Home [aka. Manilla, Philippines] is approximately 2800 kilometers away and I am missing it badly.
There are lots of things I’m homesick for, my family for instance. Working and living in another country is tough. Here in Jakarta, everyday I go home to an empty house without anyone to greet me or talk with. Back home in the Philippines, I always have my grandmother to welcome me home after a challenging and tiring day at work. Like any other loving grandmother, she will ask me if I have eaten and if I’m hungry for that matter. She cooks a different dish every day that makes us look forward going home. I don’t have that here. My usual routine when I get home is take a bath, turn my laptop on, watch The Big Bang Theory, do my devotions, and then sleep. I seldom cook. I either eat out, eat late lunch (which makes me lose my appetite for dinner), or don’t eat all. If my grandmother was here, she’d definitely scold me to death for not eating.
Besides my grandmother and her scrumptious cooking, I also miss my closest aunt and her family. We usually spend time together after work or during weekends. I am like their oldest adopted daughter. They have 2 children, Geeaye (who is named after my family nickname, Peeaye) and Mikaela and we spend most of our time at home eating, watching movies or playing cards. I miss our weekends together when I lived in the Philippines.
You’ll probably wonder where my parents are. Why they are not on top of my list? It does not mean that I don’t miss them. I do. I miss them a lot. But unlike my grandmother and my aunt, I have constant communication with them. Besides that, this is normal for us. They have been working parents since we were little. They worked abroad when we were young, stopped for a while and now, they’re back at it again. I guess that’s the reason why my sister and I seem to be programmed to work overseas, just like them.
My sister and I weren’t close when we were little. I guess that is pretty normal. As we grew older, we started to realize how much we should take care of, and love, each other. She helped me so much when I was in college. She supported me financially until I was able to support myself. She is really sweet and loving. She taught me how to be independent and she is my role model. We seldom talk to each other but whenever I need her, she will get back to me in a heartbeat.
Being in different parts of the world and communicating through emails and Skype is normal. I still miss them, physically. You know, the comfort that you get from just being with your parents and in the loving presence of your sister. It is unbeatable! Talking over Skype is nothing compared to being with them physically but it is better than not seeing them at all. Thanks to the internet, Skype and Facetime, we can update and talk to each other every day.
Back home in the Philippines we have 3 adorable dogs namely Diesel, Cola and Priscilla. Oh! make that 4—Thompson, the new addition. I haven’t met him yet but they told me he’s a sweet and active labrador retriever. I miss them badly, especially Diesel.
Diesel is the first dog we got after years of having none. I miss it when he wakes me up every morning to go to work. I miss it when he asks me to hold him and look at him. Every time I walk in the door he jumps at me and kisses me endlessly.
Cola is the alpha dog and she LOVES to eat. I miss her crawling trick whenever we give her food. I miss it when she shakes her tail when she sees us eating, like she is sure that we will give it to her instead.
Then there’s Priscilla, the super active and playful half German Shepherd. I only spent a couple of months with her when I went back to Philippines last June but I fell in love with her immediately. She is still young so she loves playing.
Diesel and Cola get annoyed with her sometimes when she asks them to play. I miss seeing her run in the house and laughing at her when she barks at herself in the mirror. She is so innocent and playful. I wish I had them here with me to brighten up my day when life seems sad, dull, and lonely.
It’s the four of my closest friends that I miss the most. We’ve been friends for more than 8 years now. I miss hanging out with them. They know that I am not fond of talking a lot so whenever we hang out they do all the talking and I do all the listening. I miss that. I am an introvert and making friends is not easy for me. Social events and meeting people are not my cup of tea. Thankfully, I have few friends here in Jakarta now which is a good thing. However, there is a considerable difference in an 8 year friendship bond than to a new one. That is why I miss them so much. I am more relaxed whenever I spend time with them.
My family and the special people I grew up with and spent most of my time with are what gives me a sense of HOME. It is not easy to live and work in another country. Sometimes I find myself crying in the middle of the night wishing I was home. When things get rough, I wish my closest loved ones were here to comfort me and give me strength. I miss all the bits and pieces of home and sometimes I’ll see reminders of my old life and it breaks my heart. It is challenging but I continue to be strong. As time goes by I learn to adapt. Thanks to modern technology, I can keep in touch with the people I love with the tip of my fingers. These are the people that make me feel like I am home in the Philippines. I love them and I miss them terribly. However, as time goes by and piece by piece, I am starting to build another, shiny and new family here in Indonesia. I’m not merely trading one for the other but I’m expanding my heart and making room to grow enough love to embrace both—with passion.