When I moved to Asia in 2004, I had no idea we would be staying THIS LONG. I figured, like many ex-pats do, that we would do our 2 or 3 years and come “home” in time for our eldest daughter Theda to go to kindergarten in the U.S. Wrong! She’s now in Grade 8. Yet I always do a double-take when I consider the following…
I’ve lived more than a quarter of my life overseas.
I’ve lived in Manila longer than in any other city, ever.
Two-thirds of Mark’s & my marriage has been in Asia.
These statistics are hardly uncommon for ex-pats; in fact, many “foreigners” have been away much longer than I have. However, one thing that we all have to face is the question of how we will connect here, so far away from our families and loved ones.
For me, three groups have kept me connected here in Manila: my church, my Bible study group, and The Fit Ladies of Alabang Bootcamp. What began as an exercise group has developed into so much more. It’s a friendship group, a support group, a sisterhood of fabulous wives living this real ex-pat life that is sometimes “easy” but sometimes so not easy. We talk. We laugh. We sweat. We cry. We curse over pull-ups and burpees and Turkish get-ups. There’s just something about pushing ourselves physically that’s so bonding.
We meet after bus-stop drop-off, the first of which occurs at the ridiculous hour of 6:15am… I mean, what else are we gonna do at that time of day??? Shops don’t open around here until 11am and that is too many hours to sit and drink coffee.
So let’s exercise, girls! And let’s exercise together! There are just so many reasons to exercise in a group: accountability, compliance, safety, and let’s face it- it’s just plain FUN to work out together!! I know because I hear everyone laughing and carrying on in the back row… don’t think I don’t!!!
So we had our Christmas party last night and it was SO nice to see us all dressed up and not in workout clothes. To be able to hug each other without apologising for being all stinky. To have no agenda like “today we’re doing 85 million burpees and 200 pushups”… but instead to just relax with good friends, yummy food and a glass (or 2!) of champagne.
I feel so privileged to work out with these beautiful and fit ladies. Each one is gorgeous inside and out. These girls keep me motivated in my own fitness, always challenging myself to take it to the next level. But even more beautiful than that, these lovely ladies keep me connected in this crazy ex-pat life. Here’s to The Fit Ladies of Alabang!