Sometimes you have to suck it all up and just.
Yesterday I was asked to complete some forms for this first ever job post overseas which I was fortunate enough to secure nearly two months ago. I was able to pretty much fill out without difficulty all the questions in a breeze; except for one that kept me thinking as to who would be the most appropriate option to designate. The statement in question was:
Please state an emergency contact person and details:
That being said, the difficulty was apparent for many reasons. One, is that being apart from my immediate family (who for my 7 years in the working industry has always been my constant answer for questions like these), I cannot simply consider my parents nor my siblings to be the best choice for now due to obvious circumstances. And two, is the bitter fact that I actually do not have any other family members, no matter how distant, within a 5-mile radius (make that 20 and still no luck). I wouldn't even mind putting one of my best friends' names who would know exactly what to do in case there's a need for me to be put into life-support after a fatal accident, but of course they are also a thousand miles away. Who would have thought that a standard employment question would be so difficult to answer?
I ended up putting a friend's name on that item whom I have just started to become close with from the time I moved here. Might be a common story for other people but odd for me who has lived 26 years in our home with family. So yes, I guess sometimes in life, you find yourself stuck and deep in thought
saddeneddue to the most trivial things.
Some people just have so much time in their hands that I cannot even begin to fathom how, why, and most especially what they do in their daily lives that they can amass such an amount of free time.
Please tell me. I am rather amused.
Every Overseas (Filipino) Worker has a sad story to tell. I am sure of it. There goes the cold and blood-freezing winters, endless empty deserts, haunted-house-looking or sardines-kind-of-cramped accommodations, and the lonely birthdays/Christmases/holidays. Each may have different versions and impact, but I think what remains constant is the fact that the moment we stepped into that plane was a start of a totally different life. And when I say different I meant that in all aspects of that cliché I could ever think of.
I do not even consider myself yet as a full pledged OFW as apparently I am not yet officially employed (hopefully getting there), but I have already had a fair share of sad stories. The efforts to survive on a daily basis with the fangs of this monster I'd like to call homesickness slowly biting into my skin are in itself a struggle. While it is true that I am homesick every single day, I was already prepared for this dilemma when I decided to leave and work in a different country. The harsher reality was not that actually, but the slow discovery of the truth that life goes on back home, and to feel a little out of place is inevitable.
I thank God that I do have a supportive family, partner and set of friends who update me from time to time through the wonders of modern technology. However, I guess all overseas workers would agree with me when I say that no matter fast your internet connection may be, or how highly defined your video calls can get, it still cannot erase the fact that you are actually not there, experiencing that particular moment, real time. There will always be that 'gap' between you and those important life events spent without you. The Christmas dinners and New Year celebrations which cannot be put on rewind which you only get to experience via skype (on a totally different time zone most of the time), or witnessing the birthday candles blown on parties you will never ever get to attend again, or having Friday night dates that cannot commence every single week simply because you and your partner are apart, or even joining the random dinners with friends on a newly discovered restaurant. All of these experiences will all just be has-beens, past tense, finished, done. And you, who were away, will never ever be a part of it. Truth is, most of these important milestones will happen and, though you are missed, will not actually require your actual presence for it to take place. The lives of the people you left will move on, and even if you are aware of it happening, no amount of gatherings every time you go home will ever be enough to replace the feeling of being physically there on a particular moment. They have a life back home and will continue to live it, and of course you also have your own, only that it is revolving on a totally different pace and realities.
In my case, while the Philippines will always be my home, I have started to also accept (though sadly) the fact that it is no longer where my life is. And this, my friends, is my very own version of the OFW sad story.
Today, with much idle time in my hands and discovering that this journal is in fact about to enter its tenth year since the time of its conception (that is if we do include the time it has been inactive which almost sums up to 4 years), I have finally decided to change the layout to something more fitting to my present
Well I guess that's a start.
Lord, give me not just the strength but also the heart to understand them better. that's my prayer for tonight. thank you.
breathe in. breathe out.
being in front of a computer (as a requirement) and having nothing to do makes me look-up things i shouldn't look-up, and think of things i shouldn't think about.
and i am having sort of a normal ordinary day when it should be great, extraordinaire, or at least i think it should be. and then you discover some people would actually give a bouquet of sharpened pencils to the person he adores. just great.
i told you i shouldn't be over surfing.
i am not making much sense am i? enough. anyway the next student happened to have just popped into my skype and i have to prepare.
that the ever classic "WHAT IF?" is the worst question to ask.
these old "patterns of living", along with the people involved when you were so drunken mad about it, used to be the good times. and it will always be a good memory, no doubt about that. but when asked if you want to go over that moment again and reconnect with the people who used to be a part of your everyday existence, the best answer you could give is the sad truth that no, you just rather have it (and them) remembered.
right now i say in all honesty that i'm fine with what i have, what i do, and the few circle of people i am with.
i am moving forward. and i am happy. so very happy in fact.
* mood: i have an upset stomach (connection?)
* music:smile like you mean it - the killers
He was a handsome mestizo.
He and grandma would call each other Arug (Waray term for darling). People around our local town would call him Mano Pandesal (Pandesal is a native bread from the Philippines which is usually the main staple food for breakfast), which up to now I can’t figure out why and is the primary reason too why we seem to have to live with the label Mga apo ni Pandesal (Pandesal’s Grandchildren) from people every time we go home and visit Can-Avid. But it was actually a good thing, and we hold that label with heads up in a way...Because somehow it was like an understatement that people shouldn’t mess with us when we walk around town or else they have to deal with the wrath of the (according to the townspeople) grumpy and stern Principal of the National College, plus the rest of the Afable kin.
Despite his different imagery from everyone, he would always be our dear old Lolo Pinoy, the grand patriarch of this big happy family of 11 siblings, 32 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and 2 on the way. To me, he would always be the guy who would let their houseboy buy me shrimps when I did not want the ulam (viand) during my month long vacation last year back home. And the guy too who would add another 20 pesos for my school money when I was in first grade every time he came to visit Manila when we were young. He may be a man of few words, and he would usually be mocking with his remarks, but we knew he loved us. And he always had a funny way of showing that by either being the one who constantly complains or just simply being sarcastic.
And this was also the last memorable conversation I had with him last August. It was also the last time I saw him when everyone went home to pay him and grandma a visit for their 59th wedding anniversary and family reunion…
“Sus, irginom! Ayaw daw kam hiton!”
(Sus! Don’t go drinking will you.)
“Lolo kay kanay dawla kami ma-supo? ha imo man la Ngahin yana pala kami nagkikirigta”
(Lolo, to whom have we inherited this? Just from you. And besides we seldom see each other)
“Ayaw daw ak Vanessa, ayaw daw pagsinugad ha akon kay mga kababayin-an man ngani kamo.”
(Don’t you reason out Vanessa, don’t imitate what I do because you are girls)
We will miss you Lolo. And you are dearly loved. Say hi to the other Lolos, Uncles and Lolas there for us! Until then!