Sunday, October 10, 2004

Good Manners

It is such a pity if you come from a poor country and would have to find employment abroad as a waitress or a domestic helper. Here in our college cafeteria, most waitresses come from either the Philippines, India or Sri Lanka.

A lot of our Emirati students would order food and shout words like, "More!" or "Cola!" without the magic word, 'please'. Oftentimes, their house help would come from the same countries as these waitresses.

Some argue that perhaps it is the language or lack thereof that makes them speak like cavemen did; mono-syllabic grunts of the basest communication point conveyed i.e. "more" and "cola".

I believe that despite one's lack of English skills, you can still be full of good manners. A smile, a gentle voice, a friendly manner makes all the difference. Filipinos have never been language experts but what we lack for in vocabulary, or even grammatical fluency...we more than make up for our good manners.

In the grand scheme of things, it is good manners that makes you likable and a good person to others and what each individual should strive for.

Creating Her Own Monsters

My almost two-year-old daughter, Amber had started to get scared. She nows says, "Mommy, Amber afraid" in her small voice that can melt even the hardest of hearts. It is amazing how we create our own monsters sometimes that they begin to overwhelm us even before we could truly comprehend what's scary.

When she was younger, she can walk in a darkened room and not be afraid. Now she insists on turning on the light. What used to be fascinating creatures - dogs, cats, fishes in an aquarium - are now gruesome images too horrible to get near to or touch! We went to eat in a restaurant we've frequented in the past and she's now afraid of the small waterfall/fountain in it while it used to be a favorite object of interest and inspection.

And so, as her fears grow, my own anxiety as a mother doubles. Am I doing the right thing? Should I go seek professional advice? Is there anything I can do to curb her fears? Having researched the Internet and parenting magazines available in our collage's library, I found that there is no other cure for this stage but a lot of love and attention and assurances that everything is ok.

In the end, children outgrow their fears and would soon develop individual ways to deal with them.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Making Friends

It is true that the closest friends we've got are those that have we've been with for a long time that it's impossible to be enemies with them for long because of all the history we share together.

It is also true that our worst enemies are those people who've known us for a long time.

Being transients in a certain place, you get wary about keeping friends. I used to be close to people I work with but having been in a situation where I have to say goodbye (getting transfered, contracts finished, resigned, relocated) it is a bit comforting not being close to anyone. They can just go and you can shrug your shoulders and say, "We weren't really very close" and just forget about it.

However, it is a lonely place to be without any friends that you can trust and be really close with. Even if you avoid being in a situation where you have no choice but be close to certain people, you eventually wake up and realise that a certain colleague or neighbour had become a really good friend and so the anxiety of having to eventually say goodbye, creeps in our subconscious and we try ever so hard not to think it or pray that we never get to cross it.

There are only three other Filipinos at work that it is difficult not being close. We go to lunch together because that's the only time we get to talking about ourselves and get to know one another better. In spite of my efforts not to get to close or the lack of any effort whatsoever to get close, they are now close friends.

We've shared stories, embarrasing situations, problems together that it is impossible not to relate with their lives and the things each one goes through each day. Being Pinoys, one can't help but feel affinity for fellow Pinoys and look out for one another's welfare. Sure there have been scrapes and awkward moments as well as disagreements but these things eventually led to greater understanding and appreciation of one another.

So now we are the jolly, fantastic four. My fear is one had to go away...and then there is three.

Far apart

I had my good cry last night. Suddenly, I missed my husband who is currently vacationing in Manila. It is times like this that I know for myself that I really care for someone....if I can cry for them or about them.

Somehow it is not as easy as when he was here. We only saw each other about twice a week at most with him working in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, which is a two-hour drive from Al Ain...but the knowledge that he is not available - at least not within two hours - really makes me sad.

So I did the next best thing. Burned the lines to talk to him. Fortunately, Manila is 4 hours ahead of the UAE so when I called him at 3am, it was already 7 o'clock in the morning and he was reading the newspaper and drinking coffee as his parents and siblings were getting ready to go to work/school.

It's the same feeling with my parents. There is this sadness in between the oceans and miles that separates us. I've been considering going home but where am I to pick up the peices of when I left my homeland? I left when I was 22 and now, I'm turning 33 this year. Somehow the fear of being out-of-work with a small daughter to raise is daunting, like a huge tidal wave that could engulf and possibly kill you.

So I am in quite a depressed mood today. Looking at the is exactly a week before my monthly "visitor". Perhaps it is just PMS kicking in. Better go get me a bar of chocolate then.