Lessons Learned (Some Re-learned) on this Trip Abroad:
1. Traveling with a three-year-old is easier than traveling with a one- or two-year-old. Sage was a little darling; dazzled everyone with her vocabulary, singing, dancing, and sense of humor; and generally did the best job possible of making the whole journey as non-harrowing as possible for her parents. It really isn't her fault she was born to people more accustomed to nurturing paper children than a flesh-and-blood one; still, we have sworn not to travel abroad again until she is able to read, bathe, and eat on her own--and possibly smoke as well, haha! Oh, and the 37-year-old kid behaved himself pretty well, too.
2. I adore my wonderful mother. But not if I have to live with her for more than two weeks. Lemme put it this way: two grown women, one kitchen = not a good equation. I bet Sage will feel the same way in the future, which will just about serve me right.
3. I can live without yaya, cell phone, or Internet connection. But again, not for more than two weeks or so. Laptop mine, how I love thee!
4. Getting a diamond ring for Christmas really helps when dealing with the concurrent needs of daughter, husband, mother, and stepfather. All I have to do is look at my hand and the world seems a little sparklier. The experience is highly recommended.
5. It takes five or six visits over the course of two weeks before the Alfars have their fill of Barnes and Noble bookstore. And even then, really, only due to cash and gift card limitations. It only took me two visits to be content at Sephora, but we're going to have to buy a new bookcase to accommodate all the new head candy. Even Sage is running out of shelf space.
6. The phrase "happy homemaker" is oxymoronic. Especially on Christmas Day, when the routine goes something like this: wake up, make Christmas meal, wash up just in time to start preparing next meal. Rinse and repeat twice for lunch and dinner, trying to make time for opening presents and making oneself vaguely respectable-looking for the inevitable photo session. Gah. Did I mention I missed my yaya?
7. My new dream in life (having acquired aforementioned delightful diamond from likewise delightful husband) is to be able to take a hot bubble bath whenever I damn well feel like it. If you don't understand, you either (a) have a bathtub of your own and have become blase about the orgiastic decadence of it, (b) have just never done it properly, or (c) both of the above.
8. Americans suffer from obesity because everyone serves you just too damn much food. I think I have gained about as much weight as the sum total of our balikbayan boxes. Okay, that's an exaggeration; but if I intend to be seen in a swimsuit anywhere come summer, carbs and I, regrettably, must once again part ways. After I gorge on the chips and chocolates we brought home, of course.
9. It is very clever to seal one's packages only lightly in case one has to redistribute items due to weight limitations. It is not so clever to forget that one has done so, and therefore submit said packages for loading, thus leading to around 14 hours of stress and worry over the state of one's new possessions. We tried to put it out of our heads during the flight, but now and then panic would strike: What about Vin's birthday present? What about the DVDs? What about my Rosebud salve? Most of all, dear Lord above, what about the books?! Fortunately, God heard us and all our luggage arrived in Manila safe and sound. (Maybe it's because I actually went to mass on New Year's Day for the first time in... what, five years?)
10. All the good food, hot bubble baths, and sinful shopping in the world do not hold a candle to being home. Where your friends are just a non-roaming text message away. Where you can sleep in your own bed, decide on your own schedule, and sit around smoking and vegging out at your computer in your bra and panties. For as long as your husband leaves you to it. Which--not having to worry about your parents suddenly knocking on the door--is probably the best "thank-God-we're-home" pleasure of them all.
Man, it's good to be back.
*Take a gander at the freshly-updated sideblog to check out all my new loot! (I'll post entries on the books as I plow my way through 'em.)