The Girl Who Can’t Seem To Give Up Comfort (and Forgets She’s Married)

It’s been 2 days since I’ve moved out of my flat. I went back to my old flat yesterday morning to get my other stuff and to leave my keys to the owner and I was feeling melancholic already. As I was walking the path towards my old flat, the sight of the park and the beach on the other side of the road, the building lobby, the elevator, the hallway, and finally the door to my old flat. As I turned the key, I already feel like a stranger. I no longer live here. I don’t own any stuff here anymore. I tiptoed inside our room and found my roommate/colleague S sleeping. I didn’t disturb her because I know that she’s from night duty. I saw my old bed all bare and empty. It felt lonely. That was my comfort corner. I quietly gathered my remaining stuff, left the key of my cabinet for H, then knocked on the room of the owner to surrender my key. We exchanged a few words, I said thank you and that we’ll still see each other hopefully, then left. When I closed the door, I know that I just left my old, comfortable life with the people who became my family for the past year. I felt sad all of a sudden.The feeling of not wanting to leave was so strong that it’s making me want to cry. Did I really have to leave? Oh, geez, I’m married. Of course I have to.

I didn’t go back to G’s flat right away. I walked and enjoyed my surroundings. I haven’t bought anything for my husband for our wedding monthsary because I was too busy moving out so I decided to go inside a department store and look for something to give him. When I found the thing that I want, I had it wrapped and headed straight to G’s flat.

Being in G’s flat is one of my comforts. This is my home away from home. I became a part of her family. I played with the kids for a while before I decided to drop by to my new flat to clean our room. My new building is huge. It has a vast lobby. It almost looked like a fancy hotel. When I reached my floor, I pressed the doorbell and the owner let me in. It’s a 3-bedroom/2-bathroom flat. The master’s bedroom belong to the owner. The other room belongs to another couple. I went straight to our room. Our room has wide glass window and I can see G’s flat from our view. Now I’m feeling like a newly-wed already. I’m starting a new life. I took the vacuum cleaner and started cleaning. It took me 3 hours to finish cleaning and organizing our stuff. The owner gave us a queen-sized bed and some furniture. I haven’t done beautifying our room yet. I have a lot of ideas in mind. J hasn’t brought his things yet. He said he’ll do it on his day off. I walked back to G’s flat, took a shower and rest. J and I had to stay in G’s flat for a couple more days until our room is ready.

J came and I assumed the role of a wife (as I always forget), gave him my late gift, he said I didn’t have to (what the heck, did he like it or not?) and we talked about how our days went. I let him rest after dinner while I chatted online with my roommate/colleague H. H and I always talk about anything back when I was still staying in our flat. I miss her already. By the time we finished chatting, J was snoring in his sleep.

I have to (always) remember that I’m married now. Why is it so hard to get used to changes?

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Moving Out

Finally, I’m moving out to a new flat with my husband. It all came too suddenly. One room was vacant in my friend’s/colleague’s flat and she just innocently asked if I knew a couple who is looking for a room to rent and I quickly volunteered myself. And she gave it to me at a discounted price. Considering how much a room costs here in UAE, the price she gave us was reasonable enough. Everything is falling into place. J found a car lift from Abu Dhabi to Yas Island where he works. And I found us a room. I mean, a room found us, technically.

Staying in G’s flat whenever my husband is off from work is no longer an option. We need a place of our own. When I’m with my husband, it’s so hard to part with him. But when I’m in my flat, it’s so hard for me to think that I have to give up the comfort that I have. I’ve grown to love my own little corner, my roommates who are dear to me, the late night chat, jogging, the beach, my surroundings. But I’m married now and I have to live with my husband. Why is it so hard to be married?

When I was packing all my things, I wasn’t thinking that I’m finally leaving. My mind was preoccupied with the thought of how I can move all of my things on my own. J is at work and he won’t be home until 7pm. H was watching me pack my things and said she feels sad. I also feel sad to leave them. They’re like my sisters. But I have to go. H was kind enough to help me move out. Then J came just in time to take my remaining stuff to our new flat. The couple who owns the flat even helped us load our things in the taxi. I feel like I just left my family.

The room’s still a mess. I have to go back to clean and organize my stuff. For the meantime, we’re staying in G’s flat until we’re settled. The good thing is, G’s flat is just walking distance from our new flat so I think I’m still closer to home.

The things I have to sacrifice for a married life. What else is there?

 

 

The List

Oh, what the heck.

Jess and I went out the other day going from one restaurant to another to book an after-the-wedding party only to find out that the date we prefer is already booked. Dilemma.

It must be a sign! Don’t invite anyone on your after-the-wedding party!

Right.

So we went to this all-you-can-eat restaurant (as originally planned) to reserve a few seats for our chosen guests (as we decided not to invite a lot of people anymore). I immediately fell in love with the place. It was cozy and a little bit dim. It has a friendly atmosphere and gives a feeling of togetherness. The price was just right for the budget. We could even invite 30 persons. And the good news is, the date is available.

So I already informed my closest friends to save the date. It’s so hard to keep it a secret. I can’t talk to my closest friends when my other colleagues are around asking about my reception. I can’t tell them there’s no reception and even if there is, you’re not invited. Whenever someone asks, I just keep mum and the effort I exert just to explain why I’m not having a wedding reception is so fake one would guess even from a distance that I’m lying. Okay, I’m a terrible liar, so what?

Finally, Jess and I made a list of the people we’re thinking of inviting. The list got longer and longer. Why? We cannot invite this person without inviting this other person. Or, if we invite this person, we’re automatically inviting 5 persons. Or, if we invite this person, the other person would know she’s not invited.We cannot invite the ex-husband and wife. It’s either we invite the ex-wife or the ex-husband. We have to invite her because she would know on Facebook that she wasn’t invited.

This guest list is driving me nuts! Why don’t we invite all our friends in Facebook as well? Aaaaargh!

Jess said maybe we could stretch our budget a little bit more because we’re not even sure if the people we’re going to invite could attend. This is our wedding day and we should be celebrating it with the people who had become a part of our life.

Okay. Breathe in. Breathe out.

I just wish it would be over soon.

We’ll see.

Tying the Knot (Finally!)

I’m getting married. Yes, after 12 years of long distance relationship. I didn’t even think we’d survive that long. It wasn’t easy. But see, the universe has finally brought us together. Does that mean we really belong to each other?

I’m used to us being apart. Now, I’m still trying to get used to us being together. Let me tell you something. It ain’t easy.

Well, I’m used to having my own life. I can go out with my friends anytime I want to. I can go anywhere and do whatever I want. But I’m a good girl, yes I am. So I don’t think he has any problem with it. The same thing goes with him. So the adjustment of being together is a bit challenging, for me. I feel like I’m confining myself to him and I expect him to do the same.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being with him. It’s being apart after being together is what’s making it difficult for me. I’m scared to become the person I don’t want to be. I don’t want to become an obsessive wife. There are a lot of things I don’t wanna become. I just wanna become a good wife, is all.

But let’s not dwell on the intricacies of marriage life because that comes after the wedding. For now, planning a simple embassy wedding is my greatest concern.

We’re having a simple wedding. Just at the embassy. The original plan was that, after the wedding (since it’s Ramadan), Jess and I will just treat Gemma’s family to dinner at this classy restaurant and then we’ll go to Yas Hotel for the night. But since everybody at work knows I’m getting married, they seem to plan everything for me, like it’s already given that they’re all invited. Dilemma.

It’s hard to plan a simple embassy wedding all by myself. It didn’t even occur to me that I will have a hard time with it. All I thought was that, we’ll have a wedding date, appear at the embassy, get married, then it’s all done. We’re husband and wife.

Wrong.

We literally went to every gold store in every nook and corner of Abu Dhabi just to find a pair of wedding ring that we like, week after week, but found none. It’s either the ring doesn’t have a pair or one ring doesn’t fit. They don’t customize rings anymore and the reason the wedding rings doesn’t come in pair is because the Arabs just buy a single wedding ring or not at all. Wedding rings are not a part of their wedding customs. We also had a difficult time finding the right wedding ring because of the limited supply. As I’ve said, Arabs don’t usually buy wedding rings.

We finally decided to settle on a simple, plain, white gold wedding ring and had it engraved. Problem number 1 solved.

Next, we need to find wedding outfits. The Judge at the embassy said that the bride should wear white formal dress and for the groom, any formal suit would do. It’s very tiring to go from one mall to another and try all the white dresses that I lay my eyes on. Most of the white dresses that I found are either too summery, too lacy, too sexy, or too short. I just wanna give up and just wear anything. Heck, I could just wear my white uniform for all I care. Or wear jeans and Converse shoes. I could do that or risk being denied marriage by the Judge.

Finally, I found a nice dress in Promod, have it altered because the small size doesn’t fit. (I found this cute dress in the children’s section once but I’m too shy to try it on because I’ll be the only adult among a bunch of kids inside the dressing room and it would be too embarrassing so I dropped the dress and left). Jess found this dress shirt at Esprit that matches my dress and problem number 2 is solved.

But wait, I don’t have a pair of shoes to match my dress yet so I went to Aldo to look for the shoes that I liked but it was already gone. So I sat there exhausted and realized that I still have problem number 3 to deal with.

Now the biggest problem we’re facing right now would be the wedding reception. As I’ve mentioned before, we only planned on having an intimate dinner with Gemma’s family. But since all of my friends are expecting themselves to be invited, Jess and I decided it would be best if we book a restaurant for our wedding reception.

I don’t even have the slightest idea on where to book a wedding reception. I just want to have a casual dinner with all of our friends and have fun. If I could just book a bar where they serve good food, and booze, with videoke, it would be even better and way cooler than the traditional wedding receptions. But see, it’s Ramadan. Where am I supposed to find my idea of a fun after-wedding-party?

If I could just wear whatever clothes I’m comfortable with on my wedding day, then fly somewhere with my husband after the wedding, that would be super awesome. Then we don’t have to worry about pleasing everybody.

My wedding seems to be much more fun inside my head.

Inside My Head: Random Thoughts of a Restless Girl

Twelve-hour/day work is really exhausting, especially if it’s straight day or straight night. So I really maximize my time on my days off.

Yesterday, I finally worked on my IELTS application, submitted it together with the requirements at the UK embassy, and scheduled an exam. Then I went to the mall to reward myself.

When I went home, I organized my review materials, did some chores, and wrote down the list of things that I’m planning to do.

Before sunset, I decided to run some laps. My endurance and stamina aren’t that strong anymore as I don’t run everyday like before. Since I lost 5 kg at the start of the year, I decided to mellow down and run only during my days off. I don’t need to lose more weight. I just needed to be fit. After 2 laps, I was thinking if I should go home or continue to run 1 more lap. I’ve decided to run another lap. That’s when I saw my roommate M getting ready to run as well. I was so delighted to see her getting in shape. So we ran together towards the beach (well, she easily gets tired so we basically just walked and talked). After an hour, we decided to go home. But before that we ordered some juice at this fancy restaurant right in the middle of the park.

When we reached home, C and S were drinking Red Horse beer while munching on Calamares. I asked what’s the occasion. S just laughed and told me she just wanted her menstruation to come out and asked C to join her. Well, almost every (Filipino) girl I know have this belief that ifย  you want to have a heavier menstruation, you should drink beer. I don’t know where they got that crazy idea but frankly, I don’t care. They can believe whatever it is they wanted to believe. So I said, “Really? Well, I’ll put that to test. I know I’m going to have my period anytime this week. I want to see if it will come tomorrow (Haha!).” M and I shared one tall can and S turned on her videoke and we started singing. S will be leaving us this month so we make it a point to bond every chance we get.

The next morning (as expected), I still haven’t got my period (as I’m regularly irregular). I asked S if her period got heavier this time and she said yes. Well, I guess it’s a case to case basis (yeah, right!).

After tidying up our room, I went to the grocery store to buy some ingredients (as I’m going to cook my 3 day meal). I’m learning to cook (and becoming independent). ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, there are certain things that I needed to learn in order to survive. Back home (Philippines), I don’t need to do anything. After work, I have food, my clothes have been washed and ironed, and all I have to do is rest. But now, all I can depend on is myself. I’m actually enjoying every moment (though at times I really miss being home). When I think about it, I feel so proud of myself.

I’m starting to save up. I send money to the Philippines straight to my savings account (aside from my savings account here in AD). I really don’t like buying all the latest gadgets and other stuff (although sometimes I have the urge to buy). My reason is, I have to find a way to get rid of the old (but still functioning) stuffs that I have before I decide to replace it with a new one. Otherwise, I’m just collecting junks I have no use of. But don’t get me wrong. I’m also a spendthrift. Sometimes I surprise myself from buying something so expensive that I wasn’t able to think about it. An impulsive buyer. After that Tsunami that hit Japan, I realized I don’t need a lot of things (I can get by with nothing.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have nothing more to say. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Slimy Noodles

After walking at Corniche beach with Ryan yesterday, he treated me to dinner at Subway. Then we met up with Noel (who also went jogging) and treated us to this Indian Restaurant to try out this veggie noodles. I guess I’m not the only one turning into a health buff. ๐Ÿ™‚

Noel said there’s this noodles that resembles and tastes like “Lomi,” a kind of noodles in the Philippines which is famous in Batangas. It’s a thick, flat noodles in a clear, kind of sticky, slimy white soup. He forgot the name of that noodles on the menu so he asked the Indian waiter which noodles it is as he described it.

Noel: Brother, which noodles here has thick noodles with white sauce? I can’t remember if it’s the Hakka or the Szechuan noodles.

Indian waiter: Hakka is blah, blah, blah, a little bit spicy, blah, blah. Szechuan noodles is red, a little bit spicy, blah, blah, blah.

Noel: No, that’s not it. (Thinking long and hard.) You know, in the Philippines it’s called Lomi.

Me: E di lalong di nya naintindihan...(The more he wouldn’t understand…)

Ryan: Brother, you know, it’s slimy.

Indian waiter: (Blank stare.)

Noel: Masyadong malalim ang English mo, simplehan mo lang. (You’re English is too deep, make it simple.)

I was trying to think of a much simpler term than slimy. Sticky? Gooey? Viscous? The more that the waiter wouldn’t understand me.

Me: Don’t you have pictures of the dishes in your menu so we can show you which one it is?

Indian waiter: No, we don’t have. No problem, order what you want and if you don’t like, you can return. No problem.

Noel: Okay, we’ll just try. We’ll have the Szechuan and instead of Hakka, make it Singaporean noodles.

He then turned to us and said, “Baka yung Singaporean noodles yun.” (It must be the Singaporean noodles.)

Alas, when our order came, nothing resembled our famous Lomi. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the noodles even if it’s not “slimy.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

The In-Charge

When I started in my ward, I thought the in-charge must’veย  hated me. It’s like I never did anything right. Everything that I do is wrong for her. I always hear something from her. It’s either I failed to do this or that, or I forgot to do this, where’s my head, what kind of memory do I have, etc. But when I do things right, she never say anything. So I do everything just to keep out of her sight. When she’s around, I pretended to be busy. I can only breathe normally when she leaves or when I’m on night duty. I hate her so much. But I never let her get into me. The more she criticizes me, the more I’m showing her that I’m better than she thought.

One time, I was so pissed off I told my Mom I want to resign. I told her how my in-charge treats me. My Mom said not to let things get into me. Maybe the reason why she’s doing that is because she knows that I’m really good. Yeah, right. Good for nothing is more like it.

So I stayed and endured her criticisms. I became stoic. I got used to her constant nagging. But I was always saying out loud that I want to resign. One time, I gave her a form for her to fill out. It’s a form that came from one licensing body in UAE allowing me to practice Nursing in the other Emirates. After 4 months, since I gave her the form, I (accidentally) found (the form) lying in her office when she asked me to find her lost keys. I felt so mad and betrayed that I confronted her. I showed her the form.

Me: “Ma’am, I thought you signed this and sent it to the Ministry of Health? Why is it still here?”

In-Charge:Oh, ah…about that one, yes. I’ve actually thought about it and I’ve decided not to show it to the Director of Nursing because if she sees that, she’ll know you’ll resign.”

Me: “Don’t I even have the right to decide?”

In-Charge: “Yes, I know but um, you see, we want you here.”

Me: “I want to go.”

She wasn’t able to say anything after that. I was really furious. I feel like a prisoner. I feel stucked and I can’t even do something about it.

After that incident, she mellowed down on me. I now hold her in the neck. She did the most terrible thing to me. I can take her constant criticism, but I can’t take her betrayal.

One friend of mine, a Lab Tech, knew what happened. She told me, “You know what, when someone criticizes you so much, it means that you’re so good that they constantly challenge how good you are. Don’t worry, I get criticized too by my in-charge frequently. But see, she’s more confident in me than in my other colleagues. The next time she criticizes you, just think, she criticizes you because you’re good.”

The number of nursing staff in our ward is enough and my in-charge is not asking our Director of Nursingย  for additional nurses. I’m about to be transferred to the other ward. But she told me, “I’m keeping you. I requested this staff to be promoted as Senior Nurse so you can be absorbed here.”

I don’t know if she’s just saying that because she did me wrong or she really thinks I’m good.

Frankly, I don’t want to be transferred because my friends are in that ward. But I’m thinking, it’s better that I be transferred than to stay with an in-charge that I don’t trust.

But then I thought about what my Mom and my Lab Tech friend told me. Could it really be that I’m good?

There are times that I can see right through her armor. Beneath that facade is a delicate human being that thrives (too much) for respect and authority that she creates an invisible protective shield that hides a certain degree of weakness and propels anyone who dare challenge her. But underneath that hard shell is a soft spot, a kind person, someone who believes in what a person is truly capable of.

She’s much nicer to me now than before. I learned a lot from her. She made me stronger, tougher. In this foreign country, one must learn how to survive. She just trained me on how to fight for myself, not to quit when I find myself in a difficult situation. And I know that she believes in my capabilities. I may not hear it from her, but I can see through her actions.

She may have been my TORMENTOR. But she’s a great MENTOR. ๐Ÿ˜‰