So, what’s new?
As I mentioned in my last post, a lot has been happening and changing in my life these past 24 months or so, and it’s time we got caught up. I am going to share some fairly personal things and bare my story to you with the intent of recognizing and respecting those who are part of it and honoring our Travelphile community of readers and travelers. You, too, are a part of my life. So, I hope any comments generated will take this spirit of intent into consideration.
Two years ago, Rick and I mutually decided to end our romantic relationship. It was an excruciating, agonizing decision in many ways, but we knew it was the right one. The tole that our jobs and lifestyles were taking on our partnership and togetherness was a heavy burden to constantly bear. We split up to preserve the love we had for one another and prevent it from deteriorating into nothingness. The choice recognized the value our relationship, our time together, and the happiness we had created.
We even had a “Break-Up Party.” About 100 friends and family members joined us in celebrating love, friendship, memories, and wishes for a hopeful future. It was one of the best parties we ever had at our house (and we’ve had some amazing parties). We emphasized that there was no picking sides and that our connections to our mutual loved ones, colleagues, and community would remain intact. We underscored that even though our relationship was evolving into a new form, we would still continue being each other’s dear friend, sounding board, and champion. And we have indeed maintained that connection both personally and professionally, as I stay on as a tour guide, guidebook researcher, and travel class teacher for his company.
I returned from my adopted home of Edmonds, WA to my home town of San Diego, CA. Being back amongst my lifelong best friends and my family was a huge comfort and blessing. There’s something about simply being in the presence of those who have known you the longest and can understand you without even hearing or uttering a word that brings a stillness and tranquility when all else feels like mountainous waves endlessly catapulting you in every direction. It also provided me an opportunity to be there for my parents more frequently than I had been able to when I was living 1000 miles away.
My dad has been rather ill for the past 5 or 6 years. My mom, whom I consider a living saint, provides him with constant care and assistance—not out of duty or obligation, but out of the truest embodiment of unconditional love I have ever witnessed. For a long time, her Filipino pride dictated that she do all that work essentially by herself. Thankfully now, she has the additional support of her sister, a regular caregiver, a generous neighbor, and a care team comprised of a physical therapist and a nurse. And when I’m not working, I’m able to spend so much more quality time with them and with my auntie. They are nourishment for my soul, and I know how fortunate I am to have them in my life and so nearby.
The other major change in my life began with a barbecue. A bunch of my friends from my band and color guard coaching days got together, and I reconnected with someone I hadn’t hung out with in ages.
Turns out that we now lived two blocks away from each other. We started meeting up, going for walks, getting coffee at Starbucks, exercising together, and running errands. The more time we spent together, the more time we wanted to spend together. Lunches turned into dinners, shy glances became deep gazes. We realized we had fallen for one another and finally admitted it. Love blossomed from a friendship that had spanned nearly 28 years, and my life would be forever changed.
Last fall, Mike asked me to be his wife. On March 25th, we got our wedding license. On April 4th, we were supposed to be wed. But COVID-19 has put a damper on those plans. Now, as we ride out the coronavirus situation from the comfort of our new home, we find solace in staying virtually connected to our family and friends across the US and in Europe, we continue to unpack our boxes as we nest in our beautiful abode, we cook fun meals, I play Wordscapes while he plays Bejeweled, we discuss (but don’t stress about) work and income, we binge-watch Criminal Minds on Netflix, and we think fondly of the epic day when we can finally celebrate our wedded union with our family and friends by our side—healthy, happy, and without the hindrance of a 6-ft social distance.
New normals have been a theme for me these past two years, and I’m constantly learning to adapt. It gives me the opportunity to explore new facets of life, to interact with people in new and renewed ways, and to reprioritize what matters. This is all part of the grand journey—road closures, forks in the road, new paths, and all. It’s exciting. It’s intimidating. It’s challenging. It’s wonderful. There’s so much to process and reflect upon, and there’s really so much that lies ahead personally and professionally. Thank you for letting me share this part of my life with you.
I hope you stay with me as I share stories of my recent travels. And I hope you’ll all welcome Mike into our Travelphile community. Take care and journey well!