Middle East Saudi Arabia
King Fahd International Airport.
June 2013/ Near Midnight
I felt I am like a child. My hands were trembling when I reluctantly handed over my passport at the Immigration officer behind a small cubicle. My heart almost stopped when he instructed me to please wait for awhile. He pointed the bench at the side, 40 meters away.
I asked to myself if I violated anything or I done unlawful things in the past. I sealed my lip as I sat for almost an hour. My mind whirling while my heart pulse went fast without any direction in the free lane. 16 hours in the plane and had jet lagged.
My God! I said to myself when I noticed that the tremor in my hand, while my face managed to look calmed. I am acting weird,Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan in the landing on Omaha beach movie fleck like. Focus… focus…
What was wrong. I am thinking about my fast travel in the last 6 months. I went to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and now Saudi for a job.
I just wanted to go home, I desperately thought that moment.
After a deep breathing and worrisome waiting , a skinny, medium height, deep falconic eye immigration officer, probably at late 30’s walked toward me. He stride confidently while tapping my passport at his palm, the way lawyer circling the accuse at the witness stand or a highway policeman who approached you in the middle of nowhere. His black well shined shoes echoed at the ceramic floor. I stood as I waited till he stopped near me and I said, — anything wrong officer?
— Where is your passport? he inquired and looked at me blankly.
I looked at his hand and on his eye then he smiled, — you can go now, he said kindly.
— Thank God., I said relieved.
Once you go abroad to work, first you had to be certain and expect the worst.
For ten years as a chef back to my country, I had lots of companion. There are people who always had a hand when you needed something.
Our company was a construction based. Have project in Oil Industry and booming.
I fed Filipino, Indonesian, and Thailand workers, 7 days a week without off or rest my God why I never complain.
We are not food industry and don’t expect we do your ways, they always said. My supervisor who had no ideas in the kitchen barked us with no reason which I only laughed secretly. I am shocked how he dealt us. It was his dice to roll and the game board were at his side and its okay.
One against the crowd I guess.
I politely do my job daily because that is right.
I am alone and seem an outcast. I don’t understand their language.
Indian, Bangali, Pakistani, Srilankan had one dialect. They talked while I screamed, English please and they looked at me and continued their chattery.
When I finally learned that they had no plan to give me a helper, I deviced a fancy game on my mind, I do dance while I moved in a small cramp kitchen.
Everyday in Gods providence I imagined my feet moved on the dance floor and jazzing to cheer my tiredness and frustration
Middle East Saudi Arabia
Somewhere in the desert
August 2015/ Past Midnight
I had lots of time of being alone. Now I understand the joy and pain when you hear nothing but the ticking of the clock, the moan of the desert wind and the sighed at night.
Today is my last day on the job.
I survived my two years and two months and I’ll be going home soon.
Saudi Arabia had been a part of my journey and I cherish my days working here and the nice treatment of the King to all Filipino expatriates. He was so kind.
God always protect me and I finished my task proudly.
Am I a hero or a sugarcoated phrase.