Saturday, August 7, 2010

Feels Like the First Time

I just came back from a month long vacation in the Philippines after depicting for over two years a hero's role in a foreign land. Don’t be confused, I didn’t fight in the Iraq war or acted as a reincarnation of Dr. Jose Rizal in a Broadway musical. The guts to call myself a hero isn’t something I bravely bequeathed myself but rather a reinstatement of the feeling that I have experienced during my short homecoming. Yes, I was given more than a hero's welcome by people I loved and leaving the Philippines with such a thought seems a little uneasy to overcome, it feels like, I am heading out home for the very first time.

As a hero, any endeavor, or for this matter, getting back to normal shouldn't in any way be excruciating. But because we are heroes without superpowers or magical domination, having our strength lies purely in the nobility of our hearts makes us so vulnerable especially when this "getting back to normal" isn’t normal after all. Leaving your family behind isn’t normal. Doing a job inferior to your degree isn’t normal. Sacrificing half of your life battling boredom and melancholy from being far away from home isn’t normal. These kinds of things fierce through the heart and starting over isn’t a just a soft cake to swallow. Even real heroes have hearts, what more for us little and unheralded.

This marked the third time that I have left the Philippines to work abroad. Think I already got over those dramatic goodbyes and the unending thought of missing home, oh well, not really, I am still stuck in that capsule and though it's been weeks already since my feet is back in the sands of Dubai, that weird feeling still lingers and I couldn’t count the days when I don’t think of home, family and friends. The one month that I stayed with them is so fleeting yet compacted it made me felt like I have never left. The entire days that I was absent from their eyes were compensated by that brief stay where my mother cooked all my favorite dishes. The laughter and excitement exuded by my family to have me back home, ephemeral though, was enough to absolve my two years of not sharing dinner with them, two years of watching Kapamilya series all by myself and two years of fulfilling, at least for a part, that noble dream of providing them the best in life no matter what it cost.

My heart is bruised but is healing as time goes by. Quaint isn’t it? But like all other things, it takes time to get settled. The heart that misses is the same armor that shields the dreams from slipping away. When you think of heroes, greatness, strength and agility comes to mind. We OFWs embody the same thing, only we apply it not in the grandest scale to merit a page in history or a statue in a fenced perimeter. Our greatness lies in exerting our best efforts to work and be of help to our loved ones back home, even if it equates to countless sacrifices and pains and inevitable prejudices. When I came home, my family made me felt like a hero. I have never had a pedicure in my entire life, but I just did courtesy of my sister.

These things make goodbye even sadder, leaving behind the real normal: friends around, a complete family, a happy home. But that is the main essence of our heroism, SACRIFICE, giving our lives to something bigger than ourselves.


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