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Deja Vu, All Over Again?

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Queue Carly Simon:

“Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting.”

Many of you, dear readers, who have completed their trek to the Philippines in search of that “better life,” know the feeling.  Those of you with firm plans for making the same trek are, most likely, experiencing the feeling while you read this.  Those considering whether or not to make this trek will undoubtedly have a few pangs in your future.

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ANTICIPATION

So many things fill the mind while getting ready for that big trip to the Philippines.  Thankfully, sources of information such as LiP will answer most questions that a future Philippine resident may conjure.  But what about that feeling?  How does one cope with it?  How does one control it?

I certainly don’t have the answers, and I’ve yet to find anyone who does.

I’m talking about making those “countdown days” before boarding the silver bird a bit more bearable.  It’s sort of like the weeks before Christmas that some have lived through during childhood.  Concentration on anything not related to “the big day” gets tougher and tougher as that magic day approaches.

For your humble scribe, childhood Christmas times are revisited annually.  As with the Yogi Berra quote that helped put a title on this note, it is, indeed, like deja vu all over again.

THE FREQUENT BALIKBAYAN

Paul Keating

Paul Keating

As many know, my years are split into days in the Philippines and days in the States.  The latter location could be anywhere outside of the Philippines, but for me, family, friends, and a bit of business dictate where those non-Philippines days are spent.

Currently (and unfortunately) I’m enduring the days outside of the Philippines.  While it’s great to see family and friends once again, and to take care of business issues that require my physical presence, that old, familiar feeling of anticipation comes rushing in almost immediately upon stepping onto the tarmac of the local airport.  From there, it builds to its crescendo just minutes before takeoff on the trip back to the land I now consider “home.”

It’s a time of preparation and hope.  It’s also a time for making lists of various “to do’s” and trying to check items off the lists while trying not to forget anything important.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

Funny thing – the pangs of anticipation don’t appear before the trip back to the States.  Then, it’s more of a dread.  I’d rather remain “at home” but, for some things, one has to accept life as it comes.

Another childhood analogy, for the feelings that precede the trip to the States, could be those feelings of late summertime just prior to the start of another school year.  Then, summer vacation felt like it was too short to accomplish everything that was dreamed of during the previous school year, and the unfulfilled dreams would remain just that.

Traveling back to the Philippines, however, renews the “pre-Christmas spirit.”  It’s time to go shopping at Costco or some other large discount store for those hard-to-get items that will fill the Balikbayan Boxes.  It’s also time to check the passports and, if need be, renew them.

Too, it’s time to scour the various travel-related websites, looking for the best bargains in airline tickets.  The itinerary has to be carefully planned so that flight connections can be made without excessive time spent waiting for that next flight.

All in all, it’s just like the built-up to Christmas for me.  Shopping for “gifts,” packaging and sending them off to a distant Christmas tree, and taking care of all of the “trimmings” to insure enjoyment of the season “back home.”

COUNTING DOWN

So much time and so little to do?  No, there’s plenty to do but the time feels to be overly sufficient.  Like a youngster in December, I’m counting down the days until I step aboard that flight for home.

While counting, however, I’ll fill those days with as much activity as I can.  Priority will be assigned to those activities connected with my return home.

You know the feeling.

 

PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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Jay Alexander
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Jay Alexander

Little disappointed Paul! I got a tad excited when I thought Bob had arranged a celebrity to write this. All I saw was Carly Simon’s name!!!

mike
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mike

Your so vain.

Paul
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Paul

You probably thought this article was about??? ????

Paul
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Paul

????

Chris S
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Chris S

I too am currently in the States. We originally were supposed to stay until after Christmas, Jan-Feb timeframe, but we have decided that it’s just too much to take. We are returning back to our home in the Philippines late Aug early Sept time frame now. I can’t wait and I can’t take it here any longer. The level of stress I am experiencing here is astounding, back home in the Philippines my stress level is near nil and my life so much more happy, fun, enjoyable and full filling. Taking the scenic route and stopping in S.Korea for a… Read more »

Paul
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Paul

Hi Chris – You definitely have a bad case of “the feeling”! ? I wholeheartedly agree with your observation of stress and the big difference between locations in and outside of the Philippines.

LeRoy Miller
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LeRoy Miller

Some of the coping skills is a matter perspective. I hear a couple times a day, “Pangga ko, I wish you were here,”. She is not nagging, but reaffirming her desires and reinforcing our commitment.

I put it in the context of my being an OFW. We both count the days and weeks, but it is a familiar context to her.

Paul
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Paul

Hi LeRoy – Keep up the counting; the numbers get smaller and smaller, then it’s Christmas! ?

John Reyes
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John Reyes

Hi Paul – For me, the feeling of sweet anticipation starts many months before the actual date of departure from the moment I sit down to go online to make flight and hotel reservations for the annual trip to the Philippines. In the intervening months, it gradually builds up like Ravel’s Bolero until it reaches its apex the moment the plane takes off, and I feel the powerful thrust of the jet’s engine under my seat reverberating throughout my body. This, finally, is the culmination of the sweet anticipation that started months before. Everything that follows from that point on,… Read more »

Paul
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Paul

Hi John – Oh, but there’s nothing like taking in that first deep breath on the way home from the airport. The aroma of the Philippines is the first thing I enjoy. Of course, aromas may vary depending on where one is, but the aroma of the province is the one for me! ?

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