Eye for an Eye?

Just when everything seemed right with the world, things began to fall apart.

I know I’ve been gone for some time, at first I was merely busy with work (piles of paperwork left and right) then something  bit more dramatic distracted me.

Once upon a time, around seven months ago, I hurt him pretty badly. I thought I was going to lose him. Rather than keeping my shame a secret, I decided to let him know… nobody deserves to be left in the dark.

I was ready to take it all, all the curses, all the shame. I was ready to do anything and everything he wanted to make it alright. He said he forgave me and that we can move on. Needless to say I was the happiest girl in the world. Being given a second chance was bliss.

Though I was forgiven I punished myself everyday. I was not able to forgive myself. Sending him money from my own pocket even though it was against my parents’ wishes, staying up late/waking up too early just to match his time, even bought him a new phone (sure it’s just a Cherry Mobile, but hey). I became a “Sugarmommy,” something I always feared of becoming.

I thought everything was finally going back to normal. Until 7th of December, in the middle of a working day,  I received a Facebook Message from a girl who shall be henceforth known as “Jejewhore.”

Jejewhore: May I ask a question?

Me: Who are you?

Jejewhore: Are you still together with “The Lamp”?

Me: Why do you ask? Who is this?

Jejewhore: I’m his girlfriend.

Me: I find that hard to believe. Coz obviously I’m his girlfriend, for the past four years.

Jejewhore: We’re gonna be celebrating our first anniversary on January.

January…

January…

motherf*ckin JANUARY.

I gave him a call, hoping with all my heart that it was some sick prank that got out of hand.

As I was calling him, I checked out Jejewhore’s FB page. Waddya know, PHOTOS of him and her. Great.

He told me he knew the girl, but denied (of course) that they had a thing. It was very hard to believe him with the picture haunting my screen. Pictures that were, by the way, taken in his house… his family’s house.

I’m not even gonna mention how much I spent on phone credit. Our conversations consisted a lot of crying, swearing, and silence (very wasteful on phone credit). At one point, I made him choose… me or her. My heart pounded, my eyes were swollen, my soul was shouting “Pick me. Of course he’ll pick me.”

Him: I’m not gonna pick anybody.

The silence that followed was deafening. He sounded so… uncaring and cold.

If it was some sort of revenge of his, it would’ve been easier to wrap my mind around it. Somehow, I feel like I deserved it. But why didn’t he end it when he was satisfied with his revenge? He said he had forgiven me. Why did he let it go on? And why since January? I haven’t even left the city back then.

Why did you let it go on?

Why didn’t you tell me?

It would’ve hurt, but it would’ve been more bearable if it came from you.

Are you happy now? Are you happy now that you got your revenge? What do you want me to do now? Forgive you the same way you “forgave” me?

Is that how you want to do this?

An eye for an eye?

My broken heart in exchange for yours?

Happy 1st Blog-aversary!

Well, waddya know?

The Pearly Panty Gates is now a year old! Yay!

I would just like to express how this blog really helped me get through the past year. It served as a great outlet for all my thoughts, ideas, and experiences, and is a fun means of communication for me and my friends Darlyn, Donna (who needs to update her blog soon coz I miss her), & Rico (who just recently joined. Welcome, rookie!).

Thank you to those who liked, followed, and shared their thoughts on my posts.

Since this The Pearly Panty Gates is mainly a journal, it has a variety (understatement right there) of topics depending on the state of my ever fickle mind. Hopefully during this blog’s second year, I can find that one field where I can focus on like Darlyn who now is becoming the fashionista-pretty-girl she actually is.

To those who’ve been visiting my blog, thank you and I hope that my experiences, thoughts, and ideas inspire you in some way. And also wish more power to you and your blogs. Thank you to WordPress for giving me a home on the Internet.

If you don’t have a blog, go and make one! There’s nothing to lose and only more to gain.

Here’s to another good year for The Pearly Panty Gates!

Escape from the Drought

image

I’m no stranger to rain…

But seeing it for the first time in 7 months kind of made my day.

Not to be insensititive to the victims of the recent Super Typhoon Yolanda, but I was thrilled to see rain. Dad and I even walked our way home… enjoying the rain slowly drenching our clothes.

For a brief moment… I felt like I was back in Iloilo…

Walking home from school in the rain and ruining my brand new pair of black flats.

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See? Ruined. Or maybe just needs a little TLC.

For a brief moment… I thought I saw Aladdin waiting for me in the corner ready with a towel and a cigarette.

For a brief moment… I felt like I was home.

Letters to Donna & Morla: Yolanda

My friend Paul posted this photo of “Stufyerface” after Super Typhoon Yolanda hit and my jaw dropped.

Photo from Paul Salazar’s facebook

As you can see, the entire 2nd floor is destroyed. I never realized how strong Yolanda really was till I saw it. I can only imagine how the rest of Iloilo looks like right now.

I hope you guys are alright… your families too.

PS.

Yolanda is also the name of Aladdin’s mom… just a little trivia. 🙂

Letters to Donna: Pulled Back In

Just a few minutes ago, my overbearing (in a good way) boss dragged me back to work giving me a piece of paper that can secure my safety. Like I said in my last post, dependent expatriates, especially expat daughters, aren’t allowed to work. So anyway, hours after my post, I received a notification (which was from my relentless refreshing of the Ministry of Labor‘s website) that my application for transfer was approved, which was good news as far as my need to continue being employed. I only need to wait for the process to be finished: approval from the Jawazat, receiving my new iqama which should be under the sponsorship of my employer.

According to our HR, those of us whose sponsorships are not transferred yet, should not come to work and should wait for their notification to come back to work. Those of us who are currently being processed should have their “muqeems” (document stating our iqamas are being finalized, roughly speaking it can serve as temporary iqama) with them at all times.

The document that I received isn’t a muqeem. It’s a letter from the MOL addressed to the Jawazat office stating that it has been approved from their (MOL’s) side and that to proceed with the next step. If you as me, this isn’t enough to make me feel safe. But, my boss assured me that it’s legit and that it’s enough to secure me. I was like “Okaaay.” I was going to object one more time when she added that she already clarified things with our head honcho and the other bigwigs that the document that I have is enough. She saw I was still hesitant and gave me one of her “Seriously?” looks and said “Do you really think I’d let you come back to work without assuring your safety?” I was a little touched with her concern until she added “Let me rephrase, do you really think I would hold myself or the company liable for allowing someone who is unsecured to work here? Louise, please try to think. Your doubts are misplaced.”

Needless to say, I couldn’t say anything more. She did have a point, she knows the penalties for harboring or allowing an illegal or dependent to work (a staggering 100,000 SR or 1M pesos… each). So why would they risk letting me back in if I wasn’t in the clear? For now, I just complied. Though I didn’t wear my uniform and wore my comfiest Converse shoes in case I need to make an unexpected exit.

To be honest, I was looking forward to not going to work for a while. I didn’t mind waiting for the go signal from HR. But my boss really needed her team back so she really pushed for our papers. I’m thankful though that I’m still employed.

I really miss you guys and I hope you are doing okay.

 

When I’m Gone

I’m trying to do as much as I can. So that when I’m gone… they won’t have much to worry about.

Wait, what? No! I’m not dying!

What I meant was, I’m trying to do as much as I can here at the OFFICE. You know… clear out all the pending stuff so that when I’m gone (which is starting tomorrow) my co-workers won’t get their panties in a knot.

No, I didn’t get fired or resign either. Today is the last day of the 2nd grace period granted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for illegal workers to rectify their statuses.

Meaning, if you want to stay employed, better have your iqamas sponsorship transferred to that of your employers.

The recent Saudization issue have mobilized thousands of illegal expatriates to either flee the kingdom (legally of course) or try to get their iqamas transferred to continue working.

To make things even harder for us womenfolk, the kingdom only allows transfers for MALE children (sons, I know). Later on, the decided (last minute) to allow WIVES of expatriates to transfer us well. And for the daughters?

ZIP! NADA. Nothing. They say us expatriate daughters AREN’T ALLOWED TO WORK.

The company I am currently working for is trying its best to transfer most of its expat daughter workers (myself included) to its sponsorship, so I’ll just be MIA till they give me the signal to come back. Hopefully this process will bear positive results. I can’t afford to be unemployed at the moment, neither can most expatriates working here.

Why do we need to stop working, you ask?

Well, the penalty is kind of a turn off. Instant deportation, 10 year ban from the kingdom, SR 100K fine? Oh, and did I mention jail time?

I admire the idea of the kingdom wanting to boost its nationals’ employment rate. Really I do. I mean I wish Philippines would do the same (though not as aggressive as the kingdom’s efforts) for it’s citizens. But, most of us expatriates have, at most, menial jobs, laborer jobs such as plumbers and construction workers, entry level jobs like mine. It’s good money, don’t get me wrong. But the jobs mentioned aren’t exactly the ones the Saudi nationals are aiming to get.

They want managerial jobs, air-conditioned offices, those occupations that can give them authority. You know the type. There is no harm in wanting a high-end job. Who doesn’t want that? But those aren’t the jobs that are going to be available after Saudization succeeds.

In Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi’s article, Saudization and Expatriates, he explains how will Saudization affect the kingdom’s economy and that expatriate workers have contributed a great deal in the kingdom’s progress over the years.

As for expatriates, they are partners in our country’s development. We must appreciate their commendable endeavors and recognize them respectfully, in addition to giving them their due rights. We must say to those, who speak about the amount of money that expatriates transfer to their countries as if has been stolen, that this money was honestly earned by expatriates and is their reward for their sweat and toil. We should also tell them that the Kingdom has benefited tremendously from the hard work and services of expatriates. Allah showered His blessings on them for what they earned through their endeavors and services to this country and its people.

– Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi

Us expatriates are not stealing jobs from the kingdom’s nationals. We are just taking the opportunities that are made available. If you don’t want them, then we’ll have them, if given the opportunity. We don’t like decent jobs to go to waste.

I’d like think us expatriates are the kingdom’s people too. It has been good to us. I practically grew up here. I’ve seen how my parents worked for years and earned our living. The opportunities us expatriates have weren’t handed to us on a silver platter, we earned and worked for them. In return, I believe the services provided by expatriates has helped in making the kingdom a prosperous place.

I’m just praying for the best. Hope you guys do, too.