YOU SOUND AMERICAN, DID YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES?
No. I am a Filipino and I lived in the Philippines until 2009, wherein I became a trailing spouse to a Filipino Diplomat.
YOU TALK ABOUT INDONESIA A LOT, ARE YOU INDONESIAN?
Haha, see answer above. We were posted in Jakarta, Indonesia for 4 years. It was our very first post and also our first home together as husband and wife. There are still so many finds, information and tips I would like to share about Indonesia and Travel Diaries of Asia, so expect more posts!
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU BECAME A TRAILING SPOUSE?
I used to be in Marketing, starting out with Events Management and PR, then getting into Marketing in a start-up tech company and later going into Brand Management for a multi-national company. There I was so overworked, clocking in 14-18 hour days, that I was getting sick so often. I decided that having amazing health benefits was not worth it sacrificing my health for. I quit the rat race, but was convinced by my former boss to be their Corporate Marketing Consultant. (I loved working from home and conducting meetings via Skype!) Then we had to leave for our first post and now I continue to practice my writing and photography through my blog.
WAS T.D. (THE DIPLOMAT) ALREADY A DIPLO WHEN YOU MET?
No. He was a teacher in a university when I met him. Little did I know that he would want to become a diplomat. If I only knew haha! =p It was definitely a big change and something that I had to do some soul-searching and reflecting on before taking the plunge. It’s not as easy as I expected it to be, but it did lead me to a life I never expected to have. My life then was centred on my career. When I became a diplo wife, it allowed me to explore my interests and passion instead of being consumed by career. Before this, I also didn’t traveled abroad a lot (I was happy exploring and surfing Philippine beaches), never really like to eat out or entertain. Who knew I could entertain, cook, bake, DIY, be a dog-owner, travel and eat so much?!? Not me, for sure! It’s all been quite a surprise.
HOW LONG DO YOU STAY IN A COUNTRY?
Normally a Filipino diplomat is posted for 6 years abroad and 2 years at home and then back in foreign assignment again This is only a guideline and hardly the rule. Budget and the political situation have effects on our posting. The 6 years abroad can be spent in one country or split in 2 different countries. In our case, we spent 4 years in Jakarta, Indonesia and so we will only be spending 2 years in Berlin.
DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING NEXT?
No. This is one of those things that is exciting yet stressful about diplomatic life. When you are at home post (Manila) then there is a process of applying for your next posting. Whether you get what you sign up for is another matter. However when you are already at post and desire a cross-posting (from one overseas posting to another) there is no formal process. I can guess that there is also some politics involved.
HOW OLD IS DIPLO DOG? IS HE A BOY OR GIRL?
Our Pomeranian is 6 years old (as of 2013) and he is a boy. If you are in Berlin and you have a female Pomeranian and you want cute Pomeranian babies, we are looking for a girlfriend for Diplo Dog. TD fears that he will be a virgin for life. =p Diplo Dog comes from an excellent line of champion breeds. I’d love to here from you and we can set up a date! For non-creeps only please.
ARE YOU A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
Heaven’s no! I took a basic photography course in college and recently took an improve your photography session here in Berlin, to remind me again about the technical aspect. I love taking photographs, but I am far from being an expert.
WHAT CAMERA DO YOU USE?
In the past I had this crappy Sony point and shoot which was quite haha (see a sample of old photos here). Then I got a Canon D500 DSLR with a zoom kit lens. I also got a macro lens for it. Right before moving to Europe I knew that lugging around a big DSLR would not be easy and I was so lucky that Sony launched an amazing point and shoot camera that can fit even my evening purse (perfect for Diplo Receptions) and has DSLR-like quality photos, the Sony RX100. I highly recommend it. The automatic settings are great for those who don’t know how to use manual settings, and even professional photographers like using it as a fun back up camera when they aren’t at work. Oh and sometimes I do end up using the camera from my iPhone 4s and Instagram. I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about the iPhone 5s, but it’s out of the budget right now, so it’s currently on my Lust List.
WHY DO YOU BLUR YOUR FACE AND COMPLETELY BLUR OUT YOUR HUSBAND’S FACE?
When I started my blog, there were security issues involved in our post. It was safer to not place our names and post my husband’s face. That’s how we started it and I am happy to continue to do so for several private reasons which I realised as I continued to blog. The internet is a tricky place, so even if I have this tendency to over-share I choose to keep certain things private. Don’t you think life is more fun when there a little mystery to it?
WHAT ARE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF BEING A DIPLO WIFE?
For me these are the ups an downs. My experience could be completely different from the experience of other diplo wives.
- Loneliness! I miss friends and family back home.
- Having to make new friends in each new post is hard!
- When you go back to your home country it seems that so much has changed when you were away. So many things have happened to your loved ones that you miss. There is also the guilt for having missed so many of your loved one’s milestones.
- A new city with new rules, vastly different culture and language can be tricky to navigate. There will be frustration and tears.
- Exposure to different cultures expands your mind and world
- Tasting, learning to cook new cuisines
- A new city with all it’s new sites, smells and things! So exciting!
- Getting to know a place that you’ve only read about is so different from just reading about it! Living in a city is so different from when you visit a place as a tourist.