I've got an hour and a half before I leave for work to start another two to three week hitch of 12 hour nights working on an oil drilling rig here in Alberta. I couldn't be farther from the Philippines, yet it feels so close.
Everyday I read news from the Philippines and SKYPE with my family in Leyte. Every week or two I send money there and do the currency conversions in my head. The gossip of my hometown is all I have to worry about as there's no gossip here. I care more about the Canadian embassy's decision on my wife's visitor visa (coming up) or the Philippines DFA processing of my childrens' passports than I care about my possible tax issues or whether I'm a resident in Saskatchewan or Alberta. I ponder buying coconut land in Leyte under my daughters' names more than I ponder retirement in the Great White North.
The Philippines consumes me. Will Pacquiao be the same? Will Filipinos ever appreciate the greatness of Nonito Donaire?! Stephen Harper's a bit of a fag, but that Aquino is pretty cool!
As it stands, I'm a few days from the six month mark of not seeing my kids or wife. Getting their dual-citizenship with the Philippines has been a long affair, but will be over in a month or month and a half, depending on the system problems at the Tacloban office for passports. My wife's visa application to Canada was returned because the postal money order from Phil Post had poor quality bar-codes. Now we're waiting on the brother-in-law-in-Cebu to get us a bank draft in Canadian dollars since the banks in Tacloban don't offer that service. We'll re-apply through the PIASI service early-to-mid-to-late next week for that ever so prized Canadian visa.
If my wife gets the visa, I'm expecting to have her and the kids here by mid-March. If she doesn't get it (I just knocked on wood) I guess I'll take my month off in April to land in the Philippines and apply for the spousal visa instead. In that case I'd have to buckle in for the long haul of another year waiting for it to be approved. Yet that's confusing because scores of Filipinos here are telling me they got approved in three to four months! Does anyone else smell corruption? There are standard times for these processes and for the Philippines it's a year. I had a close Fil-Can friend tell me to name drop his dad's name at our local politician's office and it would be processed faster. My brother, who works in immigration, thought that's BS.
What a conundrum!
Hoping for the best, however, I wonder what will happen when my wife is here? Will I stop rooting for Aquino? Will I ponder the beauty of the Bahamas for a vacation over that of Palawan? Will I become more interested in the fighting career of Rory MacDonald instead of the "Filipino Flash?" Will I encourage my kids to learn French or Chinese over Tagalog? Will JOSE RIZAL TAKE A BACKSEAT TO DENZEL WASHINGTON?!!!
I have no idea what will happen once they're here and we're living happily together. But for now, for some strange reason, my heart constantly feels telepathically transported to the Philippines where my children play, probably barefooted, in our grass and gravel yard, and my monkey, Boots, harasses my mother-in-law, and the local gossip affects us, and the health issues piss me off, and where the gays teach my young daughters to dance and pose like divas; where cigarettes are fifty cents a pack, and the night blares with toads, roosters, dogs, and karaoke, not to mention those ever so peaceful crickets. It's so quiet...
For now, my heart is still in the Philippines. For later, where the F*** are those roosters?