Gosh, it's already 2012 and I'm still backlogged to 2011 and 2010! Embarrassing I know, but hardly surprising. All the moving and freelancing took up much of my time, okay, fine, I admit, Facebook and making chica did so too. Anyway, I'll try get in bits and pieces.
Let's start with The Great Move Down, Down South. Well, I don't want to dwell anymore with emotions, as it was tiring then and pointless now. To put it succinctly, death sentence and dreaded illness were the metaphors I used to describe The Great Move Down South. Let this be about the logistics of it all. I have friends who moved from here to the United States and from the United States to Oz. Both had to go without their respective spouses, as they either went ahead or was left behind only to follow on another time. When they related how they had to pack and bring everything (one of whom brought a matress to the United States, seriously, a mattress) with them and the kids, sure, I UNDERSTOOD how difficult it was, but I guess I never really EMPATHIZED. You know the saying "before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes," right? It's like that. You will really never know the pain and struggles someone went through unless you experience it as well. During the packing and the trip, I felt empathy for these friends and gave them a whole new level of respect. Yeah, yeah, I know, this would be about logistics, so here it is. First off, we bought lots, and I do mean lots of packing tape and balikbayan boxes, which are freaking expensive (PHP120-140), by the way!!! I should have just bought cigarette boxes for all the small stuff. No, I didn't buy stuffing or bubble wrap, I just wrapped all breakables with clothes, and I'm happy and proud to say nothing got broken, but our rice cooker got a bit dented. Oh well, still, not bad. Sidenote to that though: It took me months (seriously!) to unbox everything, and we kept on looking for our rechargeable lamp but couldn't find it. We looked for it at our home in Laguna when we went home last August and again in September, and only when I unpacked the last box last December did I find it, all wrapped with clothes that I'll be selling over Ebay, and just in time too for Typhoon Sendong. I digress, I swear I have the attention span of a slug. I figured it would be too expensive to put everything, as in all, on a container van, especially because I was not quite sure how I'd cope moving here and I extracted a promise from TheHusband that if I don't like it here, we're going home to Laguna in 3 months. Seriously, that's how self-centered I am. I. I. I. I. I. I. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Kakahiya. I shipped most of the essentials through 2Go, which do not pick up from the province. Why they did pick up our shipment from Laguna is a totally different and possibly ethically questionable story. Some nonessentials were left at home, and all other crucial things that we needed while in Laguna were left for me to bring myself, and that's where the fun began. By crucial I mean three balikbayan boxes of various things, one huge box for the TV and desktop computer, two huge bags of clothes, Sharkteeth, and Kelly, the dog. I hired an airport taxi driven by a neighbor, who, although charged me fair fees for the transport, hit me up for a tip. I'm not being miserly, no. It's just that he owns the cab, and do you ever tip the owner of a salon? I think not. And I'd much prefer that he gave me the exact fee that he wanted instead of asking for a tip while in the middle of the Paranaque. I find such behavior deplorable. Another thing that galled me is that I repeatedly asked him if our things would fit in the car, which is a sedan, and even asked him a day in advance to go look at our packed things just to be sure, and he said it would fit. And yah, everything eventually did after much rearranging, but he was grumbling all along...haaaayyy, were we not in a hurry and had I known there's another cab in the village, I would have changed cabs even if I would have to unload everything myself. Oh-kay, enough with the bitterness. Now visualize this: three balikbayan boxes, huge box with fragile things, two bags, Sharkteeth, Kelly (in a huge cage), and me + driver + sedan. Can't? Me neither. I still marvel up to now how we were able to fit. We had to take the dog out of the cage and tie the cage on top of the trunk door. The funny, and smelly, thing was, we (Sharkteeth) had to sit together on a tiny space at the back of the car. And I don't mean the whole of the back, just a third of it, if memory serves. Kelly, Sharkteeth, and I, all squished together---I could smell the dog, who by the way, was so tensed he kept on drooling. Muntik na kaming magkapalit-palitan ng mukha. Yung driver lang ang comfortable sa upuan. When we got to the airport, there were porters who helped us move our things. No, help is a gracious word, I paid them to move our things. The airport personnel who x-ray-ed our things thought we just got back from abroad (balikbayan boxes, see) and was hinting on a tip, "Ate, ikaw na bahala sa amin," sabay slightly himas(!!!) sa braso ko. Eeeeewwwww...disgusting! All the while, I was thinking, gagah, wala ka mapapala sa akin. Moving on. Not surprisingly, we had excessive baggage. An airport cop told us we can cut cost on the baggage if we ship it through Cebu Pacific's shipment service in the Domestic Airport, but it's gonna be a flight later and he said with concern (right, yeah, yeah) we might be late for our flight if we bring our baggage there ourself. He then proceeded to tell us that if we trust him, he can arrange it himself, but with a little fee. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the "fee," after all, it's gonna be an effort to haul all those boxes. When we weighed our things and asked him how much, he said that it's 11K. Whoa! Eleven thousand freaking pesos?! Thank you very much, but NO. So I called my FIL, who lives near the airport. We agreed that he'll go to the Domestic Airport himself and check how much it really is to ship the damned boxes and if totally out of budget, he can just ship it through 2Go. You know what? 7K! That's the amount we paid to CebuPac's shipment service through the Domestic Airport. Unbelievable! That's 4K we saved right there. *Napapailing na lang ako pag naaalala ko*
It was generally an uneventful flight, but Sharkteeth kinda panicked because of the air pressure in her ears that couldn't be released by swallowing. I don't know why, but this always happens when we're on our way south but never happens when we're going north. Once we touched-down, she was fine and was feeling silly. Kelly was with us during the flight, albeit in the baggage compartment down. The poor dog must have been so scared, with no beloved humans around, and especially so because he was in a cage. (By the way, checking him in was a breeze. I just had to present his immunization records and he was good to go. Bloody expensive though. His fare was twice mine.) As I was saying, the poor dog was so scared, and when his cage was deplaned, he first saw TheHusband, the first person that he knows, and really, he was brimming with happiness (and relief?). Now, their relationship is tenuous at best---you know, after the Bunny Buns debacle, but at that moment, seeing TheHusband, for Kelly, the most important thing was he was "home." I daresay, even TheHusband was happy to see him. And yes, we are HOME.