Sunday, November 06, 2005


Eid Mubarak!

The end of Ramadan signals renewal in the Muslim religion --- where the body and spirit are cleansed of impurities and the believer faces another year of trials. In Islam, there is no place but to surrender your SELF to a higher force --- for in its very name "to submit," Islam is more of a community religion than Christianity ever aspires to be.

But that's nitpicking, and as a heterodox Christian myself, I have no right to pontificate.

I'll space out for a few moments and reflect on what has happened to me while I have been here in the Middle East. The months of discovery have long passed and now it is a struggle not to be possessed by ennui. My initial reactions and impressions have been largely validated (or debunked, in a few minor cases), and in any case, I haven't written anything outside the OFW canon.

Life in the Middle East is a challenge to get used to, but once you get acclimated to it, it tends to become boring.

But hey, if I had wanted excitement, I would have taken the hard-knocks route to success here - either participating in, or being the instrument/victim/dupe of, illicit or immoral activities, or both. Or all of the above. Life is too short for us to bother with trifles, isn't it? (Kidding!)

This year I was hoping I could top the good 2004 that I had --- only to find that I am still working on last year's fumes. This could be dangerous, as there are rumblings that we will face job cuts --- while I am no slouch myself, my portfolio can be easily deemed "non-essential." I have also established myself as a sure-fire non-favorite of my Filipino boss. My fault entirely of course, though sometimes I give in to immature thoughts that he shouldn't play favorites... and then reality steps in and gives a firm slap: of course he should! He's human, after all!

Well, if and when I do end up getting the pink slip come this March, I've been a realist enough to gather as many back-up plans as I may be able to use. It's a survival mechanism from the old days when I was more job-shopping than holding down a permanent job. I don't want to leave this job - the pay is o.k. (of course there could always be more), I found some good friends, and so far I am still learning. The hard part really is that this may all end when I have just gotten people to accept my existence.

But there's no healthy ending to indulging in "what if's." Should that day come, like the professional that I am honing myself further, I will walk out with no regrets. I did enough for the job, and if they wanted more, well, they should take a reality check, given what they were paying, the work culture we were besmirched in, and what resources we were provided to accomplish the job.

Sigh... those words had to be said. Then they become part of the reality in which I choose to work. As if there is permanent positivity. Fat chance, buddy -- you need a little more growing up to do. Transience, transience is the theme of this life I have chosen, more so than any other lifestyle choice I have made in the last five years.

Things, though, have been looking over the past half-month or so. I arrested a few of my bad habits, got my groove to somewhat-normal levels, and lit a fire of urgency somewhere in my bowels. That's where the romance of discontent can bring you, dude. Excitement in the ride means creating a few moments of personal hell.

The pretension! The grand degree of it all! --- Oft-times I have to slap myself a little more to wake me up. This universe doesn't revolve around me --- it just feels that way, everyday.

But I love this life. As far as it goes, this is the best I have felt about myself for more than 10 years. Finally, this is a place where I can belong. Uprooted as I may be from the Philippines, I am more at home here in Saudi Arabia than anywhere else.

That is the gift transience has given to me.

I will light a candle of remembering in my heart for those who have passed. Papa, how I wish you're still around. You may not be altogether happy with what I cobbled together with my life, but at least it's mine.

No comments: