Welcome to the inaugural run of the #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl hosted by Tala Ocampo and myself.
This November we talk about our First Voyage as trailing spouses and what we’ve brought with us, rather: what’s in your suitcase? Please, please see the end of the post for other #TrailingSpouseStories.
Today, I chat with Cathrina Legaspi-Del Prado. I’ve known her since gradeschool. Later on, she continued to become a flight attendant based in the same geographical region I was. Hers was a more interesting country though: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But she’s left the jet setter flight attendant life in Saudi (whew!) to join her husband in Texas. Now we’re in the same region again!
SO WHAT DID YOU PACK IN YOUR SUITCASES TO THE US?
It took me a whole year to plan/pack my things. I started sending winter clothes when I was still working for Saudia and having the privilege to travel to U.S.A and getting a discounted rate at FedEx. So I flew to (the Washington DC International Airport) as a crew and send boxes via FedEx to Lubbock. It made my life easier as compared to bringing everything in one shot. And then I resigned, went back home to the Philippines and unpacked…. And after a few months packed again my whole life. Of course, I shouldn’t forget my birth and marriage certificates besides my passport with a visa.
Two suitcases were only allowed free on my ticket, so how can you fit your whole life in two suitcases? I left everything behind except for my few chosen clothes and my only priced possession- shoes. I brought them with boxes! You know how boxes occupy space but I didn’t care as long as it protected my shoes from getting squashed.
A must to bring always when travelling is a neck pillow. Never fails you when the only available seat is the middle and while having a layover on cold airports and there’s nothing to do but sleep.
Being a Trailing Spouse can be really emotional for me as it’s hard to be away from my family, but it’s my time to build my own. “Straight from the heart” a prayer companion book (given to me by my cousin, Ate Baby, who has been supportive of me) helped me through my journey all I did was to pray to get me to my destination safely.
YOU WERE WORKING IN SAUDI PRIOR TO MOVING TO THE US. DO YOU THINK THAT BEING AN OFW, SOMEHOW EXPERIENCING PACKING YOUR LIFE IN A SUITCASE, HELPED YOU WITH YOUR FIRST VOYAGE AS A TRAILING SPOUSE?
When I left Manila to become an OFW, everything was first to me. First time to travel abroad, first job, first Muslim country to visit, first time being away from my family. So I didn’t know what to expect, everything seems to be an adventure. I only accepted an opportunity and let my destiny dictate my future. As a flight attendant I was able to go home often like every two months aside from the annual 30 day vacation.
HOW CAN YOU COMPARE THE TWO EXPERIENCES: LEAVING FOR SAUDI VS LEAVING FOR THE US? HOW DIFFERENT OR THE SAME WAS IT?
Leaving for the US is different because I (am) solely dependent on my husband. I was given a time frame, by this year, I should be living here in the US according to Paul. Being a good wife, I obediently followed.
As an experienced traveler i learned how to pack light. Knowing my destination and the life I will be living made it easier for me to decide on which things to bring. But this time I don’t know when I will be coming back home.
One thing remains unchanged though, the feeling of leaving with a heavy heart. No matter how many times I come and go, no experience, no person, nor reason can teach a heart.
I KNOW THAT LIVING IN KSA, WOMEN REGARDLESS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF, ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR ABAYAS.
I didn’t know abayas existed before I left. When we arrived, they generously gave us each abayas.
DID YOU PACK AN ABAYA WHEN YOU LEFT FOR SAUDI? DID YOU EVER CONSIDER BRINGING ALONG YOUR ABAYA WITH YOU TO THE US? HOW DID IT FINALLY LET GO OF ABAYA LIVING?
I didn’t consider bringing an abaya to the US for it is just unnecessary. But, on second thought, I should have brought it and worn it in one of the Halloween parties. Living without abaya gives freedom to wear anything I want especially during summer season when less is appropriate.
SHOE LOVER KA PALA! WHICH SHOES DID YOU BRING? DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITES? OR DID YOU LEAVE SOME BEHIND?
I brought my Gucci shoes which I bought on sale in Saudi and left most of them 🙁
OF COURSE YOU WOULD NEVER LEAVE YOUR GUCCI SHOES BEHIND! HEHEHE!
How about you fellow trailing spouse? What did you bring in your suitcase?
Read more #TrailingSpouseStories at the links below:
- Jenny’s story on MyMommyology
- Marc’s story on Fatherland
- Tala’s story on Tala Ocampo
- Shine’s story also on Tala’s blog
- Nix’s story on Driving Spiderman
- Glendale’s story on My Kandy Krush
- Char’s story on Ice Cream Sessions
- Tracy’s story on Tala’s blog
- Milen’s story on Tala’s blog
- Didi’s story on D for Delicious
- Cath’s story on D for Delicious
- Molly’s story on The Move to America
- Third’s story on Pinoy in America