The Worst Thing on Being an OFW

10 mga puna

I used to think that spending Christmases or birthdays away from my loved ones in the Philippines is sad. I just realized that being hospitalized is way worse, especially for an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) like me.

The feeling of boredom, loneliness and uncertainty bitch-slapped my face when I woke up in the middle of the night and found out that I am indeed alone.

I could still remember the last time I was hospitalized in the Philippines. I was still in elementary when I got admitted in Polymedic Hospital (currently known as Victor Potenciano Medical Center) due to H-Fever (currently known as Dengue Fever). Well,using the phrase “currently known as” is a proof that I really am getting old and these events happened ages ago, back when Family Computer and Atari were the “must-haves.”

I am not a person who easily gets sick. If there’s one thing that I could really be proud of, it’s the fact that I did not have sick leave in 2012. Yes, that’s perfect attendance last year. But for 2013, I could not say the same. Well, even superheroes get sick and I am not bulletproof after all.

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thank you Sir Jay for capturing the moment!

This unfortunate thing happened on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. I was already a little under the weather when I woke up at 5:15am but I did not mind it, thinking that I will never get sick anymore. I had lunch and felt weird later in the afternoon when I got back to work. I had an uncomfortable feeling at the lower part of my back. I would not describe it as ‘shooting’ or ‘terrible’ pain, but it felt really tired, which urged me to go the the pantry and lie down.

 

THANK YOU NOTES

Thank you to my colleague Maria Ria, who, after she saw me lying down at the pantry sofa, a chain of events followed. Thank you to our doctors: Jey,Justine and Steve, who took time to look at my condition and advised me to go to Gleneagles Hospital, since it’s the nearest panel from our office. Thank you to our Head of Operations, Chris Helms, who made me realize that going to the hospital and taking the day off from work will not make me look like a bad employee. Though I never wanted to leave work and wished I could finish my shift, my condition showed otherwise. Thank you to Sir Beda, Sir Jay and Kuya Irving for bringing me to the hospital in a jiffy. When we reached Gleneagles and had my temperature checked, it was only then I found out that I was already running a 38.6 fever. Thank you to the ever-reliable Sharits, who drove all the way from Bukit Jalil to bring clothes for me. Thank you for always being available when I requested to bring my tab and book since boredom was killing me. Thank you to my good friend Fritzie who took time to visit me. Fritzie is an OFW working as a teacher in Myanmar. Our original plan was for her to stay at my place while she is exploring KL but it did not materialize due to this unfortunate incident. Having a familiar face in my hospital room helped a lot – Jezu Timbale Shin! Thank you to Edson, who consistently showed me what, who and how a true friend is. Texting and asking my condition maybe enough but a big thank you for taking the extra mile to visit me on my last day at the hospital. Though we never usually hang out after office hours, thank you for being there when I needed a friend. A huge difference it is being just a colleague and a friend for keeps.Thank you to those who prayed, who cared and didn’t care at all.

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1st Night at Gleneagles Hospital

 

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Fritzie from Myanmar… Jezu Timbale Shin!

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Edson aka Daddy E, the Father of All Nations

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Informing my family about my current condition in the hospital was the last thing on my mind because I did not want them to worry. My plan was to tell them I was hospitalized on the day of my discharge. But in the three days that I was admitted in Gleneagles Hospital, there was not a single day when I wished that my family was beside me. The silence in the hospital scared me because it screamed the truth that I was alone, and I had no choice but to get over it.

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cold food on a cold night

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have you ever heard somebody describing the food as “malamig pa sa ilong ng pusa?” (colder than the nose of a cat) ..well, the hospital foods were colder than the noses of 10 stray cats combined!

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so-called pancake

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what’s the use of having a menu when all the foods tasted the same?

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this is the type of give-away that I never wished to have…

Everytime the nurse woke me up to check my blood and temperature, everytime the hospital attendant informed me that she had to change the bedsheet and pillow case, everytime the staff brought my cold hospital food, I wished I was never in that situation. I may have thought a couple of times what did I do to deserve being hospitalized? But then I got ashamed of myself asking that question. God always has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom but we simply have to trust His will. 

It was Friday, April 19, 2013, when my treating doctor told me that the result of the X-ray was negative and it looked like it was a case of muscle cramps, fatigue and fever. He still requested me to visit his clinic though for a follow-up treatment next week in order to get the result of the blood test.

Being an OFW is not all glitz and glamor. After almost five years of working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it’s inevitable that I still feel sad and alone sometimes especially during unfortunate incidents like this. But I am a fighter as I have always been. I am still thankful that I am here, back in my room, writing a new blog post, I survived,  alive and kicking, ready to face a new day.

God bless us all!

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camwhoring makes me feel better

 

 

 

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On Memory Lane – ‘Malaysia-Singapore Trip 2008’

14 mga puna

Lemme say that this trip served as an eye-opener for me. One of my bestest-best friends Scottie and I became so much closer because of this. I dreamt big. Thanks to my ever-good friend Pads. I knew I would want to work in Malaysia the moment I saw the place, experienced the way of living and smelled the mouth-watering foods. Three months later,I was hired by a local company in Kuala Lumpur. Now I’m living my dream and having the best times of my life.

Some say American Dream is the ultimate dream. Some say Malaysian dream is at par with it. Well, I say ‘Dream big, keep your feet on the ground and always pray because faith moves mountains. If I can, I will because I’m definitely good at it!’ 🙂

Happy Thoughts

208 mga puna

Wendy: Once upon a time there was a boy named Peter Pan, who decided not to grow up. So he flew away to Neverland where the pirates are.
Hook: What fun he must have had.
Wendy: Yes but he was rather lonely.
Hook : Peter Pan thought you how to fly. How?
Wendy: You just think HAPPY THOUGHTS. They lift you into the air.
Hook: Alas, I have no happy thoughts.
Wendy: That brings you down!

I have felt a variety of emotions for the past weeks.

I was sad, down, disappointed, homesick, happy, excited, inspired, positive and invigorated.

It was a roller-coaster ride for me. One thing I realized was, If I choose to be happy, I could.

I am too blessed to be depressed by petty things. At the end of the day, the only choice I have is living while I’m alive, and enjoying every moments of it.

Now I really believe that having a good life is indeed the sweetest form of revenge.

Happy thoughts also helped me in the process.

1. Thank you to ABSCBN News for recognizing the nominees of the 2009 Philippine Expats Blog Awards. It is really a humbling experience for us Overseas Filipino Workers to be mentioned in your news.

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2. I received two compliments in one day from my clients. Well, these things serve as a reassurance that I am doing something good for other people and believe me,I’m gloating right now.

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3. I was able to book two return tickets for next year (September 2010 and October 2010) thru the AirAsia promo. Paying RM70.00 (RM35.00 each return flight) is not bad at all. (Note: RM1 = PHP13.50 so technically, I only paid PHP472.50 for each return ticket from Malaysia to the Philippines.)

4. I will be going home on December 29 for my Christmas vacation -insert hooray and applause here- I’m so excited and there’s no hiding it. I am planning to meet some of my long-lost friends, old-time friends and blogger-friends as well. It will surely be a blast.

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Christmas in KL 2008

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Christmas in KL 2008

5. I’m getting married next year. I am so inlove. If I am dreaming, please don’t wake me up. It’s really good to love and to be loved in return. I would not trade this for anything in the world. Okay, I just made this up. Number 5 is yet to happen.

Happy Thoughts. There.

When Good Becomes Better (I’m Still Standing)

113 mga puna

There’s always a bigger picture behind every happening in the present.

We may find it difficult to understand at first but as days pass by and we start to mature, we would be able to understand why God let us experience these things.

It’s inevitable, all good things really come to an end. And as soon as it ends, we face another challenge. As cliche as it may sound, it’s like seeing a glass half-empty or half-full. It would depend on us whether we accept another exciting chapter wholeheartedly or rant because we’re too afraid (read this: chicken) to face it.

I never thought even in my wildest dreams that I would be working abroad. I used to be somebody who would rather stay in my comfort zone because it is where I felt secure and loved. I had a stable job before as a service assistant/teller in Bank of the Philippine Islands and a parttime trainor for call center agents but a part of me still wanted to grow.

After almost two years of counting millions of deposits and withdrawals, I realized that I was not enjoying the job anymore. For one, it did not make my heart beat faster and I am not excited to go to work every morning.

Everything changed when my friend and I visited Mang Badoy in Kuala Lumpur last April 2008. I realized that apart from the usual job which was just good to make ends meet, independence is something which I’ve been craving for the longest time. I took the opportunity and sent my application during the job fair, and the rest they say, was history.

I could not deny the fact that luck was one of the reasons why I was hired by my company in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from it, working in a customer service environment for more than five years also helped in sealing my fate. If I did not experience the hardships that I’ve had before during my call center-hopping days and I gave up in the process, I would not know where I would be right now. Being away from my loved-ones sucks. Working on a thirteen hour-shift sucks. Preparing my own meal even if I’m already dead tired sucks.

There may be times when I almost gave up. There may be times when loneliness got the best of me. There may be times when I felt deserted and depressed. But I’m still one of the luckiest people in the world. I am working abroad despite the economic crisis. I could save money to have a stable future. I could buy the things I want and I could pamper myself anytime. Above everything, I could make my family happy and proud of me. And hey, I’m still standing.

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rye during his college days

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PEBA-Nokia photoshoot..Good becomes Better

TORN

91 mga puna

Do you know why people hate to admit that they are lonely? It’s because when you do, everyone thinks something is wrong with you. They think, ‘I have people in my life, why don’t you?’ But the strange thing is, you could have people in your life and still be alone.’
-Lee Wen, The Forgotten

Torn

‘The best memories you’ve had will flash infront of you when you’re about to die.’ Good thing it has not happened to me yet. Morbid.

This statement has nothing to do with my post. It’s just that I’m feeling TORN these past few days.

TORN because today is the start of my six days off. I worked dayshift last Friday for thirteen hours (7:30 am to 8:30 pm). Since my colleague was absent during the night shift proceeding that, I continued to work night shift for another thirteen hours (until 8:30 am the next day). After my night shift, I attended the training until five in the afternoon. In short, I worked thirty three hours straight. Beat that. To set things straight, I am not complaining. I just felt like I needed to pamper myself after that. And pampering myself is synonymous to going back to Manila for a quick six-day trip. I was really tempted to book a ticket but I did not because the price was almost RM1,000 (PHP13,500). I know better than to spend money. I decided to save instead and wait since I would be going home on December 29 for my Christmas vacation. Patience is a virtue.

TORN because there is really no place like home. I am TORN between staying here to continue my two year contract until August 2010 or go home and find a job in Manila. I am not getting any younger. If I want to save and have a brighter future, it’s a no-brainer. Staying in Kuala Lumpur is the answer. I browsed jobstreet the other day and found out that there’s a company in Manila looking for a Bahasa Melayu speaker. Henceforth, I would try my best to learn Malaysia’s native language with the help of my colleagues. I would ask them to teach and talk to me as if I’m one of them. Next language on my list: Thai.

TORN because I used to hate it everytime mom sends me an sms before asking where I was and what time would I go home. And at times, if I still had plans of going home. I went out early this afternoon and came home kinda late. I was secretly hoping that somebody will text me to ask me where I was and what time would I go home. Or if i still have plans of going home. I checked my cellphone twice. Nobody did. Freedom at its best. I should be happy.

TORN because I received a very bad news last week. My sixteen year old brother met an accident. The motorbike that he was driving was bumped by a truck. I was not able to do anything but pray that he would be okay. It’s inevitable to feel helpless since I am miles away from my loved ones. But prayers really move mountains. He is getting better now. Some lessons are literally learned in a painful way.

TORN because I want my prayers to be answered immediately. When you aggravate somebody, the first thing that comes to your mind is to make amends. Being the talker that I am, I have said things which I regret in the end. I want Him to make everything alright again. In the end, I asked Him to give me a sign until Friday.
If there’s no sign until then, I also told Him…’Thy will be done.’

TORN because besides my family, I really miss my friends. I sometimes feel that I am deprived of familiar warmth and affection. I need my friends to light up my need for familiar faces, familiar voices, old jokes and tested bond. Well, I maybe feeling nostalgic but it’s one of the most special emotions in the entire human experience
especially now that im longing for the people who are worth-keeping.

     Scottie, my apologies for not being there now that you need me the most.

     Kath, as usual, thanks for the ego-boosting compliments. They’re special since they came from my number one fan.

    Eloisa, thank you for being my bestest best friend. The deal is still on. If we’re both single by the time we’re thirty, I’ll accept your proposal to marry you. Kidding aside, thank you for making me realize how self-centered I was. You might think that I was not listening when you told me that I will never be the center of eveybody’s universe and that, the world does not revolve around me, but those words struck me. People’s lives could go on even without my presence.

    Kuya Topher, nobody could understand what I am going through right now but you. We are on the same boat. A million thanks for listening to my rants and for the late night chat (and sleepless night for me). You’ve been the biggest help. Thanks for confirming that I really was self-centered and for being the big brother I’ve never had. Now you know that I am not a snob. Some people misinterpret me for that(calling Yhen..hehe). You could still spend your vacation here in KL…for a minimal price. The sooner the better.

When you’re in a mess and people ask you ‘how are you?’ Trust me, they don’t want an answer.

I’m TORN. Pray for me.

Dreams Do Come True

137 mga puna

1. I celebrated my birthday in KL last year. Words could not describe how lonely I felt. It was the first time I celebrated it away from my family and friends. I haven’t had many friends in this foreign country yet during that time. I told myself that it would never happen again. So four months ago, I booked a return flight from KL to Manila. My dream is finally coming true. I’ll be in the comforts of our home on my birthday.

Two days ago, I called my mom. I still haven’t told them that I’d be going home on September 4. I want to give them the best surprise yet. I told her that I sent a package which will be delivered on Friday morning. Mom was very happy. She said that they would not be there to get it though. Dad already left to spearhead an activity for their office in Baguio. Mommy and Owa will follow him on Friday morning. I told her do not leave until the very cute package arrives. 

Now who’s surprised?

2. Months ago, while Kuya Bluguy and I were chatting, he mentioned to me that he’ll be coming back to the Philippines. When he found out that I also have plans to return this September, we thought of having a mini eb (eyeball) with some of our blogger friends. And now it’s finally coming true. I bet all of us are excited to meet the faces behind the names.

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3. I received a confirmation email from Philippine Blog Awards. It is really a humbling experience to be an official nominee and to compete with the best blogs in the blogosphere. This is really one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. I have to thank Otep because he was the one who nominated my blog.

I started this mediocre blog on January 19, 2009 to literally kill time. I’ve also mentioned again and again that I am a frustrated writer. This nomination is just a confirmation that inexperienced writers like me could also make it. This is just a personal blog. I know i don’t write perfectly. I’m scared when I started this. I sometimes get confused on what to write. I’m insecure about some things but I definitely know who I am. There are no impossible things for people who believe that they can. And so my header says, ‘If I Can, I Will because I’m GOOD at it!’

 ***I’ll be back in Manila for seven days so I would not be able to open my blogsite religiously. Rest assured, all comments, suggestions and violent reactions are noted.

Random Things Which Make Me Feel Blessed

181 mga puna

1. After months of waiting, my income tax refund was finally approved. yipee. I just received the letter from the tax department that I will receive the refund thru cheque within 14 days.

2. Working abroad has its own pros and cons. Though I’m sacrificing a lot in terms of my personal life, I realized that financially, I was able to save more in less than a year. To set the records straight, I do not earn a very high salary compared to other Overseas Filipino Workers. It’s just enough to send money at home, to buy my basic necessities, to pamper myself with the things that I like, and to save a part of it. I learned that no matter how big or small your salary is, you could save if you want to. Less drama and more money!

3. It’s inevitable that you feel ugly about yourself and I sometimes do for no reason at all. Luckily, there are some people who make me feel special and who think I’m still hot (applause). I love compliments. But who doesn’t? In addition, most people I meet in KL think I am a student here. I’m ageless. haha.

4. Stress gets the best of me at times. I’ve already planned to resign a million times. Working on a thirteen hour shift really makes me dead tired. The first thing I think of when I reach home after a dayshift is sleep. After a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my colleagues (thanks Geri!), I realized that although dayshift is really like hell only hell is better, night shifts in the office are the best. I could sometimes sleep for four hours straight because there are less calls. Besides, no company in Manila could give me a salary which is at par with what I’m getting here. Happiness is really a state of mind and I choose to be happy.

5. I’m turning a year old in Kuala Lumpur. It seems like yesterday when I had my worries and doubts if I could make it or not. The first week in the hotel made me realize that I was already alone. I hated the silence because it screamed the truth that I was really on my own. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried before. My only regret was, I did not have the chance to cry in the hotel shower while leaning on the wall and slowly sitting down ala soap opera. Perfect.

6. Thank God for the internet. If there’s none, I must’ve been crazy by now. I’m still updated with the most important news and happenings in Manila like Marian Rivera is the new Darna. I could also watch Pinoy shows like Adik Sa’yo, Rosalinda and Ngayon at Kailanman. It’s crazy because I’ve never been a fan of telenovelas. But when you’re abroad and nobody speaks your language, you crave watching tv shows which make you feel closer at home.

7. Blogosphere rocks. I used to maintain a blog in Friendster but I felt like I have to reach a larger audience because I would like to inspire other people the way the other bloggers inspire me. Besides, I am a frustrated writer. I was supposed to take English Journalism as an elective back in high school but due to peer pressure, I took Filipino Journalism (my closest friends enrolled here). It did not make any difference except that English Journalism was more active and the adviser was better.

I also met really kewl people and friends who I’m hoping to keep for life because of the blogosphere. To the people who drop by my site by chance whether they like it or not, to those in my ym list, I could not thank all of you enough. Thank you for the company and the support as well. I will forever be grateful because you’re all part of this chapter in my life. Rye for President. hehe

The best thing that I’ve learned is that, in order to feel very blessed, we should stop comparing our accomplishments to the others. At the end of the day, nobody can tell us if we did an excellent job but ourselves. I never thought for once that being a call center agent will give me the opportunity to work abroad. My colleagues told me before that working for call centers is not the best thing to put in my resume because it won’t bring me anywhere. I proved them wrong. I really did.

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