02 February 2010

four years hence

time flies fast when you're having fun. or when you've been really caught up in work. or when you've been going places you'd only read about in books. or when you're slowly making your dreams come true. or when you're having the pinoy ofw experience of hard work, missing family, enduring heartaches, and making new friends. time indeed flies fast.

four years ago this month, i quit my job, packed my bags and said goodbye to my family in manila to try my luck here in singapore. i was welcomed by friends who came here ahead of me. when i got to singapore, there was a party, which was thrown not because i'd arrived, but for some reason i'd long forgotten (someone please remind me).

this was a preview of things to come. for in singapore, this is how we bide the time. in trying to forget how much we miss our families back home, we have gatherings and in the process, make a family of friends bound by the highs and lows of being ofws.

that first year, i learned a lot. lessons learned:

1) nasi lemak is good, but it will cause an almost immediate weight gain. i gained about ten pounds in my first month, because i told my manager i liked it, and she proceeded to bring it almost everyday to the office during that week we had a big production issue (this presumably was to make up for the fact that we worked almost 24 hours straight for at least a week). four months into the job, no amount of nasi lemak could make me stand the stress at that office. i quit and got a new job. nasi lemak stayed out of my vocabulary for a long time, until recently when i tasted the ones sold in tanjong katong road.

2) when depressed, a good make over will do wonders to boost your confidence. try perming your hair, for instance. or dyeing it a totally different color. the picture below was taken right after i got the dye job. i tell you, that was a long session at the salon, not to say a bit painful. i spent the next couple of months figuring out how to maintain it, until i finally got too lazy and grew it out.

3) explore the place you're working and living in. sure, you're here to work and earn all that moolah to probably get married and build your dream house. but try to break out of the home-office routine once in a while and do something different. in singapore, i learned to appreciate art and museums. it's a good break from facing the computer screen all the time. for example, try to ponder on the reasons why there is a giant chilli lying at the nms grounds.

4) singapore is a good jump off point to anywhere around asia. do not underestimate the thereapeutic effects of travelling. there are a lot of cheap airlines operating here, so you can take your pick of the different destinations. again, it's a nice break from the monotony of life and stresses of work.

visit hongkong to fulfill that childhood dream of seeing mickey mouse in person

or go to cities in nearby malaysia. like malacca

or kuala lumpur
5) and whatever experience you have as a worker living in a foreign land, be it happy or sad, don't forget that there will be friends who will share that with you. they will keep you sane during the times you think you're going crazy.

a lot of changes have happened since that first year. some friends have left singapore, some are married (and i must say, an awful lot are getting married!), some have kids already. some i rarely see these days. but in looking back, i don't think i would have survived the craziness of 2006 if i didn't meet these wonderful people.

kampai! here's to four more years (a big maybe at this point). but whatever, let's continue to enjoy the time we have here.
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