I have been forced to fend for myself for the past couple of days while the husband has been off frolicking around Spain with an old school friend. On this island, 99% of the time the husband and I are within spitting distant of each other. Our apartment is one bedroom with one living room and we work in the same building, only a couple of offices away from each other. I normally hear his *manly work shoes clip-clopping past my office 7 times a day minimum.
So to embrace the cliche, spending time on your own for a period of time is perhaps a good opportunity to “reconnect” with yourself – to remind yourself of who you are, just you, independently, without another person to influence your behaviour, your choices, your moods. Turns out (perhaps unsurprisingly) I am a person who likes to sleep under a doona with the AC on low. I like to listen to girl-power music like Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift while boogieing around the kitchen. And I enjoy a couple of glasses of red wine with a 90’s chick-flick on a Friday night after work.
This weekend has given me the opportunity to watch what I like, listen to what I like, cook what I like.
I was able to go to the gym in the mornings, and push myself further on the treadmill to jog 4.7 miles, getting closer to the 5 miles I was regularly hitting when I wasn’t working (that’s MILES not kilometres for you metric users out there) without concern that the husband was waiting on me. I experimented with cooking quinoa for the first time, knowing it was just for me and if it didn’t work out, I would probably eat it anyway without complaint.
It’s easy to lose sight of your single self when you have been with someone for a long period of time. The husband and I have been together for almost 12 years, and we have lived together full time for almost 8 of those years. These past few days I have been able to reflect on who I am without him, and what I do with myself. It’s interesting to observe the ways in which one may alter slightly over time compared with the elements that remain largely the same. Admittedly, I have spent some time getting reacquainted with my good friends Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte. Yet I also left the apartment to interact with some of my new (flesh and blood) friends here. An afternoon spent with the lovely Mel McElroy for some fabulous nail art, followed by dinner in town with our group of fun, young “compound expats” – chatting about all things from the Olympics to Rent The Runway. Once upon a time, I would have hibernated in my house avoiding human contact outside working hours.
And so, after a morning of rhythmic gymnastics and uninterrupted YouTube yoga, here I sit on a Sunday morning, munching on a choc-chip cookie I baked yesterday (choc-chips and parchment paper courtesy of Ms Sara Caltabiano – thanks for the supplies chicka!).
And late tonight, providing there are no missed flights, while I am in bed attempting sleep, the husband will reenter the apartment, and my single existence will be at an end. Two years ago, when the husband was considering applying for the job here, we could’ve made the decision for me to stay in Oz, while he worked a 10-3 week rotation. But, we had already lived a long-distance relationship for the first few years together, and at the time I had vowed that we wouldn’t live apart like that again if our relationship was to last. There are plenty of people on the island who do live apart from their spouses and families, seeing each other every other month, or in some cases, only every few months. Of course, every relationship is unique, and for some people it works. But for me, it was not a realistic option.
While I am going to have turn the AC’s back to their original settings and kick the doona back onto the floor, I am looking forward to the husband’s return. The quiet of the apartment can at times become a little too quiet. And I would appreciate getting some proper sleep. For, although I do enjoy the combination of AC and doona, it is nothing without my sleeping partner – the husband just happens to be the essential ingredient required for my peaceful slumber!