a 2-week consular mission. Alvin has promised to take me with him when it’s his turn to go and the Ambassador agreed that I should come as well to see how the Embassy is working on helping the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Filipinos there.
I’m excited to go and see it for myself as Johann’s stories got me really interested to see the plight of the people in Sabah.
Back in Manila, the Ambassador told us that KL is not like any other posting. And he’s right. It’s a complete post with vibrant economic and political relations topped with hundreds of thousands of Filipinos needing consular assistance and other sensitive issues.
So when people found out that my husband volunteered for this posting, people were like: ‘Are you crazy?!’ He was already being offered postings in Milan or San Francisco but he declined (nicely, of course) and picked the challenging, busier neighbour instead because he wants to learn all the aspects of Philippine diplomacy – he wants to see everything at work and learn from his bosses while being able to help our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) in Sabah to become documented. Hearing my husband talk about these things only makes me prouder of him. I’m just so glad I married a good man with so much compassion for others. Though that’s not really obvious most of the time to other people. My husband is the quiet type (but he can be very talkative and opinionated once the ice is broken) with a constant poker-face. Which some say is good for a diplomat but is sometimes confusingly-funny if you’re his wife. Haha!
When we got here, the saying ‘hit the ground running’ became literal. Alvin had to learn a lot of the things happening here in KL fast (and he’s still learning) and I had to get accustomed to being at home a lot and working on making the condo homey. Staying at home was really not my forte back in Manila as being a journalist, I was always on the go. But I’m starting to enjoy the peace, quiet, and the time to read. I also have more time to write about the things I really want to write about but those will get posted maybe a bit later on. 😉
I’ve got three events to go to this week – two with my husband and one on my own. I guess the Israeli Ambassador to Manila’s wife, Mme. Eti, was right when she told me that being a trailing spouse will sometimes mean looking at all your clothes – from your formals all the way to your casuals – and still having a hard time looking for something to wear. I did a bit of shopping before we left but somehow, I can’t decide on what to wear. I’m excited to meet other trailing spouses though and make new friends!