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For many months I waited. For countless weeks I prayed. For some days I tossed and turned in bed. And finally, for a few hours I couldn’t hide my excitement. The 7th of July was something very special to me. Do you know why? For 8 long months I worked at sea. And on this special day, I got the chance to go back to my family.

It was past 10 in the morning when our plane landed in NAIA. Despite the heavy weight of my 2 luggage, I didn’t know how I managed to walk as fast as I could the moment I saw my mom and sister waiting for me. And there was my uncle, too. Also my niece and 2 nephews who showered me with their sweet kisses and suffocated me with their super tight embrace. We didn’t waste a moment. We rode the van and went straight to Bulacan where we reside. It was a fun ride despite the heat and the heavy traffic. Stories never ended. 🙂 I had tales to tell and they had their own, too. It was indeed a fun exchange.

When we reached the house, the stories continued. This time with food I dreamt of eating while still on board. Authentic Pinoy dishes lovingly made by the hands of people who give me love, inspiration, and hope. And I made them happy, too. Well my huge bags made them happy actually. Hahaha!!! The gifts, chocolates, and other pasalubong inside. J Seeing them smile and feel grateful after getting a slice of the blessings I received was a priceless sight. It’s a feeling that will make me want to carry heavier luggage the next time around. Ayayay… Early that night I went to bed feeling thankful I’m finally home. And as I lay on bed, happy thoughts about tomorrow started parading in my head.

Then came the next day which I think was very important. On the first day, everything was so ideal. Things looked perfect. But the day that followed was when reality came in. What now??? I started making a list of things I needed to do. Oh boy, there were lots of them – document to updates, IDs to renew, training to take, friends to meet (exciting!!!), bills to pay (scary), items to buy. Just looking at the list made me feel tired. The post-it notes were a bit overwhelming. But I like it when my days are planned. I knew that I will tick those things off my list one at a time. And gradually I did. 🙂

While I was busy doing this, I felt an itch on my right arm. Naturally, just like most of us will do, I put ointment on it.  But then to no use. The itch continued, even grew worst. I noticed it turned red and it started getting bigger. I thought there’s something wrong. The itch was then becoming unbearable and the redness was a bit alarming. So I went to see the doctor and showed her my arm. She asked me “Why just now?” And I told her our schedules won’t meet and I thought it was just normal. So I was given medicines, soap and special ointment for it. She told me it must have been an insect bite and the ointment I used caused allergic reaction to my skin.

For many days I was stressed out. At first I thought, the medicines weren’t working. I was getting impatient. I want to make the itch and the pain go away instantly. There were times when I would just stay in my room and without me knowing the tears will fall from my eyes. (Ang drama.) I was asking myself why now? You got to be kidding me. I mean I waited so long for this. And now that I’m here I can’t do the things I want to do. I can’t leave the house and have a good time outside. Worst, I can’t eat the food I want to eat. Yes there were many things I was not allowed to eat, and to my dismay these are mostly food I fantasized about when I was still aboard the ship. I felt like a prisoner locked up in the house. My activities were limited because every time I’ll go outside (usually because I have some papers to fix) the heat will make me sweat which in turn will make the allergy itch all the more and even hurt. Also, it didn’t look very pleasant. People will stare and ask me what happened. And I would feel even more disappointed.

But then these past few days, I realized how I benefited a lot from this experience. Well, to be honest it took a really long time before this thought came. Maybe sometimes, certain things happen to make us pause and do some serious thinking. This way, new ideas are born or we get to revisit dreams that seemed to be momentarily forgotten.

I hate cleaning. I’m so not good at it. I get bored when I do chores. And it’s something I’m not very proud of. I remember on my first contract as a seafarer, we were given sidelines or jobs outside our line of work where we earn extra money. On turn around days (days when passengers will disembark and a new batch of cruisers will come), cabin stewards would hire helpers so they can finish preparing all the rooms. And right after that, usually in less than 2 hours they will pay. Since almost everyone in our department was doing it, I was pressured to join even though I know I’m not capable and I will noooooooooot enjoy it. So every turn around day, I will torture myself in exchange for the instant cash I will get after some hours of cleaning. There were many times I gave my cabin steward a headache for failing to do some things like checking the ref which is a big big crime. To cut the story short, I was fired. Well he didn’t tell me upfront but I sensed it so I stopped bothering him. Haha!!! So I think I made a point. Basically put, cleaning is not my one of my strongest suits. Homely tasks are not my passion. But then going back to my real story, since I was just at home waiting for my wounds to heal completely, I had no other choice but to do this. You see I don’t enjoy watching TV and I can’t stand being in front of my PC the whole day. Also, one thought was bugging me. Somehow I felt that things have changed at home since I left and I find it hard to adjust to them. So I embarked on this cleaning session which went on for days. I started with my room, our little altar and then our sala. The kitchen followed and then the dining room. I still need to do the toilet and the laundry area. But hey that can wait. Surprisingly as I engaged myself on this little adventure at home, I realized that I am enjoying it. I felt extremely exhausted (Thanks to mama for helping me J) but at the same time I felt really great. Not only did I have some bonding time with my mother (In an instant I was updated about the things that happened while I was away, the things she wants to do, how she feels the house will look better) somehow I was cleaning not only the house but also myself. Heavy? Ang drama but then true. Well it’s something I didn’t plan, something I didn’t expect to happen,  but then with what’s around me getting cleaner, I think my mind became sharper, my vision clearer. Things I intended to do before, plans I left here because I was called to work again, dreams that were delayed – all these started coming back. Divine spark? Maybe. Whatever it is, I’m happy to get acquainted with it. Then I began asking myself yes why did I leave all this behind and didn’t take them with me when I went away. I could have worked on them while at sea. Things would surely be difficult but then I know that I’d always find a way if I wanted it so badly. If I just remained focused and more disciplined. But then those were the days I could not get back anymore. So the resolution I made was to make the most of the time I have at hand. And I believe this is where the real adventure begins. 🙂 I know that if I get lost or find things so hard to understand, help will come.

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For sanity and inspiration.

My wounds are gone by the way, but the scars remain. And together with this not so good looking stains left on my skin are dreams at work and are ready to become real. 🙂 I’m home at last, back to where my true treasure is.

family pix

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

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