A typical one-week before Christmas is on my day. A lovely Saturday in a very busy metropolis in an eastern side of Saudi Arabia; Dammam. I have bought some grocery items this morning in order to sustain my life in a not so big apartment that houses me for two years now. Yes two years and counting that I am living here in the Kingdom. I have survived and somehow enjoyed the little and big surprises that are coming on our way everyday. From the different food to the exotic places here that we have tasted and traveled respectively I can now say that this place is my second home, for now.
With this time and the next year, 2016, is just around the corner, I have a choice to reflect and see the perspectives that I have been through the years especially that crucial two-year stay here in Saudi Arabia. I am still here and I am not aware or does not know that in the near future I will be settling in my native country. As long as this country is accepting us and our services and skills I believe I will be here for another couple of years or more.
In my first year here, 2013-2014, I could say that I have met the most extreme experience of my life. I have felt the coldest month of my life as well as the saddest moments that I have endured and survived. I have felt likewise the hottest months of my life and it was really hard to say that it was so difficult that sometimes I have given up living here and thinking of going home once again and never ever comes back here. But as I have said I have survived them all.
And I have learned so much in dealing with other persons here with different cultures and perspectives of their own. Those enlightened me and widened my understanding of why some people behave like that and not like what we are expected of them.
- Going Home
“Final exit or Exit Re-entry”
When we say we are going home back to our country it means two things : you will have your final exit for some reasons or you will just be returning to the Philippines and avail of the vacation offered by the company and with the promise of coming back here in KSA.
Some of our friends and co-workers have decided to take the final exit for some reasons. Some just go and headed for the Philippines because another job is waiting for them there. Some also go because they cannot take any longer the “homesick-ness” and decided to take final action of resigning and have their luck back at home. Some just go for some personal reasons.
Most of our friends and co-workers here go on vacation and return since they are still needed here and they still need to work here to fulfill their dreams. And we really never know when is the time to have our final exit. It might come if the company does not want me or if we decide to settle for good in our native country. But for now we are still here and some years more to fulfill our dreams and obligations like in investment or other ventures like in building/renovating our house.
- Gains and Loss
“Every changes should be accepted”
It is very true that the saddest part of being an OFW is when we are in the departure area of the airport and we finally said goodbye with teary eyes to our loved ones. Much saddest is when our loved ones die. This year two of my beloved member of the family departed and their loss marked a very sad moments in our life. First was my Ate Edna’s untimely death and we were really in shocked and could not believed that she is gone now. I could not imagine that I will be coming home again next year that no more Ate Edna will greet me and looked for my pasalubongs and lovingly accepted whatever gifts that I have for her. I know she is in Heaven now and whatever the reason that she was earlier called by our Creator we know that God’s plans are much wiser and better compare to ours. The second one was the death of our second Lolo in Catandala, Mamay Bastian. He was the last and oldest that we have now and he is gone also. As part of an OFW ‘s life we suffer from the loss of quality time with our family back in the Philippines. Though there are so many ways of the modern communication to talk to them, the void feelings are still there and we cannot sometimes do but cry. Though through times homesick-ness is cured still the thought of having not with them lingers and made us so sad and sometimes question our very own existence here and not with them especially in those times of sorrows and anguish.
However on the brighter side we gain so much things in working abroad. We earned much money as compared to working in the Philippines since there are no income tax being imposed here. We also learned much through cultural differences and diversification and I know those skill and knowledge are very helpful in our next missions or endeavors with our career and life itself.
And to say the least but not unimportant, we have seen ourselves when we are in different and far away lands. We have the freedom to do whatever we want and therefore discover that we can do such and such things that somehow we are incapable of.
So as we bid goodbye for 2015 and we are happily welcoming the new year 2016 let us be reminded that wherever we are, God is with us.
Thank you and Merry Christmas Happy New Year too!