continued from “What’s up, ketchup”…
- On February 20, 2014, I boarded a flight to the Philippines. I will be arriving February 22. I was afraid that many things would have changed since I left even though I’ve only been gone for a year and a half.
- I arrived. I was excited to see my family. As I exited the airport with the cart full of my luggage, I strained my neck and squinted my eyes searching for them. I ended up waiting in one place for about ten minutes, messaging them using an internet website as I do not have a local mobile number. I went to the other waiting place looking for them. One guard approached me and lent me his cellphone so I can call my parents. I was able to contact my dad and lo and behold, they were at my previous location. They came to meet me. I thanked the guard for his kindness and half-walked half-ran towards my dad when I saw him. I was kinda pissed (I know I shouldn’t have been). Apparently, they left the house ten minutes before I landed.
- On the way home, my dad bought pan de sal. Oh how I missed it. Even though it was not warm, I just wanted it badly. I was also looking for taho. Until today, I haven’t had it. I noticed not much has changed. Same old substandard roads. Still has ongoing constructions. Man, those roads must have undergone a gazillion constructions because there’s always one every year.
- We reached home. I missed home. I missed my room. The first thing my sister did was take a photo of me and post it on FB with the captions, “SHE’S BACK… and she’s fat!!” Of course, my friends loved it.
- My friends were messaging me. I felt missed. It’s like that during the hype of the moment. Today, 5 days after I arrived, not many notice the difference.
- The first two days, I felt time was so slow. Maybe I’m just getting used again to the pace of life here. In the US, everything came so fast. Probably because everything was much more convenient and electronically-ridden? By that I mean, internet’s fast that you get lost in it. Netflix and Hulu are there so hours tick by. I even felt I was growing older much more rapidly. Scary.
- Monday came and I went to the LTO to renew my license. At least they don’t require drug test now. I find that just an additional hassle. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never taken illegal drugs (of course when I imply legal drugs, I mean the meds!). It’s just that it takes additional time and it’s annoying. Anyway, I renewed my license. Lucky senior citizens – they didn’t need to fall in line. The application form and medical processes were fast. The photo and signature process was also fast. When it came to the payment and releasing, I don’t know what in the world the cashier was doing – playing solitaire, updating whatnot records, or whatever but she just stopped taking payments for twenty five minutes. People were piling up inside the small A/C-less space and the employees in the payment and releasing seem to not care. This is aside from the fact that they arrived at 9:40 am when the office should be open at 9:00 am. My point is, everything could be done much more efficiently. What’s the point of prolonging it? And why can’t the government update the computer systems so the employees need not use ancient conking ones? Yeah, I should know the answer, I’ve worked there.
- I just found it ironic and funny that I was so scared that everything would have changed when I’m back. I was expecting that I would not recognize the places. Many things have changed, yes. Few things have also changed. I guess this is why Asians seem ageless? Institutions seem to be also stuck in time. It’s the same old, same old Philippines that I remember. Not much has changed.
So as I always say to my sister when I greet her, “What’s up, ketchup?”
- January 11, 2014 was my last post (not counting the first post I have written today). What happened after that? My brother celebrated his birthday and I wasn’t with my family. I was still living abroad, with my cousin and watching the hours tick by. I have met with my boyfriend as often as I can. We decided that we will still be applying for jobs in the US while we are still there. If we do not have jobs until the end of the month, we’d decide to leave the country.
- I was not secretive when I whined repeatedly to anyone who would listen that I want to go back to the Philippines. It has been too lonely – I have been away for far too long. Being unemployed didn’t help either. I was left to my own thoughts most of the nights. I’d keep myself preoccupied by watching Netflix and Hulu. I’ve also revived an old game platform just to keep me busy.
- I started daydreaming about the times when I was back in my country. I remember feeling so happy. It was ironic that in a country where almost every professional wants to leave, I wanted to come back.
- The end of the month came, and I started telling my parents that I’m booking a flight back. My boyfriend suggested we wait a little longer because hiring period had just begun and his dad persuaded him to stay and try more.
- In any country wherein help is limited and visa limitations are not aiding you, it is very difficult to find a job.
- We’ve seen our classmates getting jobs, and we wondered how? Apparently, faking resumes are personally (to them) acceptable, politically accepted and “ethically” okay (because everyone does it anyway). It’s depressing. My boyfriend and I wondered why are we not getting jobs? We have strong resumes. Oh yes, we are not citizens and we do not have green cards.
- Around the first week of February, I booked my ticket. February 20, 2014. I was ecstatic. I remember waking up the next day feeling so jovial because I’m coming home. My own worries caught up to me. As my boyfriend said, the pastures are always greener on the other side.
- I thought, he’s right. What if after all this time, it wasn’t what I thought it was? All those memories before I’m leaving. What if I just chose to feel them because I was lonely where I was?
- I had a feeling of dread. What if my friends are not as I remember they were? What if they changed?
- One of my boyfriend’s friends told him, “Why are you coming back? It will appear like you are a failure because you’ve returned!” His main point was that we came to the US to not only study but to get jobs. However, who would want to sponsor a work visa for us when we don’t even have five years worth of work experience? I have also come to peace with that fact. From the beginning, I never really wanted to stay in the US. I stayed because my boyfriend was staying, and I wanted to tell myself that I have at least tried to get a job. (I should have just stuck with my plan because I kind of regret that decision for some reason.) But as they said, no crying over spilled milk. It was a good experience.
- I also thought, what if I don’t get a job in my country? What if I hated it there?
to be continued…
I know that was a very long title. So many things had happened the past few days. I guess, that’s what life is – so many things happen in your life, you don’t write about it, it gets buried somewhere deep inside your subconscious – that is, until that certain day that you either remember it out of nowhere or someone reminds you of it.
Let me just start with time –
I have a big issue with time. Time is a big pain in the ass. Time is a sadistic life-sucking brutal entity that hounds my days. I’ve always felt I’ve never really had time to do what I want to do. It’s just that the time is never enough for everything. Time management? I know, I know. In an ideal world, there would be no such thing. There would be no time. (Or maybe I would be the best in time management? That’s for another discussion.)
In addition, time also makes me grow old. As time passes, I’m one more day closer to turning another year. I’m also one more day closer to death. It would be really awesome if I could be in Neverland and maybe learn a new skill like swimming or talking to mermaids. Or I could be a vampire – just never grow old. And I don’t mind being a nocturnal creature as long as I’m a sizzling hot lady. I’m blabbing.
I am grateful though, that right now I have some extra time, thus taking advantage of it to write. So prepare your feeds! (Not that I’m gonna write gazillions. I just really wanted to point the “time” thing.