Thursday, December 4, 2008

MMK... the movie in my mind, my dubai (final)

my last days at my company were certainly bitter-sweet. though i relished the fact that i would now be free from the anguish of suffering a slow professional death, it however saddened me greatly that i would leave so many people behind in the process, people who now occupied a very special place in my heart. despite the many who resigned, our company was quick to fill in the many vacancies, and then some. by the time i left, we had new blood who came from jordan, syria, india, yemen, south africa and manila as well. hopefully they would fare better than i.

on my final day at work, my office threw a dinner in my honor. a pinay cook was called to cater us pinoy food, something through the months, even the non-pinoys grew to love and long for. my senior, didi, also got me a cake from a local bakery, the one she knew i always lust after, especially when i have a bad day. before she got me to slice the cake, she asked that i give a few parting words. i recall saying that i was thankful. thankful for all the support, the love and the experience that they had given me. i told them that though dubai was rough, that work was harrowing, and life was lonely, having them all around and seeing them day in and day out somehow made all these more manageable. it was an honor to have been surrounded by such gifted people and that the memories i had with them, i will cherish forever. hearing myself utter these words of goodbye made me realize how much i loved my new family and as i stood in front of my delicious cake.... i cried (in true drama queen fashion).


emotions at my flat too were proving to be difficult to handle. the three by three box that i have called my home all these months was my sanctuary. here i escaped from the mess of the outside to replenish my stores in peace. this is where i cooked to relax, where i blogged (thanks to some neighbors unrestricted wifi) to document my day, where i shared my life with my two best friends, my girls.... my lovely, lovely girls.

kay and jane. dubai tested them as well. though they had their share of giving me stress and hurt, i greatly relied on their friendship to survive. the ties we developed, the experiences we shared during those days have seen a solidifying of bonds that neither land nor sea can now limit. their company was a source of strength and the moments we would have together, a source of joy. mcdonald's at 3am, long walks in the park, grocery shopping, long drives, sleep overs in JBR, sitting quietly on the beach while staring out into the arabian sea, these were only some of countless other more instances of dubai with my girls that i turn to whenever i feel down. they make me smile, still efficacious even after so long.

the day of my departure almost came at an instant. in the days leading to it, i saw myself in a mad rush to pack in everything i needed to do before i leave. i had to settle accounts, buy gifts, endorse my work, say my proper farewells. i could not wait to leave for home yet it left me with much regret that i did not have more time to spend with the people i loved and cared for. even though i spent almost everyday i could in their company, it still did not feel enough. i felt that it still could not meet up to what i wanted to tell them, of how much i appreciated all that they have given me, of how much i wanted to give back to them. it was however, time.

on november 17, i flew out of the desert and went back home to the islands from which i came, ending a chapter in my life.


dubai is a city-state set in the cusp of the arabian peninsula. it boasts itself as the world's fastest growing city, its fast paced development, envied by many. yet underneath all of this vision of prosperity lies the real dubai for the city is not the buildings or the beaches or the malls. the city is the people who built it. the kings, the bosses, the seniors, the subordinates, the workers. their lives, their stories is what dubai is built on. its human resource is the dynamo that generates the dream as well as the materials that built dubai to what it is today. yet, this is not what the world sees and this is not what dubai projects itself as, as well. for the world (only) sees the buildings and the beaches and the malls, leaving the real dubai hidden, ignored, abused, forgotten.

but i will not be hidden. neither will i choose to forget or be forgotten.

in closing, i went back to a post i wrote on my birthday, my last in the desert city when i found myself reflecting on the year that was. it capsulized a great portion of what i took with me when i left, and what i take with me still as i move on with my life, dubai forever etched in my memory.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

the beginning

today is my birthday and i took a day's off from work just to extend my weekend. it was supposed to be for me to reassess my life. you know, consider how i lived my life this past year and what i should do starting today. well, it's 5pm right now and i really haven't given myself time to think about all of these things. either this is the melodramatic me talking again or im realizing that im just a floater.

anyway, i still have time before this day comes to an end and might as well grab the opportunity to do what i was supposed to do. fortunately for me, i can blog about this, that way, i have proof i actually did what i was set to do. those of you who are tired of hearing my incessant psycho-babble and what-nots, be forewarned, this is not the entry for you.

the year has been quite interesting to say the least. i am celebrating my second birthday in a foreign country with laws and culture that is totally different from my own. things have been rough, but eventually presented themselves to be quite manageable. i made friends and have lost some as well. i gained the respect of some and have fallen out of ppls contact lists as well. but such is life i guess, wherever you may be.

dubai has been hard but then again, i think it needed to be. i would not think i lived a pampered life, though i can say that i was sheltered. living in dubai for the past year has made me witness the harshness of what the world can offer, all the ugliness one can experience, from poverty, to racism. it however also made me exercise patience, and humility, and compassion. dubai is not only rich of material wealth, but it also is rich of stories. stories of ppls endurance, of love, of honor, pain and loss. more apparent and accessible than when i was back home. maybe because i am now part of the same pool of people where these stories of humanity are made.

dubai taught me courage. courage to stand up and take on responsibility. not to be afraid of mistakes and to share ones opinion. it taught me of the value of teamwork and that one man cannot be as good as two. it taught me that in desperate situations, that i can be strong and that i also have friends in whom i can rely on. i learned that despite our differences, it should never be a hindrance for us to be friends. i have become friends with indians, pakistanis, egyptians, jordanians, palestinians, emiratis, south africans, british, australians and turks. quite a feat i must say since i rarely talk to foreigners.

i am stronger after a year, wiser to certain degree. fatter to my dismay but that can be easily remedied. i have learned so much and have now developed an appetite of fighting mediocrity. why settle for being a so-so when theres a potential to be something more. if it seems unachievable, at least have a blast trying.

i have posted now 50 hings i would like to do before i meet my creator. how much time i have left is up to the Lord. how much of that i would actually do is up to me and by golly, im gonna try my best to do all of them,

happy birthday to me. the Lord has been merciful and has showered me with grace for my timely help. despite all the crap that i had gone through, i was never abandoned and have become stronger because of it all. now i start again, with new found faith, with new found hope of what the future has in store for me. i shall turn my sail to catch the divine wind and have the Lord lead me on.

Lord, thank you for all that you have done. Thank you for Your faithfulness and Your patience.

i now wonder where im off to next.
posted by jamie da vinci!



Mugen said...

It was a good read from start to finish, bitter sweet, very human and it painted a picture which, only a few of us who have been there could perfectly relate.

Hayan lalo tuloy akong nawalan ng gana mangibang-bansa. Now that you have exorcised your demons, the question is what comes next. :)

wanderingcommuter said...

i must agree with mugen...

too many emotions that i ended up asking myself the same things as well...

so nasa ibang bansa ka pala...

hampey bewtdey po sa iyo!

dazedblu* said...

Whoa, this must be an effort to write, to read, and to claim that someone like you have discover the darkside of taking chances.

Oh btw happy birthday :)

Dhon said...

Nice work!Kudos on that!

BTW, i linked you into my site! i hope you will also!


jamie da vinci! said...

thanks guys, but i do certainly hope that my story won't quell your wishes to find better opportunities. this was my experience when i took the risk. though life was indeed rough, i still got something from it, valuable life lessons and bigger BALLS :)

i just wanted to show people what reality is out there. i seem to have noticed, especially with workers who fly to the middle east, they arrive dreamy-eyed and enchanted with the possibility of what they will be earning with no idea of what such aspirations would cost. i can't really blame them tho since i doubt any agency here would tell them what to really expect when they get there. that certainly would be bad for business.

but this IS reality. it is not bad to dream, just that be prepared and be wise. know that all good things are costly and that we have to be willing to sacrifice a little to be able to afford it.

though my story may not necessarily be their experience (since ppl do prosper naman) i believe it was still a story worth telling.

thanks guys again for accompanying me back into my past. it was good to look back despite the hardships. but the past is the past, and its time to focus my sight again to what lies before me :)

BTW... i'm still here :) and it's not my birthday, but thanks for the greetings anyway. hehehe, walang gift? ahahahaha!