Saturday, October 29, 2011

The year that was...365 days of KSA!

It seems like only yesterday when I was so worried and sick of waiting for all our documents to go through, when I would ply the route going to NSO, Manila City hall, Las Pinas City hall, DFA, and the travel agency assigned to take care of our visas. All the hits and misses, all the times that my parents, children and I were held in suspense when only my passport and visa was left and held up at the Saudi Embassy. The times that I felt so utterly miserable because my children and I have been waiting for months to be with my husband. In my mind, I can still recall how I felt so... so... soooo relieved to have accomplished such a herculean task from the time that I resigned from my job at HSBC to the time that I was finally able to get all our passports and visas done.

That was a year ago. It was October 20, 2010 when my parents, sisters and loving nanny accompanied me and my children to the airport. We were all excited. My kids were just plain excited they could not wait to be with their father. My parents, sisters and nanny were all excited for us yet sad that we will be leaving them behind.  I remember feeling a wave of emotion that switched from excitement, apprehension, sadness and back. I felt excited because we'd finally be with my husband after such a long wait; apprehension because I didn't quite know what kind of life to expect in Saudi Arabia. Also to add to the fact that unlike in the past, it was the first time I'd be travelling  to another country with kids in tow. I also felt sad to be leaving my parents, sisters and my children's nanny behind.  But overall I just felt good and very thankful that the "hurdles had been hurdled." Indeed everything went according to His plans, not mine nor my husband's and that in itself dismissed all the anxieties I felt while my children and I pushed our way towards the waiting lounge.

Now one year is over, truly time flies and to quote what a friend of mine told me just a couple of days ago "Time flies when you're enjoying what you do." Indeed I do. From being an HR assistant to a  full time mom, I can say there are no regrets. I don't feel disconcerted being without a corporate career or something akin to what I used to have back home. The job I gave up in the Philippines and the one here will always be part of my Curriculum vitae, but my life as a full time mom and wife will forever be etched in my children's and my husband's heart and mind. 

So today we celebrate simply because we survived our first year as a family in this country. We were able to beat the odds! This first year was our "make or break" year and thanfully because of this, we know the following years will be a breeze. Our life here is far from perfect but what really counts is the fact that we are all together. Certainly there is strength in numbers.

Happy first year to us! 

Post Script:
To families who wishes, are planning or have just been reunited with their loved ones abroad; if you are in the advantage of being able to land a job do so. If not, do something that interests you...make that hobby of yours the start of something big. Let those creative juices run wild! Be the master of your own destiny!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa (re-post)

From across the miles Papa i send you my warmest regards... I hope you are reading this....

I wanted to share with you a long letter that my father wrote to me and my sisters ages ago, however, I seem to have left it in the Philippines. Before coming to Saudi Arabia, I've managed to go over all my stuff and that was when I came across Papa's letter. It brought back a lot of memories from my rebellious past but I keep thinking that I am thankful for that letter. It was everything he wanted to say but can't. I still wish my father was as talkative as I am. I know for a fact that my sisters and I got our funny bones from him but I got to keep most of the stuff that was meant for a son :-p haha yep my bemuscled legs, my forever tan, my pudgy toes huhuhu  and there's even more not worth sharing hahaha. I remember that amongst my sisters, I would be the one who would climb up the roof and help him fix our antenna. The one who would lend him a helping hand for domestic repairs. And when he is not around I would be the one my mom would call to kill a rat or a small snake. Now when I get to think about it, I can only shake my head and wonder how I've managed. But i know those skills would come in handy and am glad Papa was the one who taught me. I got my "boy skills" from my dad and my "girl skills" from my mom...the best of both worlds :) who can beat that?! 

Papa, thank you for keeping me - thank you for putting wheels on my bag so that I can stroll it around in school. Though my classmates get the expensive ones that they bought with "ready wheels", I get to keep a bag that my own father improvised for me. Thank you for putting me in school and making sure I graduated :) Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate crossword puzzles and teaching me how to drive... For siding with me at times for telling me I can start having a boyfriend at 18 and when I did, spanked me with your inverted slippers (it did not hurt a bit hahaha) and for everything else...Maraming Salamat! I love you Papa I hope you know that your little girl still exist in the mother that I am now. I am ever so grateful to have you as my Papa! Happy Happy Birthday Papa!

"Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you're my hero?
You're everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings."

Monday, October 3, 2011

more on Bunso and our "magma"

I just want to share what my youngest son and I say to each other before going to sleep. I don't know and cannot seem to remember how it started but it has gone on for years...

Me : I love you so much Junior/Butbut/Bunso
Allen : I love you so much too Mama. Ang ganda ganda mo Mama.
Me : Ang pogi pogi mo
Allen : Ang sexy sexy mo, Mama
Me : Ang macho macho mo bunso
Allen : Hindi ko ikaw pagpapalit Mama
Me : Hindi rin kita pagpapalit
Allen : (borrowing a line from a TV Ad) Ang sarap Moo!
Me : (also borrowed line from the same TV Ad) mas masarap Cow!

Then we hug each other tightly with matching body wiggle. lol.

We call this our Mutual Admiration Goodnight "Mantra" (if I may term it as such). Coined as an acronym MAGMA... which can also mean Mag mama or mag ina (mother and son). Perhaps it's corny but often it's such memories that bring us back home when we are all grown ups. Will this ruin him? I don't think so. Will this make him a Mama's boy? I hope not! I have no idea. But I'm just hoping that when he grows up he will recall our "mantra" in fond remembrance...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

the Promise

I was in terrible shape the last couple of days - I was feverish, my colds kept me from breathing normally, my cough got me into spasmic fits. I found it hard to get up from bed, I felt utterly useless as I was too weak to cook a decent meal for my family. All the sleepless nights has finally taken its toll...I felt blah! There was even a cookie order that I had to refuse. Weeks back my mom would always remind me to take it easy but I just could not stay put. So there...

One afternoon in bed, I woke up to the soft sobs of my youngest son. I asked him why he was crying and pitifully he said that he wants me to get well. I was trying to comfort him when he stood up and came back with his red stool and a glass of water. He said "Mommy drink water..." I felt so touched (he is the only child left who still looks after me that way, while my 2 other kids were tinkering with their cellphones) boo-hoo.  Then he began sobbing again, my youngest told me "Mommy sorry po sa lahat lahat ng kasalanan ko po sa yo" (Mommy sorry for all the terrible things I've done to you.)  That got me thinking if he acquired this from all the teleserye he gets to watch sometimes on the telly lol. So I took that opportunity to ask him the following questions and our conversation went this way:

Allen: Mommy sorry po sa lahat lahat ng kasalanan ko po sa yo.
Mom: (hugs Allen) Aww baby that's okay but promise me that you will be a good boy ok?
Allen: (with matching nods) Opo Mommy (Yes, mommy)
Mom: Promise hindi ka na magla-lie kay Mommy? (do you promise not to lie to Mommy?)
Allen: Opo Mommy. Promise.
Mom: Promise hindi mo na aahitin ang kilay mo? (do you promise not to shave your eyebrows?)
Allen: Opo Mommy. Promise.
Mom: Promise hindi mo na aawayin si Kuya at si Ate? (do you promise not to fight with your siblings?)
Allen: Opo Mommy
Mom: Okay sige panghahawakan ko yung promise mo. (ok I will hold on to your promise)
Allen: (hugs mom and sobs some more) I love you mommy

Awwwww! (how sweet it is to be loved by you!)

Bagong bayani?

This is another blog of mine that I failed to feature weeks ago. And such is due to the fact that I was weighing the pros and cons of publishing this article. But the "writer" in me and the desire to go out with the truth prevailed. So read on...

I was browsing online for forums where I can advertise my "ware" and one of the forums I visited was such a bummer. Reading through one of the threads I felt so disappointed about how some (again I wrote some, not all) Filipinos malign their kababayans who try to make a living abroad. I was forewarned about these type of characters but was still surprised that such people really do exists.  Hence, I tried to contact their adminsitrator and forum moderator but sad to say, they have not responded. Either, they don't have time (which is such a big fat lie...I mean why put up a website for Pinoys to exchange or express their views when they can't even respond to online users like me?) or perhaps they feel that it was easier to ignore such complaints.And to realise further that I was not the first member who complained of such demeanor. If this site is even concerned about their kababayans this is the least they can do… to hear out those who were hurt by bluntless accusations.

 I saw an ally with one of their members who viewed the site's forum content as I did (please refer to "I have been a member of...")   I believe in freedom of expression but just like the controversial RH bill, I believe that certain freedom of whatever needs to be moderated to make sure that an individual stays human and humane. I cannot emphasize more on the fact that whatever skin color we carry we must remember that we are responsible for each other. And because I am a Filipino I feel it is my duty to help our kababayans in whatever way we can. Roughly translated we can help in terms of an opportunity... the same kind that was given to us. But never to belittle even the smallest triumph of our kababayans. It's just so sad that even such triumphs can elicit envy and resentment. In our own vernacular this is how I wish to describe it "parang ayaw niyo nang magtira ng kaunting kaligayan sa ibang kababayan natin." For what? I cannot even start to fathom...

We work abroad because we want to provide our family a better life and be able to help our loved ones and other kababayans as well. That's the reason why when we are given that golden opportunity, we do our best to work and to find other means to earn extra. However, it is so sad to know that there are certain people who will start judging you (without really knowing who you are). Such people will even go to the extent of breaking your chances by breaking your spirit.

Being a part of the human race, I feel that this person or anyone else for that matter, does not earn the right to besmirch anybody especially anyone from his own country. We are all Overseas Filipino workers (supposedly the "bagong bayani" of our country) working our asses off in a country not our own. It is enough that some of our countrymen are treated inhumanely by these locals but to be treated the same and judged without any basis at all by a co-Filipino, just shows how little he respects his kababayans. Instead of helping, he would rather ridicule. Instead of encouraging his kababayans, he finds it more amusing to give out insults in a rather large platter. People like this particular member would rather dish out insults and test people as if he owns them. And people like this man would jump up with glee for the failure of another! I am also an ofw and I've worked as an HR Assistant for a big hotel and I make sure I treat everyone I come across with respect. Simply because I'd like other nationalities to see how good Filipino workers are and because I want to give our kababayans the same kind of opportunity I was given. This is called giving back! I hope something is done about this!

Perhaps this is not the proper venue for me to air my chagrin, but I would like our other kababayans to understand that we should not let others down the way this man has done. How can we expect our country to progress if other Filipinos are more keen on bringing their kababayans down rather than pushing them forward? The trouble with these kinds of people is that they only think of themselves and think of themselves so greatly that they can just say anything they want. Sites like these were supposedly put up to bring Pinoys together so that they can help other kababayans trying to reach out to other Pinoys abroad unfortunately, this is not the case. I really hope something is done because the future of our race and the betterment of the FIlipinos is dependent on how much we want to change and this change must start from ourselves!