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Sobrang tagal na nung huli kong update dahil as usual, hectic ang schedule. Work, bahay, work lang ang drama ko. Pag night duty naman ay hindi ko alam saan nauubos ang oras ko dahil nabibigla na lang ako, papasok nanaman pala ako ulit. Konti lang naman ang updates sa buhay ko, pero big ang impacts. Ika nga, My small but terribles.

Umuwi ako sa Pilipinas kamakailan. Namatay kasi yung lolo ko nung February 1. Tuwi nalang galing ako sa night duty may bumubungad saking ganung balita e. Nung December din kasi from night ako nang binalita sa amin na naospital yung lolo kasi nadatnan nalang nila sa kwarto na nakatulala at hindi na nagrerespond. Na-stroke yung lolo ko. Naiuwi naman siya sa bahay at naging stable kahit paano, pero hindi na siya makalunok, makapagsalita o makagalaw. Lumipas ang mga araw, hanggang sa nagkaroon na ng mga kumplikasyon hanggang sa dumating ang Feb 1.

Mixed emotions. Siyempre devastated. Nung una hindi ko maabsorb. First time ko mamatayan ng family member at sa unang mga sandali parang hindi ko madefine yung ibig-sabihin ng sentence na “Wala na si tatay” na minessage sa akin ng kapatid ko. Parang… Ha? Eh huling kita ko sa kanya, hinatid pa niya kami sa Taxi nung pumunta kaming airport e. Sabi niya pa sakin habang maluhaluha e “Oh, mag-iingat ka doon sa Dubai ha”, tapos pag-uwi ko hindi ko na siya makikita ulit? Pero at the same time, siyempre, relieved din dahil hindi na siya mag hihirap. Kais kilala ko yung lolo ko e, happy go lucky yun, and principle niya sa buhay ay magpapakasaya siya ng magpapakasaya kasi dadating yung oras na mamatay din naman daw siya, kaya sa tingin ko, hindi niya din gusto yung ganun na nakahiga lang, hindi makakilos at hindi makakain ng mga gusto niya. Sa tingin ko, naenjoy ng lolo ko yung buhay niya, alam kong masaya na din siya ngayon sa taas, walang sakit at walang mga dinadala.

Mamimiss kita tay, hindi ko na maikwento lahat ng kwento tungkol sayo, pero pinaka nakatatak sa utak ko ay yung image na nasa barko kayo ni mama galing Bacolod, bitbit mo ang isang sanggol na sabi ng mga tumitingin ay ‘jutay’, habang pinapaarawan. Hindi ko na-witness yun, pero doon palang sobrang minahal na kita. :)

Romualdo D. Franco

1938 – 2015

Si tatay Romy, lolo yan ng lahat ng bata, kung sinu-sino binibigyan ng barya. Laging nag wawalis sa tapat tuwing umaga, sabay pupunta kung saan para kumain ng lomi tapos minsan bibili pa yan ng lumpiang sariwa tapos bibigyan ako. :) Hindi yan magpapahuli sa outing o gala sa mall, suot agad niyan rubber shoes niya at magpapaligo ng pabango sa katawan. Walang bawal bawal jan, mataba, maalat, matamis o alak pa yan, basta maenjoy niya ang buhay bago pumanaw, yan ang paniniwala niya. Mainitin man ang ulo at malakas ang boses pag nagagalit, mga apo lang niya ang nagpapalambot ulit ng puso niya. Hindi siya perpektong tao, madrama sa buhay at nuknukan ng pasaway pero mahal namin yan at lagi kaming laftrip jan dahil sa mga bloopers niya tulad ng pagkain ng kung anu-ano sa ref na hindi dapat kainin, yung mechado with pineapple yun pala fruitcocktail at yung nawawalang green na sando :) Thirty five years man abutin sa paglalakad, masipag pa din magasikaso ng kung anu-anong papeles at mamili sa palengke. Mamimiss ka namin tay. Thank you sa pamana mong boses sa mga Franco, pero wala na talaga bebenta sa mga Videoke-han tulad mo. Rest in peace Tay, alam kong nandyan ka lang, minsan nakabantay sa mga manok mo, minsan nakabantay sa aming lahat. Labyu Tay. Relax kana jan sa taas :)

A Friendly Reminder for 2015

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Imagine the people in the 18th Century. They had lives, their own beliefs, rules and principles. They have their own fashion and routines and hobbies. They probably even thought that life will go on that way forever. But it didn’t, didn’t it? Fashion changed, televisions became colored (then became 3D), men and women and black and white became almost equal, some of their ‘norms’ became obsolete, scientific facts changed and politics evolved. The 18th Century died and life went on.
You see what I mean by life goes on without you? You have a life that’s different from their set of lives and will be different from the future people’s set of lives. The clock won’t stop, it will keep on changing and evolving.
As you were probably not wearing foil on your hover board on the way to work today, 2015 isn’t as futuristic as the past people thought it would be, Maybe the “futuristic” people will arrive not until the year 3000, or on the year 5980 maybe, or maybe it would never come. Maybe people will decide to keep wearing comfortable clothes made of cotton. Who knows? Nobody knows for sure actually. Because the set of lives we have is different from the set of lives from the past and will be different from the set of lives in the future and life will go on with or without you.

Now that you have internalized your life apart from the past and future, I’ll introduce to you now a new fact. You might not accept it, but know that it is true:
You are nothing.

You are one unimportant human being in the sea of humans on your timeline, let alone from the timeline beginning from the conception of the earth. You are like one little ant making yourself worthy than all the other ants of the world combined. You are small, unidentifiable and irrelevant, and if you die today, the people who know you, up to your 5th degree of connections will probably mourn but beyond that, life goes on, same as how a number of people just died right now and you’re there just doing your regular thing today.

Still following me?

Now that you’ve understand that one fact, I want you to understand another one.
It’s cool if your biggest problem is what’s for dinner or if it’s cure for AIDS and Cancer, what’s important is that at the end of the day you are doing what you want and you are happy. It’s amazing if you’re an ambassador for peace or equal rights or whatever it is that society needs right now, or if you’re a forest scout or a coast scout or maybe just like me, you might not be that grand and is a just a good little helper of the earth who’s only contribution is that she doesn’t litter. And that’s good too. The important thing is that whatever you are doing with your life, you are happy and contented with it. Being a good person is a bonus, helping others, making world changes and self-sacrifices they are just bonuses. Being able to affect others as you pass this lifetime is a bonus. Because after 80 years of your existence, when you finally leave the earth, you probably won’t make a dent in the history books. Nobody has a list of all the people who made the right choices or a list of all the people who always passed their assignments on time. There’s only you, how you used your lifetime, the bunch of people who’s going to miss you and that’s it. The word will go on, sooner or later 2015 will just be part of the 20’s. All the people in the 20’s wil be generalized into what they wore then, what were the major events of those years, what were the biggest disasters or when the wars started and ended. You’ll just become one of the statistics. Nobody will make your biography. Nobody will remember you. You basically do not exist outside of your networks.

Are you seeing life from my perspective? Do you understand my point from all the facts I’ve presented? The quality of life you are going to live depends on you. What you do with it depends on you. Live it, leave it, do what you want, fuck it, become depressed, have 90 cats, it. doesn’t. matter. You will die and you will be forgotten so might as well, might as well, be happy.

Do you grasp what I am telling you right now?
There are things that you see around you that you want to copy. There are inputs from other people telling you what to do with your life, how to do this, when to do that. There are ‘cool’ things you want to try and ‘popular’ things you want to buy so you can impress other people scrolling your social networking site. There are ‘norms’ you should follow and ‘stereotypes’ you need to belong to.
Fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em all.

When you die, these people won’t cram next to you inside your coffin. Think about that.
They will be up there, looking down on you while you are being lowered down to the ground. Why do they mean too much? Why do you need to do things you don’t want to do to satisfy these people?

Do what make you happy. Damn it! I can’t stress this enough.
If you want to sleep this Friday because you’re tired of working, do it.

If you want to read a book at the coffee shop instead of watching a movie, do it.

If you want to buy a Windows phone instead, do it.

If you want to eat ice cream at breakfast or pancakes at night, do it.

If you want to stay single but people keep badgering you about it, fuck them. Do it.

If your friends doesn’t like your partner but he makes you happy, keep him. If you get hurt, own your pain and move on.

It doesn’t really matter you guys, we all die in the end. It sounds pessimistic, but it is actually an optimistic point of view.

The only difference between us and a Cancer patient who only have 2 months to live is that he knows he will die while we are still denying it.

I will repeat.
1. You are not important.
2. You will die.
3. You will be forgotten.
4. Do what makes you happy.
5. Fuck the rest.

If you still can’t see it. Just take a moment to watch this short gif.
Enjoy!

Ciao.

Hitik Sa Bunga Na 2014

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Nung 2014, tapos na ang pagiging Staff Nurse ko sa Jose Reyes. Sa mga oras na yun, meron man akong kaunting salapi, meron na akong madaming oras para makagala. Naghahanap na din ako nun ng bagong trabaho at nagtangka na pumasok ng OsMak bago pumutok ang balita na lilipad na pala ako sa Dubai.

Nung 2014, madami akong naging experience na kung titignan ko ngayon ay hindi ko ipagpapalit sa kahit ano. Dito nabuo at tumibay yung pagkakaibigan naming tatlo at ang relationship namin ng The Boyfriend. At yung mga oras na yun yung pinaka masasayang araw sa buhay ko ngayon. Iba kasi yung memories at time mismo ang ininvest mo e. Tipong movie marathons, sound trip tambay, over nights, inuman hanggang magliwanag, walang katapusang kwentuhan at tawanan at mga sweet private moments na ang sarap maulit muli. Iba pag bonding moments ang binuo mo kasi, ilang taon man ang lumipas, mababalik balikan mo ‘to. Kahit di na siya maulit talaga, sa isip at sa puso mo, alam mo yung pakiramdam nung mga panahong iyon at pag binalikan mo, magisa man o ksma yung mga kasama mo noon, parang naranasan mo na siya ulit.

Nung taon na yun, sa kabila ng lahat ng saya at kalayaan, dumating sa puntong nagdala din siya ng luha. Kalagitnaan ng taon, napag planuhan na aalis na ako ng bansa para dito na magtrabaho sa Dubai. Ang dami man nang araw na ginamit ko para magipon pa ng oras kasama yung mga mahal ko ay hindi pa rin ako nito naihanda. Kahit ako yung tipo ng tao na madaling maka adapt sa new environment, ramdam ko pa din yung lungkot at pangungulila lalo na nung lumipas na yung Denial Stage. Syempre first time ko aalis ng bansa e. Pero syempre, sobrang swerte ko pa din kasi hindi lahat ng umaalis e may kasamang kapamiya. Ako, kasama ko pa mama ko. Mula pag alis dito, sa pag lilibot para maghanap ng trabaho at ngayon na may trabaho na ako, kasama ko siya. Ngayon pa lang kami bumabawi ng mga nawalang oras at dahil din dun, doble doble ang pasasalamat ko.

Nung 2014 ang dami kong mga bagay na kailangan kumpletuhin, gawin, lagpasan o ipasa. At lahat yun sa awa ng Diyos, nagawa ko. At ilang araw na lang bago pa matapos ang Visa ko, nakahabol pa ako ng isang interview at nagkaroon pa ako ng trabaho. Sa dami ng blessings na natanggap ko nung 2014, hindi ko na alam paano pa ako magpapasalamat sa Diyos. Minsan nahihiya na ako humiling sa kanya kasi dali-dali niyang binibigay. Lahat ng napag daanan ko, hindi ko man makita noon kung bakit, ngayon ko naman na realize yung buong plano niya. Kahit maliliit na detalye, nakita ko kung saan ko nagamit o kung bakit kailangan mangyari. Dito ko din talaga naatunayan na magtiwala lang tayo sa nasa taas, hindi niya tayo papabayaan. Madali kasing mag doubt pag hindi umaayon sa mga plano natin ang mga bagay e, pero ang hindi natin na iisip ay hindi lang naman tayo ang nagpaplano e. Kung magtitiwala tayo sa Kanya, makikita mo na yung pinaplano niyang kwento para sa buhay mo ay wala pa sa kalingkingan ng naisip mong plano sa buhay mo.

Sobra ang blessed at sobra akong thankful kay Lord para sa 2014 ko.
At ngayong 2015, excited ako sa kung ano ang naghihintay para sa akin. Madaming panahon din akong na depress dahil hindi na umaandar ang buhay ko noon, pero ngayon na nagsisimula na ako, hindi ako makapag hintay kung anu-ano pa sa mga pangarap ko ang matutupad.

Ang dasal ko lang para sa 2015 ay sana, hindi ako magbago at ang mga tao sa paligid ko dahil lang sa kumikita na ako ng pera. Sana maging kuntento pa din ako sa payak na pamunuhay, kahit magkaron man ako ng bagong gamit o makakain ng bagong mga pagkain, sana makuntento pa din ako sa kung ano ang meron ako at hindi mawala sa paningin ko kung saan ba talaga nahuhugot ang tunay na saya. Dasal ko na syempre, gabayan pa din ako ni Lord para gumawa ng tama at pumili ng tama. At sana wag ko makalimutan na kausapin Siya at magpasalamat lagi sa Kanya.

At ganun din ang dasal ko sa 2015 ninyo.
Happy New Year :)

How am I, You Asked?

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If somebody would ask me if I’m fine then I’ll probably lie. Fine is a huge word. I think, ‘getting by’ is a more appropriate term for my life’s chapter right now. Some days I get really burnt out by my work that’s eating 18 hours of my day — 2 hours to prepare, 1 hour transportation to work, 12 hours of work, 1 hour of transportation back home and 2 hours to prepare my uniform and myself again for the next day. The other 6 hours is for sleeping, but of course, I still have my family, friends and loved ones who also needs my time so I don’t get the 6 hours recommended sleep. That is 24 hours in one day, same routine everyday. If you don’t start look for socialization and deviation from that then check your body for hidden ports because you might be robot.

Granted that I’m a private nurse, and I only have one patient and you might say that that’s not tiring at all, and I won’t contradict you, every job in this earth has their own challenges. For me, it’s relating with the family. I’m in a new country where English is not the main language, the language barrier is my first stressor. It hard to help someone you don’t understand. Does he have pain? Does he need water? Blanket? Is he telling me to get the fuck away? At first I had no idea, (Try talking to animals, that’s literally how it was for me.) but after a month, I’m glad to report that I’ve learned a bunch of new words and I’m happy because of that. I am still at a loss with long sentences and paragraphs so if they’re saying ‘This stupid nurse looks like a monkey’ to my face, I’d probably be still smiling at them. That reminds me. There was an incident that happened recently.

The family had pet birds. One day, one bird escaped. They were talking about it when my patient and I got out of his room from an afternoon nap. The Mother of The House told me about the bird and asked me to look in the box inside the cage to check how many are left. Now, this is how I understood what she was saying so I went to the cage, lift the flap of the box through the small bars and confirmed to her that yes, one bird was missing (also, there was a cute little egg inside, but I didn’t tell her that).
The event passed.
The next day, The Mother of The House was mad at me about something I did or did not do (as usual) and was telling me about the bird again, the whole time, my face was questioning her because for the love of God, I already told her that I don’t speak Arabic and she keeps on talking to me about these things! She’s saying that it costs a Thousand Dirhams and something about a salary. Now, the way I understood what she was saying was — The bird costs a Thousand Dirhams and if you will fuck this up, we’ll just buy a bird than pay your salary. Sounds reasonable enough. So the day, again, went by. Two weeks came and I was with my patient in his room for his afternoon nap when suddenly The Begotten Son came and berated me. BERATED ME. He’s shouting at me about how he doesn’t want his things to be touched and I don’t have the right to touch or check anything and my only job in that house was his father. His monologue took about five minutes before he told me that The Mother of The House, The Lying Servant (already in jail for stealing something) and Waldo (because of his beanie) The House Boy said that I was the one who opened that cage and let the Thousand Dirham fucking bird fly away. The next time I touch any of his things, he will call my office and take the Thousand Dirhams from my salary. His booming voice rattled the room.

Dear readers, I will give you time to digest this.

Within those two weeks before this confrontation, I was ignorantly walking around the house with a hatchet on my head for something I did not do. I was shocked. When he told me this, I was really shocked. So that was the reason why his butt was on fire. And the whole time I was thinking that maybe, he just want to establish ground rules. When I protested and swore that I NEVER touched that cage, he went out of the room unconvinced.  I cried. I cried for a good five minutes before I composed myself and talked to Waldo The House Boy. It was a hard conversation because of the language barrier but I got what I needed. It was The Lying Servant that told the story and The Mother of The House believed her. The Begotten Son believed them. And The Monkey who doesn’t know how to speak Arabic got the beating.

I talked to The Working Daughter about what had happened that day and miraculously, she believed me and she also thought that it was The Lying Servant who did it. She said that she’ll talk to her brother about it and for me not to worry. She sounded really concerned and gentle, maybe because I started to cry and kept myself from crying and my voice sounded cut and weird. She said she believed me, so I had no choice but to believe her. After that day, we never spoke of it again and I never spoke a word to The Begotten Son again. I am not sorry.

Esprit de l’escalier — The French phrase, literally translated as “The spirit of the staircase”, which refers to all the things you realize you should have said after a heated conversation has ended.
(Source: sabotagetimes.com)

I would have said that I am a Registered Professional Nurse from two countries. I did not waste my money on my education, pass a 500-item exam in my country and another 70-item exam given by your country to be treated this way. I do not (fucking) appreciate it at all. I understand that you are short of help these days (because you’re monsters and nobody can stay too long with you) so if your mother needs help in the kitchen I’ll help her, if she needs some clothes to be folded, I’ll do it. I’ll help as long as my work is done with your father even if we are not allowed to do these things, because I also have an overworked grandmother at home so I feel sorry about your (crazy) mother, but I am not your (Goddamned) servant. You are not my boss. Your father is not even my boss.
I may look like a child to you, but I am not stupid (I might even be smarter than you). I have enough marbles not to open your birds’ cage or any (fucking) bird cage for that matter. I have no purpose for that and I am not interested in holding a bird in my hand. If it were a puppy, maybe I would have, but a bird, I don’t think so. Next time, before you brilliantly march into this room and humiliate yourself, maybe you should check your sources first. If my professional career would be jeopardized because of your stupidity, as much as I have learned to love you father, as moody as he is, I guess it’s better if I get assigned to another family. You’re not the only family in Dubai and I will not tolerate being shouted at for no reason (other than your idiocy, you imbecile, of course.)

Of course, there was no time for me to make up all that awesome speech and save my dignity so when he left, I just cried.
I tried so hard to contain myself and went on with my day.
Even on the ride home, I was still keeping it inside me.
I never told my mother when I got home.

A private nurse, yeah. That’s not tiring at all, one might say, and I will not contradict him.

The language barrier is crumbling enough for me to understand my patient, that’s what’s important — that I know what he needs. I’m getting by.
If The Mother of The House tells me to do one thing today and yells at me to do the exact opposite thing the next day after following yesterday’s rules, I’ll get by.
If I get asked to lift the sofa or the table once a month, I’ll get by.
If I celebrate this coming New Year sitting in the room waiting for the next hour so my patient can properly urinate in the bathroom, I’ll try my best to get by.
If I have to wait for two years before I reclaim my dignity, I’ll probably get by.
Because I have dreams and I have responsibilities and we gotta do what we gotta do. Right?

So if you ask me how I am, I’ll probably lie to you.

Long Distance Relationsip

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The truth is I was scared. I was scared that I would be fooled and lied to again. I was scared that in my absence, I would be forgotten. I was scared that the awful things playing in my mind would finally materialize the moment I lose sight of him. That was why I never believed in long distance relationships. I’ve seen too much and went through so much that it’s hard for me to believe that there’s a way one person can be hopelessly devoted to you and your partnership.

LDR is hard. I won’t shit you. Heck, relationships alone is hard!
A large percentage of LDRs usually end in tears and that is a known fact. It’s like getting through a disease, like, let’s say Dengue Fever. People can recover from it but people can also die from it, depending on how the disease was managed. LDRs are the same thing. The end result would depend on you, on your partner and on the both of you working together. It actually just boils down into how much you love each other. That’s the secret, I think. If you love each other enough that you can’t stomach to like any other human being, then you’re halfway into winning it.

The Boyfriend and I have been away for 5 months now and we are getting by. We had already fought of course, about time and schedule and keeping updates with each other but we always end in a good discussion on what we should do next time and how to make the relationship better.

We are both expressive with our feelings — we say it to each other, we send it through small gestures and we show it physically. That’s what we miss first and foremost, our physical connection. We often hug, kiss and cuddle, so when that was out of the picture we were like addicts on withdrawal. If you’ve ever craved for a specific kind of food for so much at one time, then you know how we feel, only we cannot call a hotline and ask for delivery or visit the grocery for a fix. We don’t have a fix.

The best thing that I love about us is that we have an open line of communication, we can tell anything to each other even if it might hurt, and when we fight we can calmly talk about the problem at hand and how to resolve it — towards the end of the fight anyway. So, naturally, we talked about how we can substitute what we had with what we have now. Communication, as you might already all know, is the only thing you can supply in place of hugs and kisses. We set up schedules on when we can talk and adjust them accordingly depending on each other’s schedule. We keep each other updated on what’s happening with our day and we stay connected everyday. We play online multi-player games with each other and watch our series together, all via the God given gift — Skype. We also have this one tradition before that we had carried over and that is to sleep at the same time while keeping our Skype open. We talk at night and keep the line on until we both fall asleep and the connection terminates on its own or miraculously stay on until we wake up the next day. That’s my favorite tradition of ours actually. When his sleepy voice tells me “good nights and I love yous” and the sound of his steady breathing, the noise on his environment and the static on the line feels like we are together on our own third space and in those moments I both feel sad of longing and happy of having something special to share with someone equally special.

Yeah we have our differences, and we’ve had fights but we also have something that gives us strength to keep holding on to what we have. Something that keeps the flame alive even on the most windy days.

But… Am I still scared?
YES. Of course.
Scared not that he might replace me or betray my trust, but scared that we might get used to the distance that we forget the things that connects us. Scared that I might fade in the background as his life goes on and scared that I might only become the voice on the telephone. And these things grip me, as much as he assures me all the time, it still gets me. These fears on the background, leashed at the back of my mind, howling from time to time.

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