December 18, 2016 — the date when I last set my feet on the Arabian grounds I lived for 26 months.
When you hear the word “holiday” in Saudi Arabia, there are only three events in the minds of the majority of the population. Those would be the end of Ramadan (also known as Eid al-Fitr), Eid Al Adha, and Saudi National Day. Don’t worry if you have no idea about them. Up to now, I’m still not so familiar with these event names. I consulted Google for the correct spelling (of course, except for the Saudi National Day, spellchecker will handle that).
One of the benefits of living in an unknown culture is I appreciate more the culture I grew up since birth.
Last Sunday, I finally celebrated Christmas in the Philippines. I finished my two-year contract in Saudi Arabia and filed an exit. No more plans of coming back. I’ll try other countries. I want to experience another culture that’s way different from mine. Again.
We all experienced one way or the other how it’s hard to do things that we planned ourselves. Instead of studying, we watched television or YouTube. We’re online in Facebook Messenger instead of doing that overdue thesis.
I finally met most of my relatives and some of my friends. I admit this makes me think not to write a blog post. Make an exemption just for this week. But, I remember how I felt when I abandoned my blog for more than a year. I also wrote last week consistency is better than cleverness.
This article is my weekly due to my commitment — post in my blog every Wednesday. Perhaps also to my ego. To tell myself I did what I told myself I should do. Even if nobody cares except me.
I spent 26 months of my life in Saudi Arabia. Two days ago, I finally set my feet on the ground of my homeland — the Philippines.
I don’t know how to tell you enough all my experiences in Saudi Arabia. My life journey in the middle of the desert pushed myself to the limits. The physical and emotional struggles are painful to bear.
Too painful I had to hold on to my faith. Which is good by the way.
“It is in the ordinary events of every day that we develop the proactive capacity to handle the extraordinary pressures of life” ~From Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”
Laundry + Podcast = Life Changing Education, huh?
Oops, I can’t help myself to put equation for this blog post. I’m an engineer after all. An odd kind of engineer.
“When you say ‘yes’ to others make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” —Paulo Coelho
Everyone knows there are times it is tough to say “no” to someone. There are also times we hate it when people say “no” to our demands. We felt rejected, right?
I’ll tell you my recent story. The freedom and consequences of this two-lettered word.
My job contract was already finished last October. I should be blogging already in the comforts of my home country.
Before I work here in Saudi Arabia, I’m already blogging. In fact, I lose count how many did I abandon already. For now, this blog is the only one I’m updating.
I work ten hours a day. For six days a week. That’s already a lot of time. Sometimes, I work even more.
It doesn’t even include the time I take for other important things. Laundry. Iron-pressing of clothes. Cooking. Taking a bath. Buying foods in the market.
In my last blog post, I mentioned how I computed my remaining free time.
I can remember as if it was yesterday. Day one as Overseas Filipino Worker.
I arrived at the Dammam Airport. I saw different people from different countries. All are hopefuls of taking a bite of this huge cake of opportunity called “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
After several months it hit me. Life here is not a piece of cake.
As many had experienced, I lose count of how many times I thought of quitting. I doubted myself. I regret coming here.
I ask myself some questions. Can I really survive working here? For the money, was it all worth it?
I know from the people I spoke here. Both Filipino and non-Filipinos. Working here is same as signing up for military school. Okay, I might be exaggerating. This I’m sure, though, toughness is a must.
I dedicate this list to Filipino men. Especially those I encountered in the construction sites. They’re the real tough guys.
Today I just want to make this post a little bit shorter than my previous ones. This time I go straight to the point.
Looking back, telling my life stories with anyone is already daunting to me. First, I’m too shy. Second, I don’t believe I’m an interesting person.
I’m one of those who is always in pretension of texting someone on the phone to survive the crowd. Somehow, I understand people who hesitate to talk to anyone. Much more share their most hidden broken stories.
Today, I’m still struggling. My biggest proof? I never say to anyone I have a blog to share my life on the World Wide Web.
I’m quite a hypocrite. I put in my About Page I created this blog so my friends and relatives could get in-touch with me. Yet, even my roommates have no idea.
In my head, I can hear a voice saying “Duh? Keep-in-touch? Hello? Do you know the meaning of social media? Why not go online and type ‘Hello’?” I did. Once in a while.
All expatriates I talked to here in Saudi Arabia came here for work. I never find anyone whose purpose is to have a missionary volunteer work. No one works here for free. Yet, there are some who did but not voluntarily. Unfortunate ones got delayed salaries or none at all. Some got paid, but with deducted working hours, vanished from thin air. Or say vanished from someone’s thick wallet. Some even mistreated with verbal and physical abuse.
Every pursuit has its own benefits and risks. Many people, including me, came here without knowing what we’re up to. Well, how can we know? Same as all the expatriate workers here, I already carried my own weights of heavy loads. I’m always thankful to God for protecting me from taking unbearable sufferings.