Sunday, December 10, 2006

Leaving or LIVING?

Posted by Double Y at 3:07 AM
My lunch buddy and I got to talk about life abroad. Made us both wonder why some people would go out of their way just to leave the country and work abroad. I remember my Taiwanese boss telling me that PH is the best place to work, you have all the comforts life can offer. I agree with him, I was born and raised with a yaya all my life. I wake up in the morning,there's breakfast waiting for me, while dressing up I just call on the maid to iron my clothes, pick up a bag and a pair of shoes that matches my outfit, there's always someone to open the gates as I drive out of our parking lot and same goes when I arrive.All the comforts money can buy, you can have it. The sad part though, I dont know how to cook! These things I learn to appreciate during my frequent travels to the US. There I had to cook our food ( fried most of the time!), clean the house, iron and wash my own clothes. No maid will wake you up and prepare all the things you need for the day!

Dont get me wrong though, my sympathy goes to those OFWs who leave the country because they really couldnt find a better paying job here in PH. What I dont understand are those who have a good life already. Take for example the story of my HS buddy and her hubby.She used to be a model and was earning a lot already even when we were still in High school. You'll see her face in a lot of tv ads.Her hubby graduated from DLSU with a degree in Engineering. They got married in Manila, after few months they left for the States. We thought that they'll just be there for their honeymoon. But they ended up overstaying. Now she works as a manager of a fastfood chain while her hubby works as a bell boy at a hotel. They can not go back to Manila simply becoz once they leave the US, they can not go back. Theyve been there for almost 10 years and until now they havent fixed their visas yet. When I met her last year, I was so shy to ask the status of her visa, turned out that they were fixing it years before but unfortunately the first lawyer whom they hired swindled them. I was so tempted to tell her to just go back to Manila and be a model again!

Then there's this girl, fresh from college, has a promising career, left her son at the care of her friends just to be able to get to the US in the hopes of finding a job. How could you leave a child under the care of your friends? Even if she says that the reason why she left is so that she can provide for her son. Why do that if you have the father of your child paying for his needs!I've been raised by my grandparents up until I was in gradeschool, believe me, I missed my parents a lot. I had to contend with my grandma attending all the events in my school all the time. They may say that I am a spoiled brat coz my grandma provided me everything I need and want.But its still different, you miss your parents and you miss growing up with your siblings. Its not all worth it, you may earn a lot, but money isnt everything. A child needs his parents or at least one of them. How could you raise a child when youre offshore? How could you ensure that your child's future will be better, whereas his present is not that clear, whereas you live out of fear that one day someone might report you for overstaying and working without permit?

I was once in that same situation, I was offered a job (with L1 visa) in the US last year. I was prepared to go, plan was to leave my son with his dad for a few years before I get settled in. I remember I was crying the whole time on the plane going back to Manila. Just the thought of leaving him behind is unbearable. The idea of me not being able to see him often , even just for a year , even if I plan to spend my holidays in Manila with him and even if I know when I leave he will be cared for by his father, its really painful. My heart goes to the OFWs who really didnt have much choice but to leave the country otherwise their whole family will die of starvation. But not to those who can find work here, not to those who can afford not to go abroad and leave their loved ones behind. Makes me wonder, maybe, they are just using that as an excuse to escape from responsibility.

I remembered during my last trip, I saw a lot of Filipinos, old ones at that, working at the airport, pushing carts, cleaning toilets. I pity them. I wanted to tell them, "nay/tay, uwi ka na lang satin, hindi mo na kelangan gawin yan, me mga apo ka na magaalaga sayo." Its sad.

As the year ends, I wonder what would life be when I move to the US in the near future. My move is not career-based. In doing so, I will be able to spend the rest of my life with my loved ones. What would life be like moving in a foreign country where you dont know anybody,where you have to do everything on your own, where you dont have friends to count on. I have no choice, I chose him so I have to leave. ....

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