Lonely in Paradise

The chickens are cock-a-doodle dooing.  It must be 5:30 am.  I get up and look out the window.  Ate Mareli is standing outside, trying to shush the rooster in the tree.  She sees me in the window and a sorry look comes over her face.  I look over at Nadia, jealous that she is always able to sleep through these things.  Ate Mareli picks up a rock and throws it at the chicken and he lets out one last squawk as he flies away.  We share a laugh.  Oh well, I’m up, but at least she tried.

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The limited internet and time difference from home are really getting to me.  I haven’t really gotten a chance to talk to with my husband or see my kids.  I really miss them today.  I can’t even rely on getting timely text messages and iPhone messages require internet, which I don’t have here either.  My only communication to the outside world is the ability to post pics on facebook with the periodic signal I get.  I long to talk to my loved ones and let them know I am still thinking of them.

Dr. Jobin has plans for us, just like he does everyday.  I think our whole 2.5 week stay is already action packed 24 hours a day.  Today, we will go snorkeling in a cove located in another part of island, have lunch and go to another resort.  Dr. Jobin is obsessed with taking phenomenal photos, which I’m sure you have seen on my facebook.  He plans for us to get more pictures sure to make anyone jealous back home.

Before we leave, an emergency alert sounds on my phone.  Its not terribly helpful to me since it is written in Tagalog.  I guess there is a tropical depression in the area and that can cause a storm.  A tropical depression is not going to stop our plans for the day, but it is keeping Alec stranded.  He left a day ago to visit and dive at the island of Romblon.  Now the coast guard is not allowing anyone on the water because of the storm.  We may not be able to see him until Monday.

Dr. Jobin, Nadia, Erika (my host sister) and I ride out to the snorkeling place in Looc.  They are already booked for the day, despite the threat of the storm.  We decide to go to a local cove instead, bringing fresh pastries breads to snack on.  We find the road is closed due to construction and have to trek uphill on foot.  I came here for beaching, not hiking.  We finally arrive and I go into the water to try out my new gopro camera.  I take a few pictures but I can’t tell how they turned out.  I will have to see when I get home.

As we sit in the sand, I look at the pictures of my family left on my phone.  When I first arrived in Manila, I removed a lot of their pics because I did not have room to take new pictures.  Now I regret that decision.  I love the scenery of the Philippines, but right now I just want to see my family.  I look through old text messages, looking for videos and pictures embedded there.  Is Zoe still walking wide legged?  I put on my sunglasses so no one can see my eyes filling with tears as watch the videos and pictures I have.  What new words does Bop Bop have?  I look out at the kids playing around me and wish I could see my girls playing here too.

We leave the area and get ready to travel to another resort where Dr. Jobin claims has the best opportunity for pictures.  Nadia has been craving pizza for two days so we pick some up to take with us.  After traveling back towards Alcantara and 4 km off the road, we arrive at Aglicay, a beach front resort.  The sand here is fine and white and the water is all colors of turquoise.  In usual fashion, Dr. Jobin starts the photo shoot in the sand, on the water, in the bright sunshine.  I participate and hop in the water to ride the waves.  The activities keep my mind busy.  Soon Dr. Jobin has enough satisfactory pictures to start posting on social media and I go back to looking on my phone.  It would be nice to come back here with Adrian and the girls when they get older.  I find a video of the girls and I at the beach in Wilmington, NC.  Zoe didn’t like the ocean then.  I wonder if she would tolerate the water now that she is almost a year older.

Nadia comes back after resting on a float in the sand.  I ask if I can lay on it too, and take it out to the shade under the tree.  I fall asleep for two hours, dreaming about my shoes a few feet away from me becoming lost at sea.  Nadia wakes me up and the left side of my body is burned.  There is a fresh coconut waiting for me at the table.  I sip the fresh coconut water as they tell me how a local climbed the tree to get it for us.  Dr. Jobin takes a picture of me trying coconut for the first time, and shows me pics of the photo shoot I missed while I was sleep.

We learn about a path that goes to an overlook of the island and the ocean.  I reluctantly agree to go along.  As we hike again up the hill, I tell myself if I make up and back the mountain, I can have an extra scoop of rice for working out today.  The view is gorgeous.  There is still a higher overlook that Nadia and Erika go to see.  I think about the lack of railing and how easy it could be to fall off the side.  I have dependents who are counting on me to become a doctor.  This lack of railing would never go down in the states.  I’ll stay here, thanks.

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We finally come home to see Alec walking up our steps to our home.  He took some secret boat off the island of Romblon and caught some random form of transportation back to Alcantara.  He is always doing something risky.  We catch up after days apart, exchanging stories and pictures from our travels.  I show Alec my cliff jumping experience and he gives me props for doing something slightly dangerous with a small “it really wasn’t’ that high” under his breath.  I’ll never tell him to his face, but it nice to have his high energy self back again.  I already feel in better spirits.

The stars finally align and I get a chance to talk to Adrian.  Even though we could not talk long because he is on his way to work, it was nice to hear his voice.  I may be in a tropical land, but it’s not all it could be since he isn’t here.  I am thankful to hear his voice.  My heart is just a little less heavy as I drift to sleep.

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