Memoir of a Girl

The stories of my life

Mabuhay Philippines! October 26, 2012

Filed under: Adventures — krisedja @ 11:12 am
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When I announced to my friends and family that I was moving to the Philippines, with the littles, they thought I was absolutely insane. You’re going where? You’re doing what? A family member called my mother and suggested that she was the only one that could talk some sense into me; she had to do something.

Mid-summer of 2009 I was getting ready to take a vacation with my friend from Ohio. We were heading up to Maine for a week with the kids. In the midst of that, my (now ex) husband and I were trying to figure out how I was going to finish my BSN. It was getting to the point in the program where I wasn’t really going to be able to work because of the clinical hours, and with two infants that needed day care, we weren’t going to be able to support the family on his salary.

His two brothers were already in the Philippines; one of them was studying nursing. “It’s too bad you couldn’t just go to the Philippines,” he said to me one night while we were lying in bed. “Where were you with that idea four years ago,” I asked him. It started from there. I confessed to him that I had actually toyed with the idea of sending the girls to stay with his mother, in West Africa, while I finished the last 18 months of school. We talked about it more and more and eventually all the talking evolved into a plan.

Why did I think this was such a great idea you ask? Well….

We estimated it would cost somewhere in the vicinity of $30,000 (tuition only) to finish the BSN here in the US; in the Philippines, we were looking at roughly $100o per semester, or $3000.

We made plans for my mother-in-law to move to the Philippines and take care of the girls while I was in school. This was good for a lot of reasons. If not for this, it was unknown if/when she would be able to meet the girls. Lucy was already two and a half, and The Baby was soon to be 18 months. Not only would they meet her, but living with her, they would actually get to know her. At that time were were paying roughly $800/month for day care, and now day care would not be an issue.

The littles and I would also be living with his brothers and sister, so we would all really get a chance to know each other.

The stories my brother-in-law had from clinical gave me the idea that the hands-on clinical experience was not something I would ever have here. In the Philippines (depending on your school and the hospital/doctor you have duty at) it is not unusual for a student nurse to deliver a baby. Here in the U.S. student nurses stand back and observe, and might be considered lucky if they assist with the immediate newborn care.

The combination of my brothers-in-law already being there, and the cost of living being so low in the Philippines, it would not be much ‘extra’ for the littles and I to stay there, expense wise,

I imagined that the cultural experience would be amazing. The Manchild at that time was twelve years old, and though he dragged his feet most of the way, and complained most of the 18 months that we lived there, I know that someday he will reflect back on those times and be grateful. Even though today I am still reminded of how challenging that time was in my life, I know that it changed me forever, and I believe it was for the better.

Not much of anything worked out the way we had expected it to, and there were daily challenges. Sometimes friends or family will ask me if it was really worth it (the financial aspect) and I am quick to say no, because there were so many extra expenses related to the ‘project’ that we hadn’t anticipated, but when I really think about it, I can’t say with 100% certainty that it wasn’t still less costly than it would have been here. I am still facing daily challenges in waiting for my documents so that I can take the NCLEX, but I have to say that the overall experience was priceless.

 

Kid’s Day Out January 3, 2010

Filed under: Mah Baybays,Perspective,Savoir faire — krisedja @ 8:06 pm
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My friendly neighbor and I decided to make a kid’s day out today; a picnic on the school grounds, special treats and fun running around.

It was a great idea in theory, the only problem is that in reality, by the time we got over there, I was in no mood.  After I returned home late last night from a trip to the mall, I stayed up even later (well past my bed time) Skyping with my mother about her upcoming visit.  To add to the bad day in the making, Lucy was still awake at midnight, and she was up by 8:00 this morning…  she also refused to take a nap this afternoon.  The Baby was rudely awoken from her nap when it was time to leave, and all of these things led to a group of cranksters, which leads me to my point.  Yes, there is a point to all this.

I recently read another blogger’s post on the grayness of motherhood. The main idea of that post mostly centered around the decisions we make with our babies (i.e.- feeding, sleeping, diapering), but she also wrote about how we, as mothers who are human, can tend to get a little defensive when we are discussing out parenting philosophies and choices.

I have been thinking about that blog post over the last few days, specifically related to the topics she discussed, but today something came up that made me think about it in broader terms. Because Lucy was so tired today, she was excessively fresh and lippy, talking back and screaming. I was exhausted myself from being up too late, so part of the problem was that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with that specific problem when it arose. In a sense, I was choosing my battles with her today, but more front and center is my belief that children are allowed to be angry or frustrated, sad, upset, or just plain tired the same way adults are. I think that when you are aware that a behavior is stemming at least partially from a physiological issue (lack of sleep), you are not a bad parent if you let it slide for the moment.

I think that there are some rules that should never be broken, tired children and adults or not, but that sometimes, as a parent, you have to look at the big picture and make a decision as to whether sticking strong to your ‘normal consequences’ for any given behavior will just make the problem worse. Today I found myself defending my ‘lax discipline’, as it may have been described, because someone else thought there was a better way for me to do it. Parenting is not like doing a puzzle, there is not only one way to make a piece fit into the picture. Sometimes it can feel like a day is nothing but battles; on those days especially, you have to sit back and think about whether or not there is a different way to solve this problem, or if you should even bother to classify the given situation as a problem. Some days the answer is yes and some days the answer is no.

We all have different ideas on what good parenting is, we all do things differently. That doesn’t mean that any one specific way is the only right way to do things. If you find yourself challenging someone’s parenting style, just take a minute to remember that certainly there must be some things that you could be doing differently as well…

 

A Million Miles December 19, 2009

Filed under: Adventures,Mabuhay Philippines — krisedja @ 1:24 am
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Have you ever done anything crazy with a pinch of impulsive mixed in?

I sure have.  Sometime over the summer, probably in early to mid-August, we (hubby and I) made a kind of spur of the moment decision. That was, Plan B for the completion of my BSN was developed and put into action.  Here I am now, half way across the world, a foreign student in a new school, away from my hubby, extended family, and friends, welcoming new experiences.

Here I am in the Philippines, making my goal become a reality.  Hopefully in two years (the length of time is still debatable) I will return to the States ready for another new chapter to start.  But for now, I am here learning lots of new things, seeing lots of new things, doing lots of new things, eating lots of new things, and loving lots of new things.  The decision to come here was difficult to make on some levels, but on others, it couldn’t have been any easier.  I’ve been here now for just over two months, and so far it’s been pretty great.

I’ve been trying to keep a handwritten journal of sorts, a record of my adventures, but even with the pen I have been slacking.  Just before I signed in tonight, I thought maybe I should try to start the new year off with a resolution of sorts, to post once a day… but I figured I should be more realistic and aim for at least once a week, both here in the cyberworld, and with paper and ink.  I would really love to look back and have a regular record of our experience, especially for The Manchild and the babies.  I have also been encouraging the Manchild to keep his own journal, because I think it will be amazing to look back in years to come and see the different perspectives we had throughout this time.

So here I leave you for the evening (or wee hours of the morning), before I fall asleep, hoping to be back sooner and more regularly with some adventures to share!