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What I've learned being an OFW



Inspired by and adapted from Robert Fulghum's All I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten

I learned that wisdom was not limited to the confines of our home (although I think the earliest wisdom are there to find). Wisdom is also there (or here) among the throngs of strange-looking strangers. Hence, wherever you are, be open-minded to changes, to varying opinions, to differences of people, and to new learnings.

These are the things I learned from being an OFW:

Share what you have, but leave something for yourself. We are not going to be OFWs all throughout our lives. One day, we will stop earning our OFW dollars, so although it's heartwarming to help our relatives, prioritize your family first and then yourself.

Play fair even though people around you are raking more salaries than you do while it's you who are sweating more than anyone else. Believe that in life, there is karmic justice.

In Saudi, no matter who's fault it is, you'll likely end up in jail too if you get in trouble with someone. So never ever hit anybody.

No matter where you are, it is always good to be trustworthy. Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess, or better yet, don't mess around, because you represent not only yourself but your own country.

If it's not yours, then don't take it. It applies not only to objects but also to relationships with other people.

Don't play with other people's emotions. Pinoys abroad are vulnerable. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody, or better yet, refrain from hurting someone -- emotionally, physically, and mentally.

If you can, refrain from eating outside. If you can't help it, then it's fine but make sure you wash your hands before you do. And order oil-less foods, if available.

Flush. Even if it's someone else's loo, or even if it's a public loo.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. And so are kind words from kind people. Don't ever accept kind words from people who are plainly oiling you.

Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Watch what you eat, too. It has to be balanced. Remember: You're the one earning money for your family. Think: If you get sick, what happens to them then?

Take a nap every lunch break. It freshens up the mind. Don't spend your lunch break playing solitaire or visiting your Facebook or blogging. Do that at home.

When you go out, watch out for traffic because Saudi and Indian taxi drivers can sometimes be daredevils. When out, don't hold hands unless you have documents that will prove your marital relationships.

Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up. It's like our peso/dollar exchange rates, right? Get rid of that grin when the dollars go up. Think of our kabayans whose peso earnings dwindle everytime the dollar rates go up.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we. So do all living things. But unlike goldfish, hamster, white mice and little seeds, we grow old (and the maintenance costs that go with growing old is not cheap!). So while you are still earning a living, buy your own memorial plot or pension plan or insurances.

And then remember the first book in elementary during our Pilipino reading sessions. What was that phrase we often repeat? Ay susô...susô pala?! If there's someone that we need to be susô to, it should be with the Lord Jesus. Never to a huperson. Because a huperson's approval of us is ephemeral, treacherous, and always comes with a fee.

Learn. Everyday. Even a small pebble has a lesson to teach us.


► Read Nebz's previous column articles.

5 Reactions:

RJ said...

This is nice, I like it! I've discovered
more about KSA and have learned
many things which are applicable here in Australia.

marix said...

hi nebz...that book by robert fulghum is a personal favorite, and to read an entry like yours specifically geared towards the OFW is indeed a joy. Please, may i ask permission to include this in our souvenir program? we would be celebrating the 112th anniv of our independence day and we are coming up with a souvenir program.i am based in lagos, nigeria

many thanks. my email is marixtajo@gmail.com

i will be waiting to hear from you. thanks again.

Mr. Thoughtskoto said...

I concur with a laugh... Sa saudi, don't hit anyone, or you'll both end up in jail.

Fantastic entry!

Nebz said...

Cheers, guys.

Marix, by all means, please do. But please make sure that you make mention that you found it in The Kablogs Journal. Sort of a publicity for our own journal.

And please, do share us your thoughts, too. We would love hearing from our Nigeria-based kabayans.

marix said...

many thanks nebz for generously sharing your article. i will of course mention the Kablogs journal.

mabuhay ka! many more entries to come ;)

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