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[1: 1,953 of 10,000] Living A Decade In Dubai

In Journal on September 23, 2018 at 6:23 PM

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 6.12.00 PM

2001 was my first attempt of living in Dubai that only lasted for 6 months. I left when my body was literally bursting skin allergy due to stress caused by my sales job, constantly outdoor, and a part of it is introducing condoms to hypermarkets and hotel shops. Then in 2008, I came back, and I never thought I would ever step in this country again after my not so endearing first-time experience, but 10 years later I’m still here and not in a hurry to leave because I like my job being in the healthcare industry.

Here are the 10 things that a decade of living in Dubai has made me experience:

  1. In my early days, there is a different impression towards women, like men entice women to get into their car that sort of uneasy feeling. I do hope that’s not the case now, I don’t experience it anymore, maybe because I now lived in a better neighborhood or it completely stopped.
  2. I am grateful that I am in a pretty awesome apartment and a quiet neighborhood where there is a proper and charming boardwalk that I can use for jogging.
  3. The feeling of security that I will never be robbed in broad daylight or even if you accidentally left your house open overnight. My sister forgot her mobile phone from mall shops several times, and we always get it back.
  4. I have experienced working in a company that didn’t pay salary on time. I’ve heard from employees today that they don’t get paid on time even if they try to resolve it through the labor office. It’s not fair that companies do this especially that expat are here to work to support their loved ones back home. I also don’t like it that some companies pay a meager salary, taking advantage to people who were trying their best to stay in the country before their visa expires. After 4 companies, my 5th was when I knew what I am looking for and I knew exactly what I was demanding. Great companies exist.
  5. I love it that Dubai always offers something shiny and new to residents and tourists.  It may be a city that has malls open until midnight or even at 2am during Ramadan, but it still sleeps. There are moments that I am still wide awake at 3am and I watch the quiet street and the thought that most people are in their dreams at those moments, that’s absolutely giving me comfort, to be a witness of the subtle energy. It’s one of the reasons I like living in the city, it is alive by day and sleeps at night.
  6. If you have the money, you can enter anywhere. There are probably very exclusive places but most of the time, when you have the cash, then you’ll be able to experience luxury. I like the fact that it doesn’t discriminate. This is also the reason why I am always tempted to spent instead of learning to save.
  7. Having a residence visa in UAE allowed me to easily secure other visas to visit other countries. I felt that it’s easier to travel abroad and it’s such a wonderful feeling that I can be anywhere I fancy.
  8. The weather usually is hot or hotter (42-degree Celsius) but during winter time (14-degree Celcius) it is possible to enjoy alfresco dining and makes you want sun again. Despite the country being too hot, all establishments are equipped with airconditioning unit including the little grocery nestled within communities.
  9. You don’t see beggars or homeless scattered anywhere. I’ve been to Australia and France, and it shocked me to see people living in the streets, they also scare me a little that I try to avoid them and avoided eye contact.
  10. The Emiratis that I’ve encountered are very humble and welcoming to foreigners. It makes me feel at home. Last June, I went back to the Philippines for 12 days (after 6 years of not visiting), and I felt more at home to come back to Dubai. So right now, Dubai is my home.

[1: 1,952 of 10,000] What’s My Story To Tell?

In Journal on September 22, 2018 at 10:39 AM

I have moved through life for 38 years, and I could recognize the phases:

Young me was playful. It was the 80s, and I adore running outside, playing ball with the neighborhood, riding a bike and even hit by a bike by my childhood crush (entirely my fault, I thought I was invisible), and going out to a resort for a summer swim.

Teenage me was grumpy. Some even assumed am a tomboy with my baseball cap backward and not into prim and proper. I am not a lesbian, I totally shut down when a lesbian showed interest in me, I ran away. I also ran away when men court me, and I don’t like them, I freak out and stop all connection. My mother taught me that when I don’t like someone, keep wide proximity, and so I did. This was the best year though that I wanted to be alone and just write my own version of novels where my schoolmates lined up to read. I love my imagination at this time.

The collegiate me was all about getting into a good university and scoring high grades to be in the dean’s list. I love the library, I remembered the first time I tried to use the Internet from a PC, and I didn’t have a clue navigating the Yahoo! site. I still have my Yahoo! email. I got what I’ve dreamed of, being part of the literary group and was the Editor-In-Chief of the college yearbook and surprised the school President that I can produce it, she lost fate that it’ll be out that she didn’t even bother to write us a message, one dean gave us a recycled message from last year. It was a tragic history of yearbooks that are not produced all because the students didn’t meet up the expectation and took the privilege of being given the free range, I loved it and was up to accomplish a project. It was so humble though that when we were distributing, the school president went there to ask for a copy, I was planning to give her one, but I got to serve my customer first, the students who paid.

I grew up with entrepreneur parents but I saw them struggled in their businesses that I said I’ll be an employee so I won’t be thinking about the whole company, so I did apply for a job and landed one two months after graduating from college. It was fascinating to go to work, I was nervous, shy, and found out if I was absent from work I’ll have a salary deduction, the adult consequence of not showing up huh! I was lucky to join an IT company that launched some firsts in the Philippines, I was surrounded by smart young people like me. My dearest adult friends today I met at my first work company.

My father died in 2002 of a heart attack at 49 years old. My mother passed away due to cancer in 2012 at 58 years old. These deaths of my parents make me long for parents that I will never have. My signature demonstrates that I am hung up with the past, so I have to create a new story. My parents were not on good terms during the latter part of their lives, from being the Romeo & Juliet that defy all odds to they’re are tired of one another.

Fast forward to today, 17 years as an employee and one time having attempted at managing a business with my uncle financing it that failed, I am in an entirely new headspace. I like pretty things and ladylike, no more baseball cap but sun hats. I am in constant search for meaning to make my life worthy and not just existing. I have published an eBook on Amazon, and I am challenging myself to release some more. I’m still not married, but I’m entertaining the idea including becoming a mother. I know that being a parent is not easy, but I also believe that I was never 100% ready of anything, I needed people and I needed a load of help from God.

If there’s one thing I will never indulge now, I will not fall for self-pity, and I will be mindful of recognizing silly things that will distract me. I have to write down my dreams, my goals, my plans, and take the necessary step to make it happen; after giving all my best and knowing my intentions are in check, that I would be willing to surrender the result to God. Most of all, I am in my journey to see everyone as equal, I have built my own biases over the years, and I am on the work of shattering them. All in all, I am grateful with my current life, I am very contented and happy; contented not in the sense that I am not going to improve anymore but the mere fact that I can appreciate what is right now.

You’ve reached all the way here, thanks for reading my short story, so how about you, what is your story to tell?

[1: 1,950 of 10,000] Do You Dream of World Peace?

In Journal on September 19, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Are you dreaming of world peace? If yes, the best way to act and contribute to it is to have peace within yourself and be the peace for the ones that surround you and for whose lives you interact and touch.

Whatever you think you wish for the biggest crowd, always go back to the source, be that. I believe when we trust to be the best that we can be, we can create a movement in our circle that grows bigger and wider.

If you wish for receiving love, give love. If you wish for receiving forgiveness, give forgiveness. If you wish for receiving grace, give grace. If you wish for receiving success, serve. If you wish to complete a task, give the time and best effort.

May we wish for something nice and may we gain wisdom and have the courage to give what we wish for somebody else.

[1: 1,949 of 10,000] A Heart That Loves

In Journal on September 19, 2018 at 12:06 AM

My biggest weakness is believing that I am separate from others, that I am either superior or inferior, I am still not able to eloquently communicate, but I hope I am growing more mature every day. I am more open to seeing beyond the exterior and shallowness of things but to see the part of a person that we call a heart that loves and the immortal soul.

I grow up exposed to the idea that everybody has a soul but only recently that I learned that the soul has always been our essence and the one thing that connects everyone up to the extent to the divine. Our pure and perfect soul knows endless love but it forgets, or it gets blocked by the human experience.

I believe that God exists and He loves me unconditionally, and that leaves me in pure awe, and it makes me feel grateful all the time. I am growing my faith and believe that I need to surrender to His will and give Him glory with the noble works of my hands, by living my authentic self, and by doing the best that I can to live this life with enthusiasm.

I don’t know what the future brings, I used to be so obsessed with the unknown, but slowly right now I want to live with intentions and focus on what’s essential that gives me joy and oh to remind myself to enjoy when I feel so overwhelmed. I make plans that are in the trajectory of creating something that speaks I hope about my essence and then I am in constant prayer that whatever I do is aligned with God’s majestic plan.

[1: 1,948 of 10,000] WOEAIHF? Day 42 of 42

In Journal on September 15, 2018 at 8:31 AM

WOEAIHF is Rick Warren’s “What On Earth Am I Here For?” book.

Day 42: The people-pleaser trap

Rick warned and started with the question, “Whose approval are you living for?” And he then continued, “People-pleasing is the flip side of envy. Envy says, ‘I must be like you to be happy!’ People-pleasing says, ‘I must be liked by you to be happy.'” The only approval that I must seek is God’s so I won’t lose the grip of my life. With God, I will never feel insecure because He will never reject me and it’s the right path.

May I have the courage to be confident to do my life’s mission and speak about the love of God without fearing what others may think and never doubt my testimony. I will seek God’s help to break free when I am in the mute and inaction situations.

It was indeed enlightening that even God can’t please and make all happy because we were given the free will that we have to choose to know and follow Him.

And with that, I also share a prayer from Rick Warren that ended this book journey but the beginning of a meaningful and beautiful life: My sincere prayer is that you will begin to experience all that God has in store for you. “No mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord!”

[1: 1,947 of 10,000] WOEAIHF? Day 41 of 42

In Journal on September 15, 2018 at 8:09 AM

WOEAIHF is Rick Warren’s “What On Earth Am I Here For?” book.

Day 41: The Envy Trap

Rick created this and the next chapter as the great reminder of what can weaken a maturing Christian. I am grateful that envying doesn’t stumble me because I am happy and appreciative of the success and happiness of other people. I’ve known for a while now that we are each unique and yet connected in the bigger picture.

Rick was right validating that we must honor our life’s purpose, “To attempt to be what you weren’t created to be always lead to frustration, fatigue, and failure.” And yet, there are moments that we like what we don’t have and when there’s bitterness and bad intentions then it fall into sins. Rick has written a powerful statement when he said, “The worst part of envy is that it’s an insult to God!” God never made a mistake in creating each of us, each one is a masterpiece.

God says such comparisons are foolish. Because you are incomparable! Life on earth is unfair because of sin, not because of God.

[1: 1,946 of 10,000] WOEAIHF? Day 40 of 42

In Journal on September 11, 2018 at 6:00 AM

WOEAIHF is Rick Warren’s “What On Earth Am I Here For?” book.

Day 40: Living with purpose

I’ve reached the 40th day and this chapter is the best way to do my engraving to not forget and have a map to move forward.

  1. Worship. I have to put God at the center of my life and I will keep Him there through worship. If he’s not there, I worry. I worry a lot and now I know exactly why because I have deviated too far off from God. I do feel that when I choose love over fear then I have peace again.
  2. Discipleship. It takes a lifetime to build Christlike character but I can start from the fruit of the Spirit or the 8 Beatitudes. The character qualities that I will work on and develop in my life will live through eternity. I always have the inclination towards honesty, integrity, fairness, kindness and good intentions.
  3. Service. Paul said that the service I perform not only meets the needs of God’s people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God. I do believe that the highest compliment that I will ever receive is a “thank you” from a stranger because my very existence and action moved him or her in a beautiful way.  God has given me so much, so it is rightfully so that I give Him more through my service to others and with that I and the people I served glorify Him.
  4. Mission. My life is so meaningful because I believe God is real even if I don’t see or hear Him as a human being. My favorite prayer to God is, “May You bless our hearts so we remember You and we live our life with love for one another.” I have lived my life with entitlement and I am also very sensitive of not making anyone feel left alone, and so I strive to be compassionate and humble to love everyone in doing that I may be performing my mission that they knew God through me.
  5. Fellowship. I feel like I have outgrown the ways of my Catholic Church but I have to be part of one to fulfill one of my key purposes, which will also help me grow more mature.

[1: 1,945 of 10,000] WOEAIHF? Day 39 of 42

In Journal on September 10, 2018 at 8:53 PM

WOEAIHF is Rick Warren’s “What On Earth Am I Here For?” book.

Day 39: Balancing your life

Jesus modeled a purpose-driven life and He taught us how to live it:

  1. Helped us to know and love God (worship)
  2. Taught us to love each other (fellowship)
  3. Gave us the word so we could grow to maturity (discipleship)
  4. Showed us how to serve (ministry)
  5. Sent us out to tell others (mission)

The challenge now is to take all this inspiration that I’ve felt into practice and to balance them all. The truth is growth takes patience, perseverance, and doing the mundane even when I no longer feel the swoosh of sparks and it is then that I have to enjoy the present, remember what matters eternally, and have faith (pray harder) that I am in the right track.

I heard an interview of Sufi mystic, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and he described God as a beloved and he said if you love someone you would think about the person all the time and see the person in everything… now imagine when you discovered your love to God who loves you back unconditionally. It is that moment that you would not want not to be with God all the time. May I have the flare of sharing God as a beautiful and a privilege mission.

[1: 1,944 of 10,000] WOEAIHF? Day 38 of 42

In Journal on September 9, 2018 at 9:20 PM

WOEAIHF is Rick Warren’s “What On Earth Am I Here For?” book.

Day 38: Becoming a world-class Christian

I found a beautiful one-line prayer in this chapter, “Father, help me to understand what is keeping this person from knowing you.”

My sister, who is my sole housemate and my favorite travel companion told me that she doesn’t connect with God. I know that she prays when she’s nervous and hopeful about something but she doesn’t have a constant communication with God. She doesn’t see the value of praying daily.

I try to live the way Jesus lived to inspire her and I hope to get spiritual guidance, “Father, help me to understand what is keeping this person from knowing you.” I feel extreme happiness knowing I speak to God anytime through prayers, that I go to bed on most nights with a grateful heart for the beautiful day and for my beautiful life.

I am on my next journey to surrender and hear my mission to serve the best of my ability. A mission delivered so clear that I understood it and be on it with 100% commitment. I feel like a baby in this instance because I am unsure that I am maximizing my full potential.

[1: 1,943 of 10,000] WOEAIHF? Day 37 of 42

In Journal on September 8, 2018 at 8:46 AM

WOEAIHF is Rick Warren’s “What On Earth Am I Here For?” book.

Day 37: Sharing your life message

“Your message burns in my heart and bones, and I cannot keep silent.” – Jeremiah

I grew up knowing there is one God, about the Holy Trinity, I experienced going to a Catholic Church every Sunday, and I believe that when I pray it is heard. I did feel that God loves me so much that I even prayed for things that aren’t the best for me but He let it so I can learn from them.

The moment came that I am searching for fulfillment but I couldn’t find it anywhere else until I took the path to search for God. I watched Morgan Freeman’s documentary about God, I listened to Rob Bell’s podcast, I got myself of the book ‘A Course In Miracles’ where it gives me comfort that I’m reading Jesus directly, and then this book from Rick Warren. My life isn’t complete and meaningful without God in it and acting on it.

I am still on the process of growing and I have to consciously work to become mature in the near future. I hope I do my Christina duty to be God’s messenger that we ought to trust Him, follow Him, and He will always be there until eternity to love us.

God never made a person He didn’t love. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear.”