Motherhood Around The World
I never imagined myself mothering abroad. It wasn't that I didn't want to, it had just never crossed my mind as a possibility. Now, mothering abroad is all I know. Our family unit has only ever known the Philippines. This is where we have grown a home, together.
Stopping for a snack on the walk home from big brother's school. 'Gulong Sulong' essentially means, 'rolling cart.'
I have fallen in love with living in the Philippines but more specifically, mothering in the Philippines. The experience of our family living in a culture other than our own is rich and one that we are better for. We are fortunate to be surrounded by warm weather, happy smiles and an opportunity to stretch ourselves each day with new and unique living experiences.
Baby Oz 6 weeks old with an Ifugao woman in the Northern province of Banaue.
As we have come to love The Philippines the lines have begun to blur between host country and home country. For me, this is our host country but for my two sons who were born here (my eldest was born in The US and lived there for a over a year) and have never lived elsewhere, it is their home country. Our home culture is predominantly American but thankfully we get to include Filipino culture through food, language, school and everything else outside of the home. Our deep-seated roots here have caused me to love this country to a depth I was unaware possible. I love the Philippines and I want everyone to love it too!
I started writing and sharing on social media so friends and family back home could have a peek into our life in abroad. Over the last two and half years my audience has transformed into something a bit different. My community is not just family and friends back in The States but many Filipinos who live abroad. A Momma Abroad has become a window into the everyday magic I see in this gritty city. I get to share positivity and wonderful things uniquely Filipino.
My intention is to show how endearing the people are, how warm and deep the culture runs and what a beautiful experience it is to grow as a family in the Philippines. I want the world to know how friendly and encouraging Filipinos are, what kakanin is and that the Philippines is so much more than picturesque beaches or extreme poverty, there is a beautiful life that persists between the extremes.
Recently a U.S. based blog, A Cup Of Jo, featured our family on her popular series, Motherhood Around the World. It was an opportunity I have been waiting to present itself for years. I felt tremendous pressure to represent the Philippines in the beautiful light that I see here and also to pay tribute to the realities for many others. It was a difficult balance, to say the least. Nothing is perfect and I learned valuable lessons from this experience. Most importantly, there is a lot of love and a few intense haters. I hope you read the article and walk away feeling uplifted and inspired by the 7,107 islands (although it has recently been updated to 7641!) called the Philippines. *If you don't, please stick around here for future posts. I am planning to release all the essays that did not get chosen for the feature. They are much more in depth and fulfilling. Until then, here's a little taste.
*It was quite difficult to reduce six years of life to a few photos so I have added some of my favorites here.
Baby Wells and his barkada (gang,clique,crew), Ate Chanda and Ate Jek-Jek.
When in the Philippines...let your child open a coconut with a machete.
Children are not limited by language. You don't need to speak the same language to play and make new friends.
Magical Chanda Poppins, our yaya (nanny), teaching Wells about dinner.
Market fulkl of kasoy (cashews) peanuts and suman (sticky rice) in one of my favorite cities, Antipolo Rizal.
I loved having babies in the Philippines.
I loved it mostly because of Doctora Henson, our fantastic OBGYN. I also love how they refer to female professionals as doctora.
Chanda Poppins got her nickname because she is magical just like Mary Poppins. She is our yaya, ate and kapatid. We love her so much.
The whole process of the interview and article contribution was nerve wracking for me. I am not the strongest writer but I also felt an extreme honor and responsibility to represent the Philippines. I almost barfed right before my phone interview! I documented it to remember that small things done with great love can turn into great things done with love!
Phone Interview With Cup Of Jo
this is the face of someone who might barf due to an emotional cocktail consisting of equal parts excitement and anxiety
"I want to show my children that their world is so much bigger than one culture, that we are all connected as global citizens and living abroad is a great way to do that."