I was about to sit down with my tail between my legs, and write a sheepish apology for having been away from the blog for so long.
But, after 4.5 years in the Netherlands, the land of confident directness and zero apologies, this exceedingly polite, too-eager-to-please Filipina has learned to distinguish between the apologies that are necessary, and those that aren’t.
So, as the hashtag goes, I’m #sorrynotsorry…
… that I’ve been traveling for work. In the last two months, work has taken me to two of my absolute, most favorite cities in Europe: Berlin…
As someone who tends to joke I’m just a WAHM who sits at the computer in my pajamas all day, it’s a thrill to realize that my work as a freelance writer and producer can actually be… glamorous. Backing up footage in a hotel room with floor-to-ceiling views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Ocean can do wonders for one’s perspective.
I’m sorry, not sorry… that I’ve been working a lot. Last year I had a Tim Gunn “make it work” moment, when I realized that I need to acquire more local clients in Amsterdam, and develop a network of contacts here as strong as the ones I left behind in Manila and Singapore. Because this is home now.
Well, I’m doing just that. Work has begun to trickle in from local businesses and entrepreneurs, some of whom are doing design-led, inspiring work that excites me (even if the pay doesn’t always).
These days, work takes up most of my writing time and brain. With what’s left over, I’m sorry, not sorry… that I’ve sought (and found) new things to love about Amsterdam.
I joined the 11th Worldwide InstaMeet hosted by the local Instagram community in another effort to bring my online life offline. I met like-minded explorers, discovered postcard-perfect spots in my own city, and became more addicted to Instagram than ever. Hmm, time to revive Instagramsterdam?
I’m sorry, not sorry… that I’ve blown off work to go on weekday dates with my husband. Marlon has had a few weekdays off, and after dropping off Tala at the gastouder, we date like giddy teenagers. Shedding the mom-and-dad routine for a day, we get high on the bliss of afternoon movie matinees. We talk about our pipe dreams. We try “that place” we’ve been wanting to try (there’s always a long list).
Then toss back a glass or two of wine before cycling back to reality, back to the daughter who runs squealing into our arms, and back to the household we have to keep running.
I’m sorry, not sorry… that I’ve been cementing our life with traditions and routines. Friday lattes with my mommy friends at the new cafe with the awesome play corner. Afternoons at the playground and Saturday mornings at the farmer’s market. The food trucks of Rollende Keukens and the orange fever of King’s Day.
All of that takes time, effort, and energy—all of which goes into solidifying one’s sense of home in a foreign land. And I can’t do any of that from behind the computer!
Finally, and it should go without saying, that the one thing I’ll never be sorry for… is that I’ve simply been away being Tala’s mom.
Reading her books upon books, and singing her Filipino folk songs. Choosing her outfits in the morning (a power I won’t be holding for long), and searching for wooden legs for her new desk on Etsy. Wiping her hands of chalk after she’s gone wild drawing “polka dots” on her bedroom wall, and brushing her hair despite her toddlerrific efforts to resist.
Trying to act normal and ignore her throughout Hulk-sized fits of rage (quickest way to end it), researching her school options in our neighborhood, and worrying about why she suddenly seems to hate the babies at her daycare. Marveling at how quickly she falls asleep after a good long cuddle from me, at how much she needs Mama’s touch to feel calm, safe and loved. And so much more.
This is my life lately, a life that has enticed me away from the computer. I have nothing to apologize for, and everything to celebrate. What are you #sorrynotsorry for?