365 days with my Dad

365 days with my Dad

Today is my father’s birthday. Last Sunday it was also Father’s day. I’ve never written a blog for my father but now I just needed to.

I never got to spend a 365 days straight with my dad. He’s a seaman and he’s away most of the time. When I was little I barely see him in our house because then he has contracts as long as a year unlike these past few years when he can go away for six months and stay for another six months. But I never really spent a whole year with dad. I’m used to having Christmas without him, family outings without him or school events without him. It didn’t matter. When I was little I receive a letter from him every month, now I receive phone calls and text messages. Those were enough not until I was the one who went away. My dad was currently in Singapore when I left the Philippines. He was in the sea for six months and I never got to see him before I left as much as I wanted to , I already have a plane ticket and I can’t tell my employer that I’d have to wait for June 10 or 11 when he arrives. So I flew and just called him when he arrived.

Just the other day I finally had my own patient to take care of. My two week orientation period is over and I finally had the chance to receive and endorse patient. Of course the senior charge nurse kept asking questiong during my endorsement and all, well, we all have our firsts. They had theirs, maybe they were treated badly when it was their first so they might be doing the same thing to me. And all of a sudden after going home from the hospital, I missed my family and I felt homesick for the first time ever after three weeks. I sent a message to mom, dad and my brother and they kept telling me to be strong and that’s the way it is. What made me cry was the message from my dad, “Kaya mo yan, ganyan din ako dati. First three months lang yan pero after that okay na. Tiniis ko rin dati na hindi kayo makita pero para sa inyo rin yun.”

I don’t have a close family in Riyadh. I have an aunt just around the Olaya area but I never got to see her. I have a cousin in Al Khobar but I think I’ll never get to meet her because its too far. I have my closest friends but we haven’t gone out because their employer is too strict and our schedule can’t just  jive together. I miss my family. I miss the Philippines. I miss them because when I’m in the Philippines I can just go home to Ilocos when I want to see my mom. I can roam around Metro Manila with my brother and my friends. When I have a problem and needed to talk to someone I can just meet them or call them and talk for hours but in here, I feel alone. I don’t have anyone to talk to because everyone is just busy with work.

I never planned in going to Saudi, it wasn’t even on my top dream countries list but at one point in my life I had the feeling I wanted to be independent. Away from my parents who will always be there to support me, away from my brother who will always be there to carry my groceries or to fetch me when I go home late from work. I wanted to prove something to myself and so I had to leave. Mom never wanted me here. They even let me choose between my Saudi work or my US visa (it might arrive soon because they have theirs already) but I still chose Saudi.  I know I can live for the next ten or twenty so years without working abroad, but then my parents never taught us to be dependent on them. I’m not like the other nurses who came here for the money. I came here for the experience, the adventure and the independence. I wanted to be free. But just now when homesickness sets in, I wanted to be home.

This is why I miss my dad too. I knew he felt the same way I did but I never heard he complained. I never heard him gave up although I knew he wished he could just work back at home and be with us then but he chose the other way to give us a better future.

After my two year contract, I won’t be seeing dad when I get home. He might be in the US with mom or with my brother, I don’t really know. Since I never got he chance to spend 365 days with him, I wanted to just travel and spend days with him, mom and Ron before I build up my own family. I wanted to explore the world with him (although I know he went to almost every country in this planet). This afternoon I called him to greet him a happy birthday and he thanked me and told me the same thing when he replied to my text, “Kaya mo yan. Be strong.” And I’m wiping away my tears—again.

Just Me. For Now.