April 2011, Kocaeli, Turkey
As I was waiting for the bell to ring signalling that tenefus, the Turkish word for break time, is finished, I decided to browse through Jobstreet, Philippines.
I have been living in Turkey for almost 6 months then and fell in love with the country. I was seriously contemplating not to come back. My Turkish friends were even offering me possible ways on how I can stay longer and later on finally settle there for good. But I know I need to come home.
I broached the idea of staying longer than my supposedly 8-month sojourn in Turkey to my Mom one Skype conversation that we had. Her reply was short, “Come home first then let’s talk about it.” I kind of feel she’s not so crazy about the idea. I was actually having this funny thought that the moment I land in the Philippines I will be shackled or be put in a straight jacket never to be allowed to leave the country again.
Anyway, the bell still has not rung and my attention was caught by one interesting job ad. One company in the Philippines is looking for somebody with teaching experience who would not mind travelling extensively in Asia.
My eyes widened and my heart started beating faster. Are you kidding me?! Is there really such a job like this?! It is like every person’s dream!
I checked myself. I have teaching experience and I definitely wouldn’t mind travelling extensively!!!
I quickly edited my curriculum vitae and composed a convincing cover letter. Then I sent my application. Exactly 2 hours later, I got a reply from the CEO. He is scheduling me for an interview.
I had a Skype interview a few days after with my internet connection acting up. I was seriously pissed off that my net was intermittent that time and decided to play a joke on me on that very same day that I was seriously praying everything will go right. I was very scared that I won’t get the job. After almost an hour of faulty Skype conversation, I just received a message saying my connection is so bad. That he doesn’t want to continue the interview. That can I just please check my mail as he sent me something there.
I was fumbling through my mail and was ready to have a heart attack as I wait for his message to load. My eyes almost fell out of its socket. It was not what I expected. I got the job. I shrieked. How in the world can this happen?! Things were not going right and yet I got the job. I must be one lucky girl.
So there. The idea of staying longer in Turkey vanished. It was replaced by the excitement of coming home and starting anew.
Back to the Present, Philippines
So what do I really do for a living?
This is the question people ask over and over again.
Family and friends call me Dora. Now you see me, now you don’t. Now I am home, the day after I am off.
I have this habit of uploading photos in Facebook of places I am currently in. To FB snoopers it appears I am forever travelling, always on a holiday, living such a good life. For me it is more of security. Call it leaving traces. Just in case.
Facebook has become my connection to my family back home. Overseas call is expensive and we are not the type to call each other just to inform what we had for dinner or that we have brushed our teeth and we’re ready to sleep. So any updates in Facebook is enough for my parents to serve as a signal that their daughter is still alive.
I was in Australia one time and was able to talk to my Mom over the phone. She said they were wondering what happened to me because my wall has been inactive the past couple of days. I told them not to worry and assured them that I am very much still alive.
Anyway, going back to the question, so what do I really do?
The job title says International Trainer. I work for a software company whose product is a hospitality system. The company’s clients are mostly hotels and resorts in Southeast Asian countries. Everytime there is a new installation, meaning a new hotel or resort who bought the software, I have to fly there to train the staff how to use the system. People don’t really get what I do so I just give them the simplest analogy I can think of. Imagine buying an Ipad but then you realize you don’t know how to use it. That’s where I come in. I will teach you how to use the Ipad.
Neat huh? That’s how I get to travel all the time. For free.
I joined the company last July 2011, a mere 2 weeks after I landed back from Turkey. It has been 15 months since then.
And after 54 stamps in my passport.
After dodging a 50-year old General Manager inviting me to join him for a swim privately.
After living in the middle of Celebes Sea
After having my first taste of scuba diving
After living for months in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and being so familiar with the Golden Triangle like the back of my hand
After holding hands with somebody while staring at Petronas Towers
After seeing the highest and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world
After meeting lady boys in Singapore who taught me a thing or two about life
After living in hotel rooms all alone making sure that I am safe and alive the following day
After dodging scary men trying to pick up a lovely lady who doesn’t deserve to eat dinner alone in such a nice place
After mastering the art of sleeping in airplanes
After discovering a lot of different ways on how to entertain myself in airports as I wait for my flight
After becoming an expert in packing my luggage in 15 minutes (as what I always claim)
After developing muscles as I lug around my heavy luggage as there is nobody to help me
After befriending tons of taxi drivers as I transfer from one place to another
After gaining weight and lots of new friends
After falling hard for somebody in the Land Down Under and having my heart badly broken
I decided to quit.
Yes, I must have gone crazy, you’re saying.
How in the world can a person leave a job like that?! It is everybody’s dream!
It was actually my dream too.
I clearly remember that time when I was in Turkey. I was so bored and homesick that I decided to create a description of my dream job.
They say be careful what you wish for. They might come true.
Mine did. This job fits like a tee.
But then I realized that life has this uncanny way of catching up on you, of making you realize stuff, of making you understand that what you want a year ago may not actually be what you want a year after.
It was this time.
At one point you have to loosen your grip and let go.
At one point you just will realize that there’s more to life than this.
At one point you have to make unpopular decisions.
At one point you wake up one beautiful morning and realize that it doesn’t feel right anymore.
At one point you will know that their part in the story needs to end.
And it has ended.
Today is my last official day at work.
I actually don’t feel anything. I think I have grieved over it two months ago when I submitted my letter. Today, I just feel free.
I don’t know what the future holds. I am throwing caution to the wind again. With how my life has turned out the past thirty years, I kind of believe it won’t be that bad. That there are more stories waiting to be told. That there are more adventures waiting to unfold. That there are more surprises ready to be revealed. In time.
But for now, one thing is sure. Tomorrow when I wake up I will be officially unemployed.
And I love it.