Wednesday, 25 April 2012

When the going gets tough

Life offline has been so crazy that I've neglected both my daily blogging and my daily photos. I'm still taking them, the photos, but I just don't have the luxury of being able to sit at my PC to edit. *sigh* The frustration, oh the frustration.

72 hours of my life just went into pouring all that I can into proving that I have no intention of pretending to be a tourist only to emerge with a job and a green card. Or whatever it's called. This is unbelievably sad and pathetic because this portion of my application problems--there are others--is not because I have a bad travel track record but because other Filipinos have set a precedent that fuels the suspicion.

I am too drained right now to argue whether or not the reputation is exclusively Filipino. Or that it's even exclusive to a single nationality or race. But I am Filipino so I will speak of how I see it happening here. Obviously there will be generalizing involved but I do want to make it clear from the get go that I have no objections to people migrating/immigrating--I know there's a difference there somewhere but again, no energy to do the applicable research--to other countries. Truth is, I love it when I have friends overseas as it creates the potential for free lodging when I'm in their country, hahaha! (User! LOL)

I find the reputation more annoying than insulting because, and I've said this often, I can say so many terrible things about the Philippines and its people, myself not exempted, but surprise, surprise, I like it here.

No, I love it here.

I don't recall a single time in my life when I more than just jokingly declared I want to move to another country. I love travelling to other countries, don't get me wrong, and I can count so many things about other countries that I like better. In the U.S., for one, cheese varieties are cheaper. I'm no cheese connoisseur but I love the idea of being able to cook with different types and flavours of cheese. I don't know how much they actually cost abroad but I'm quite certain it's cheaper than PhP400/100gms over here for good parmessan. Or maybe that's PhP300. The variety of fruit is wider and it's cheap to get my hands on fruits other than bananas, pineapples, apples, and mangoes.

The four seasons. Oh how I love the idea of seeing the flora around me change per season. I've only ever seen summer and spring in other countries and enjoyed the variety of wardrobe options. I love the idea of being able to wear those lovely coats and jumpers without looking silly, And tights. Sometimes tights can be cute even in a tropical country but more often than not, they can be too hot. Literally.

When I was younger, the allure of four seasons was even more pronounced because it meant snow days. So many times I wished we had snow so I could have a day off from school because of it.

Note that I'm not glorifying the potential disasters caused by weather patterns brought on by the four seasons. I also know how terrible each season can be. Extreme heat in the summer, extreme cold in winter, crop freezing, hurricanes and all that. I have friends in other countries. I've worried about them during those times as they have about me whenever there's a typhoon here in the Philippines. I am merely expressing my delight at the different kind of beauty and experiences such seasons can bring.

Oh the thing I like the most: discipline. In general, I just feel like citizens abroad are far more disciplined than those here. Road rules, queues for whatever...basic every day things. Sure there are loads of law breakers all over the world but again, this is about my perception of the things that go on here versus the things I am aware goes on elsewhere based completely on my personal experience and stories I have personally heard. Like how (South) Koreans are so tight with their DUI rules that even if they've had only a little bit of alcohol, whatever type it might be, they will always hire a driver or a cab to take them home. And how clean Singapore is...or at least I think it still is. I haven't been there in a very long time.

I can go on and on about what I find to be terrible about the Philippines and Filipinos, to be honest, even without comparing our country or people to those in other countries.

Really my main reason for wanting to stay in the Philippines is that my whole life is here. I can't say that all my dearest friends are here but most of them still are. But for those who are not, there's email, blogging, and Skype. Technology is wonderful for that purpose and for someone like me who is terrible at keeping in touch, I can at least show friends and family abroad that I am alive and well by doing my blogging. Oh and Facebook. There's also Facebook.

Mind, I'm not saying the Filipino reputation for sneaking their way among the citizens of a foreign country is the only reason for my difficulty in obtaining this elusive stamp in my passport. And I'm not accusing the good people reviewing applications of being biased or racist or anything of the sort.

The precise reason for bemoaning the current state of affairs is that the tight web of security surrounding such travels this history of "TNT"--tago nang tago; basically "escaping from or being fugitive from the law" in this case, immigration--has brought upon regular folk like me the idea that I am merely making the trip an excuse to find career opportunities abroad. You know, where I can supposedly earn more so I can send the money home to my family. As if it's impossible that all I want to to is to travel, see the world, and yes, attend a wedding. It may seem ludicrous to spend so much just to go to a wedding but it's true that you can love a person so much that you want to be there on such a special occasion.

At the time I first wrote this (note that this entry was started all the way back on the 16th of March) I was still feeling quite exhausted by the effort to prove that I do have a life to come back to in the Philippines and that I had and still have no intention of moving to another country. Exhaustion aside, after we'd sent in our appeals, we all sent out our prayers, many to their individual devotions to various saints, myself and my husband directly to the source of all good graces.

As you may have already surmised based on previous entries, our prayers were answered and despite the ill-repute of Filipinos for sneaking into the citizenry of other countries, we have all returned.

Take that, highly suspicious individuals. In the same way you do not want to be judged and viewed as a single general population, please do not do that to us. We can probably make up nastier jokes about you than you can about us. ^_~

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