Posted by: Leap of Faith | July 7, 2006

What happend to me?


I can’t believe it.  So many things have happend in the last few months and I have never entered it in my Blog.  Since I left Manila (for KSA) on 28Feb06, I was unable to make any entry in my journal.  So much for promises…

I told my wife that this would be something I would do regularly to document my life here in the KSA.  Unfortunately, I have become so busy doing so many things (i.e. watch tv and do the laundry) that I totally forgot I created this Blog. 

Where did I left off? 

I think my last journal was about the delays in our flight out of Manila.  Gee wiz.  So many things have happend since then that I don’t know where to start.  I’ll try to make my update as briefly as possible.

My colleague and I arrived in Dammam on 28Feb06.  The flight was pretty uneventful.  The only exciting thing during that flight was that I lost my seat.  The flight was full and for some unknown reason the ground crew of Saudia double booked my seat!  I was hoping for an upgrade to business class but I guess that was just asking too much.  

We breezed through the customs and immigration of the Dammam Airport – thank God!  I was expecting all the harrassment from the authorities – not because I brought anything illegal but I just wanted to anticipate the worst.  What a pessmist.  Anyway, the first thing that I noticed about this place was the nice wide and traffic free roads. What a big difference from the potholes and humps that I am so used to back home.  Anyway, that was the only nice thing I saw that I can remember that night and the following day and the day after that.  

Dammam is a place like no other.  I have been fortunate to have travel to several countries already (something Pinky and I enjoy doing) and this place was very different.  The city itself is quite plain – no tall buildings, no green plants and parks, no color.  The small and often worn out buildings seem to blend perfectly in the dry, desert sorroundings.  The first few days that we have been going around (and trying to look for a flat) was such a depressing experience.  I left home thinking I would easily see a decent three or four bedroom flat in a 30 storey building, near the mall.  Good luck!  What I saw where some old flats whose bathroom conditions could easily make your toe curl.  My friend and I almost lost hope.  Days and weeks past but luck was not on our side.  Prayers pulled me through those depressing moments.  I remember God promising us that he will remove all stumbling blocks and make our move here easy.  I guess the whole process of having to look for a decent flat to live in was only His way of allowing us to go around and have a better appreciation of the other areas of this city.  We were finally able to move to a small decent flat about five minutes away from our office.

The nicest surprise for me was the very friendly people in the office.  When I left Manila, I had quite a negtaive impression of the Arabs.  Their overall look (beard and all) seem to create a negative stereotype in my mind. I’m sure the media images of Arabs in Manila and in the US has made people think that all Arabs are terrorist.  Fortunately, though, this is far from the truth.  Our officemates (except for one) were very nice and friendly.  It took a while before they became open to us but still you see that they were trying their best. Some of them studied abroad but even those who studied in the Kingdom were very decent.  I must admit though that there are still some instances when those terrorist images still flash in my mind but I make every effort to just block it off.

The one thing that I have to get used to (up to now) is the women covered with their Abayas and veil.  The first time I saw so many women in black (a lot of them even cover their face) was such a shocking experience.  After getting used to seeing so many women with only a few pieces of cloth covering their bodies, this fashion trend is a definite shocker.  I don’t know how to describe it. But I’m sure you will know what I mean when you experience the same.

The house chores was not as bad as I expected it.  Although admittedly, I really need to literally force myself to do the ironing.  It is not that hard but very time consuming.  Rose and Leilah (our trusted companions at home) I miss you very much.

Being away from Pinky and the boys was the most difficult.  The only time we have been separfated this long was when my wife had to go in training in the UK a few years back.  Weekends have become something I really don’t look forward too.  The longer free time I have, the more I tend to feel depress and miss my family. Hearing their voices and seeing them through the internet is something I look forward too.  Thank God for technology.  I am just so lucky that God allowed me to meet other people… other Pinoys.  Not many though but still better than none.

During all these time, God has just remained faithful to all His promises.  I have, in a lot of instances, become so anxious on what’s going to happen to us.  I often pressured God to just make everything move faster.  Forunately, God was always patient with me.  It is quite embarassing to say it but I felt that the strong faith I had in God when I left Manila was being tested.  Suddenly, there where times when I wasn’t too sure if this was the right thing for me and my family. I was very sure that I understood what God wanted.  Now I had doubts.

I lost my daily prayer time.  The absence of the Bible made it really difficult for me to keep on communicating with God.  I’m sure the only thing that kept me strong were the prayers from my wifeand children back home. I had to look for other ways to keep in touch with our God.  The weekly prayer sessions that I had with a group help me not to lose focus.

In all this, the only thing I realized was that God continued to remain true to His words.  Despite my weakness and unfaithfulness, He has always been with me.  Leading and guiding me to people who would help me grow.  The road ahead is still uncertain and my mind will never understand what God wants to happen.  But despite this I have asked Him to just take control of my life. 

 

 

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