So this is it. We’re officially moving out of Subic.
It’s not a shocker – we’ve always known that this day would come. My husband’s job is termed after all. So once the new President takes over, it’s only a matter of time before we’re due to go.
This move came in sooner than expected though. His boss technically still has a year to go.
But a couple of weeks ago, my husband got a job offer from a private firm. And not only is the offer competitive, Moe decided that after a little less than a decade in government, it might be a good idea (for my sanity and his spiritual well-being) to go back to the more stable and less erratic life of a private citizen.
Around a few days ago, he personally told his boss that he was resigning.
(Side note: I just wanted to give RVG, Moe’s boss, much props. He acted like a mentor until the end. His first concern was not the pending work that was going to be left behind, nor was he selfishly upset about being left without a chief of staff during the crucial moments of transition. Instead, he selflessly gave Moe advise on his new job and focused on affirming his work in the agency. The integrity and the graciousness of his entire family was one of the reasons why I reluctantly allowed myself to be dragged to Subic to begin with. And why, despite all the emotional upheavals and financial sacrifices, there are no regrets.)
So in a span of two short weeks, the life that I’ve known for 3 years is coming to an end.
How do I feel about this? I’m actually having mixed emotions.
ON MY LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH SUBIC: HATE
My move to Subic was a topic of several lengthy entries in my first blog. To put it succinctly: I was not a happy camper. I was leaving behind family and friends after all.
Plus, for a Manila girl like me, Subic was in the middle of nowhere: We’re going to have monkeys in our backyard! They’ll break into the house. They’ll eat our food. I can’t deal. (Ofcourse none of that ever happened. We occasionally had monkeys around, but they instinctively knew they would have better luck finding food in our trash cans than in our pantry. Very clever those monkeys.)
After moving in to Moe’s house, my worst fears were realized. We were gonna live like heathens. He had nothing in his house. No functional refrigerator, no seats. Just a funky old bed with a funkier mattress and a dining set on its last leg (literally). I was miserable and in over my head.
In my mind, not only did I have to deal with wild animals but I now had to turn some grungy man-hole into liveable space. I was not equipped with the proper life skills to undertake this endeavor..
It took a while and gallons of Domex, but we managed to make the house more comfortable. Not only that, I also managed to learn how to make proper sustenance without having to rely on microwaveable meals.
After that, things started to look up.
It wasn’t long though before I fell in love with Subic and the lifestyle.
Moving here, I suddenly realised how much time and effort we actually spent in Manila navigating through traffic.
Here, Moe can leave at 9 am, come home for lunch, go to the office, and then be back home at 5:30 to 6 pm. We can get anywhere around the base at predictable times. The grocery store was around 7 minutes away from where we lived. The mall, 15 minutes; the beach, 30 minutes (yes, that’s right. Beach. Wtf, right?)
Just to share a funny anecdote: Recently, the water from the dispenser ran out in the middle of the day. Since Manang and I are both weaklings, we couldn’t replace the bottle with a new one by ourselves.
So in the middle of his board meeting, I texted Moe about our predicament and melodramatically stated, “I’m sooo parched. Must. Conserve. Energy.” (With matching emoticons).
I wasn’t expecting him to do anything about it ofcourse. I even told Manang that there was a bit water left in the pitcher if she wanted some. And if that runs out, she can always walk to the conveniences store, which was 15 minutes away by foot. (See, I have life skills.)
But within 30 minutes of that text, Moe was back home to replace the water. Apparently the board meeting was on lunch break, and he had enough time to grab a quick bite in the meeting, come home to help us with our menial errand, and then come back to his office to prepare for the board meeting’s second leg.
Pretty neat, right?
As an added bonus, we also started making friends in Subic. We were first introduced by Moe’s bestfriends, Vince and Jo, to another couple in Subic (Hi Sam and Ledh). They introduced us to some of their friends. And those friends introduced us to some other people. And before we knew it, we had some semblance of a social life.
To top things off, because of this no traffic situation, it would be easy for us to get together at just a moment’s notice.
My girl friends, for instance live mostly in the Binictican area. The distance between that and our house in Kalayaan is probably the same distance between, let’s say, Ortigas to Makati. But they can still easily fetch me in the afternoon for a mani-pedi and I would be back in time to make dinner.
Dude, I lived in Taytay and had QC/Makati friends for most of my life. So just meeting people who were willing to pick me up from the house without making a production out of it already gave me warm and fuzzies.
With all of this in place, what’s there not to love, right?
AND WE’RE BACK TO HATE
Starting mid-last year however, I started getting restless. As I’ve said a few times; last year, we went through major upheavals.
And because of this, I started to question what I was doing with my life. I used to have goals and dreams and all those adult stuff. And I pretty much shelved everything to move here.
I loved being housewife- but my stint as one seemed more like a sabbatical than a life goal, honestly.
I decided that it was time for me to start going back to work. And since I was on a roll with this soul-searching thing anyway, I decided, wtf, might as well go all in and start a spankin’ new career as a writer.
So I proceeded to devise a game plan. The problem was, the same things I loved about Subic- such as the vacatione-y vibe and its remoteness from Manila- were also the same things that suddenly became so limiting.
I couldn’t network or attend workshops that I felt I needed because we were 2 hours ( and an expensive SCTEX ride) away from all the writing opportunities.
I was also starting to feel stangely isolated. My friends here have been great. BUT they have only known me for a year or so after all – they’re not used to my neurotic, sometimes anti-social personality. They try to play it cool, but I think my reclusive tendencies weird them out. It was getting a little tiring explaining that; no, my constitution doesn’t need a lot of fresh air; and yes, I’m perfectly fine staying cooped up at home for days.
I remember one particular incident, Moe made plans with some of our friends without consulting me first.
I was not feeling particularly peppy and wanted to stay in. He was pretty insistent though and kept on badgering me. I suddenly had a mini melt-down and screamed at him, “AYOKO NANG MAG-ENGLISH!!!”
(It sounds funny now, but the struggle is real. It is much harder to speak in English when you’re conscious of the fact that you can’t naturally revert to Filipino at any point in the conversation).
If I’m being honest though, I think it was less about Subic and more about my dynamics with Moe.
After everything that we went through, I felt resentful that had to keep on adjusting and putting my life on hold to give way to his ever-demanding career.
It was a pattern that I was sadly, all too familiar with. And frankly, I was reaching my threshold. Living in Subic suddenly became some sort of a symbol in this tug-of-war that we were playing. I wanted him to prove to me that he could be supportive of my plans too. And doing that entailed looking for a new job in Manila so we can both have careers.
So with so much emotional baggage, you would think I’m raring to go right? Wrong. My emotions, as always, are exasperatingly complex…
POST TO BE CONTINUED…