10 years and counting…

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.

This November, I will be celebrating my 10 years of living here in Dubai. It seems like a long time but it felt like it went by so fast. I’ve seen many changes in this city and in return it has seen me change from being a single woman to a married one and now a mother (of 2!). In some weird way I feel like an adopted daughter of this city feeling great pride about its growth and success like I was a local.  I may just be an expat with no major significance but this city is what my small family calls home, in fact it’s the only home my boys know off and because of this it will always be special and dear to my heart.

So when my friend mymommyology thought that I might be interested to join their #TrailingSpousesStories blog crawl. I was eager to get my blogging juices pumping again that I immediately jumped in on the opportunity and joined in. Our first assignment was to write about our “First Voyage” and it seemed like the perfect timing to look back on the first time I came over 10 years ago. The description said to write about…

What was in your bag? What did you fit in your “suitcases” when you first left your home country to become a Trailing Spouse? A favorite book? An obscure object that reminds you of home? An identity?

I had to check with the blog crawl coordinator, Tala about this because 10 years ago I was not a trailing spouse and NOT at ALL a mother of 2 boys (Hey! I just had to say it because some people tend to reverse this order – no judgement!). She was very accommodating and friendly and welcomed me into their circle. I hope in a small way some people can relate to me as well and maybe pick up some nuggets of wisdom from our humble experiences.

Ten years ago I was definitely not the experienced traveller I am today (naks! akala mo jettsetter – in reality yearly trips home lang and if I’m lucky a side trip to neighbouring ASEAN countries).

Oh Diba? vinatge! haha OK it wasn't this old but wouldn't it be cool if it was?

Oh Diba? vintage! haha OK it wasn’t this old but wouldn’t it be cool if it was?

I borrowed my mother’s old suitcase, the one without the wheels, remember those? I filled this suitcase with mostly work clothes, I knew I was coming to Dubai for work and I didn’t want to spend most of my pocket-money buying new work clothes when I could be buying GOLD! (Kidding!). But because I also knew that I was coming over and was planning to stay for an indefinite period, I wanted to bring with me some items from home that will help me deal with the homesickness.

Anyway, 10 years on and I can only think of two meaningful items that I brought with me.

  1. A photo album my cousin (also an expat, my idol actually – naks!) has given me and I filled it with pictures of my family. You have to understand that 10 years ago although digital photographs were already out there some people (i.e., me) still hang on to printed photos.IMG_0158.JPG
  2. My collection of novenas, my bible, and a rosary. Venturing on my own in a foreign land, dominantly Muslim at that,  my faith was stronger than ever and prayers were my only means to get by. But I am happy to report that in Dubai and in most part of the UAE they are very tolerant and respectful to different religions as long as you respect theirs too – of course! It is their country after all.

These items with a bit of cash saved up helped me survive my first few months here and of course as soon as the ex BF (now husband) came over we were stronger together than apart (Does that make any sense?)

So I guess in the beginning I was not the #trailingspouse in the story but even as GF-BF we decided that being apart was not gonna be an option for us so it didn’t matter who followed who we were going to “trail” each other up to the ends of the earth (naks!)

That is all!

Jenny’s story on MyMommyology
Marc’s story on Fatherland
Tala’s story on Tala Ocampo
Shine’s story also on Tala’s blog
Nix’s story on Driving Spiderman
Glendale’s story on My “Kandy” Crush
Char’s story on Ice Cream Sessions
Tracy’s story on Tala’s blog
Milen’s story on Tala’s blog
Didi’s story on D for Delicious
Cath’s story on D for Delicious