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A Red Car

The day before we were supposed to leave for our summer home in 2021, I rushed my husband to five more property oculars, to add to the already 50 we have already done in the preceding two years. Even before Covid-19 happened, I already had the sense that we should be looking for a home with a garden to buy for our family. He had said it was too early but I insisted.

Fast forward to post-covid, properties have increased their prices as more and more families recognized the need to have a home with a garden as opposed to living in flats and apartments in the city. Thankfully, we were ahead of the game and managed to get ours – a home free on all four sides, with a garden, a view of the sunset, and the sea.

My dream was to spend my 40th birthday at our new home. A dream that did not happen because my husband procrastinated and yes, did not listen to me. Our life as a couple is full of those regrets and mistakes and do-overs as a direct result of not listening to me. Now, thankfully, my husband has learned his lesson. And that is, to listen to me, not because I am the wife and the wife is always right; but because I have proven that I am not always wrong.

Because I wasn’t getting my dream home for my 40th birthday, I said I should at least get a car. I have been asking for one as early as 2016 when I was told I didn’t need it because we lived in the city where parking was a difficulty and my parents-in-law, who lived in the next building, were always available to drive me to and from where I needed to be. Every time I asked for a car, the convo went like this:

Me: I would like a car to practice my driving.
Him: But you don’t have a license.
Me: I would like to practice my driving to get my license.
Him: But you don’t have a car.

In theory, I have always had a license. I have had a driver’s license since 2011. We just neglected to have it exchanged for an Italian one. In reality, even without an Italian license, I actually held an international driver’s license in 2017.

Fast forward to 2022, I get a new 10-year residence permit, a new 10-year Philippine driver’s license, and a corresponding Italian translation of it, and I can now get an Italian one without having to redo the entire process of getting a new Italian driver’s license complete with theory and practical tests. Now, really, all I need is a car.

So when I come back to Italy and I ask my husband if I am getting a car for my 40th birthday, he said I am supposed to get it in September, after the summer.

I must’ve had the saddest face because five days before my birthday, my husband was looking at car listings way into the night. The next morning, he called me for a quiet talk and said, “I am getting you a car for your birthday because I can’t bear to see you sad and because I know you deserve it.”

Just to clarify,

1. I have had a car of my own.
2. We live in an area where a car is not a luxury but a necessity. The bus comes by every 20-30 minutes and when my husband isn’t around, I take public transportation with the kids to bring them to their respective schools.
3. Our youngest child’s school is not accessible by public transportation and in the months my husband isn’t home with us (April, May, June, September, and October), our daughter takes the school bus and our son does/will not go to school at all.
4. I support an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and I ride my bike anywhere and everywhere, except when it’s raining, when the wind blows so hard it’s capable of blowing an electric bicycle three meters away, and when the roads do not have a bicycle lane.

And for the record:
1. The car just isn’t for me. It’s also for my husband. Because with a car, I will/can be the one to bring/pick up the kids to/from their respective schools; while he can sleep more in the mornings or go surfing without having to rush going home in time to pick up the kids.
2. We can save fuel money on a small car instead of bringing the van everywhere every time.
3. In the summers, when my husband works, I can do the groceries myself or bring the kids to other places instead of just staying the entire three months in our own little village and beach.

Sardegna/Sardinia is a big island and I’ve been coming here since 2014 without seeing much!

I may be a spoiled wife but I am spoiled with practicality in mind. I take business class flights because the flight itself is the only rest I can take. I cannot afford to arrive at my destinations already exhausted from my flights. We are a simple family that does not spend much on expensive things like clothes, bags, shoes, or jewelry. I have never been into jewelry and every single piece I own on this day was gifted to me by my husband or his parents. My shoes are utilitarian and my clothes focus on quality, comfort, and durability, and support artisans, or local communities. I try to stick to a 23-piece per season as much as I can.

I am now a proud owner of a red car, in my own name, and not paid through a bank loan. It’s not brand-new and it already has scratches on it from the previous owner, but that only means less pressure on me, because I cannot assure that I will not add more to it.

A red car? I would have preferred yellow or bright orange for purposes of visibility, but on the day that I was supposed to arrive, my son woke up with the thought that his father has to buy a red car. We went to the car dealership to look at some white cars and an orange car, but it was the red car that took our attention. Moreover, it has an F and a V, and a 46 on its plate.

If my son has foresight just like me, if realities come to him in dreams, then he has inherited more than just my sense of humor, but also my gift.

As for my husband who cannot bear to see his wife with a sad face, who said 39 was not such an important number, he is now trying to make up for all those times he refused to listen to me. I got a car for my 40th birth DAY, a trip to the Philippines a month before my birth DAY, and I will still get the home we always wanted and dreamt of, in the same year I turn 40. And that’s as good as it gets and that’s good enough.

What’s even better than good enough? The thought that I am truly and selflessly loved.

Categories: 2022 Musings

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Angku

Crazy wife. Mother of two.

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