“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…” ― John Lennon
Sometimes, fate has its way of making us laugh. Adversely, it can also play tricks on us. Unfortunate events, as we may label them, are not necessarily bad. Ironically, they can be quite beneficial depending on how you see them. Their benefits vary from mundane wake-up calls to serious learnings that we couldn’t have realized should we not experience the bad things.
This is basically how I’d like to see the situation where I am in at the moment. The specific turn of events with “where I am” was quite unexpected. One moment I felt secure, then the next I’m facing a whole new reality. A reality that I wouldn’t want in the first place, but then it happened. It’s real. It’s happening. Again, it’s a reality.
As with the road to acceptance comes its stages, I’m no longer in denial. However, I haven’t fully accepted it, if I may say so. I believe, though, that I’m getting nearer the pinnacle of full retribution to this reality. I’d like to see the good in this, as I wouldn’t want to end up with any kind of bitterness. The thing is, I feel okay with everything. I think of what transpired in the past year and 10 months and I feel okay. Satisfied, being the right word. I believe I’ve done something worth it during those times and I feel I achieved something. Not everyone gets to do that, not everyone gets to have the entitlement to have this certain sense of fulfillment, this thought alone makes everything okay.
Feeling this sense of fulfillment doesn’t take away the fact that I look at things as if they don’t make sense at the moment or that I feel like I’m hanging somewhere or that I’m beginning to wander and feel lost. But despite all these questions, of trying to find answers, I know that day will come when a light would be shed to give meaning to everything. As always, things will happen, if they’re meant to happen. And sometimes it will happen when you least expect it.
Last Thursday, we went all the way to San Joaquin, Pasig to fetch the yaya that we hired in an agency named ETE Employment Services. We paid a total of almost 5.5K to get this yaya, inclusive of the agency fee and the cash advances that the person had during her stay in the agency. On our way home this person, who is named Geraldine Balba, born on June 15, 1982, and currently resides in Lemery Batangas, tried to drove us into emphatic talk by sharing with us the hardship that her family’s going through, which is also the main reason why she had to leave her 1 year-old kid in her husband’s care and work here in Manila.
Although such story of financial rut is not new to us, we felt that maybe she really needs the job. Perhaps, “stealing” too.
On Saturday, while I was out for a business meeting, my husband informed me at around 5pm that the person is nowhere to be found. I told him to check her bag in the maid’s room, and I was informed that it’s still there. I told my husband that maybe she just went downstairs to get our clothes, given that she did the laundry that morning. However, I was told that she wasn’t there as well.
This wasn’t the first time that a yaya left our home without a word. But this was very different from the first experience because this time we became victims of theft. I asked my husband to check the house if there’s anything missing, and according to him, nothing seems to be stolen. But the thing is, my husband is not fully aware of all of our kids’ belongings. I am the one who has memorized all the clothes that my kids have (probably not all, but you get the point), as well as where their other things are kept. So, I literally felt uneasy during my commute home because my gut instincts tell me that some things might indeed be stolen.
When I got home at around 9pm, I went to the room where my kids’ closet and things are placed and searched on possible missing items. Turns out, the person took the new clothes and accessories of my kids. These things are gifts that my kids received last Christmas and during their birthday, which they haven’t even worn yet!
At first, I thought it was only a new pair of pajamas that’s missing, but as I searched thoroughly (drawers to drawers), I realized that a few more things are missing including two new Barbie eyeglasses that they’re Lola gave to them on their birthday, two dresses, and a new set of underwear (also a gift). I even saw a pair of old but wearable shoes of my eldest hidden under a table in the maid’s room, which she probably was about to steal too. I also have a stash of old clothes (those that my kids no longer wear due to sizing) in a cabinet, which I’m pretty sure she took items from as well (not so certain what particular items though as those are really old ones), but I’d assume that those items fit her 1-year-and-6-month-old kid perfectly.
I’m not after these things’ monetary value. They’re replaceable. What I can’t get over with is the fact that we were victimized by a person who we welcomed into our home, fed and sheltered for two days, and even treated well so she’d feel at home. And God, the money that we spent hiring her, that’s a whole different story. That’s hard-earned money, which we unhesitantly used because we really need someone to take care of our kids as both of us our working.
Before we decided to get the services of the agency - ETE Employment Services - we took the initiative to do some background check on the agency. We read some negative feedback about it, with one of the complaints being about stealing. But of course, we couldn’t get sold by one negative complaint. Besides, almost all employment agencies in the country, unfortunately, have negative reviews. Thus, we didn’t mind it. In order words, we gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Turns out, we’ll get victimized by the same tactic as well - the worker will stay for only a day and leave with stolen things in tow. I guess this should serve as a lesson for the agency (and all the other agencies in the Philippines) in terms of their services, should they wish to stay in business. For God’s sake, their clients spend a great deal of money to pay for their fees, they should at least have the decency to really train and screen their candidates - that is if their business is not scam-like or fraudulent by nature in the first place.
My husband called the agency on the very day of the incident. The agency promised to call us back the next day, which is today, but we didn’t hear a word from them. I texted them again today to follow-up on the issue, but na-da. (How about that!)
We’ve been hiring helpers for years now, and this was the first time that something like this happened, which makes it a little hard to get over with. But thinking about this misfortune on the positive side, I feel more thankful and blessed with where we are now. We may not be filthy rich, and we may not spoil our kids with unlimited supplies of toys and clothes (because we choose not to, anyway), but we’re doing okay. We may be living on a tight budget, breathing practicality at all times, but at least we don’t have to do immoral things like stealing to provide for our family - to put our kid to school, to give them their needs, to pay for the bills, and to feed and shelter ourselves. Most importantly, I’m thankful that nothing bad happened to my kids.
(She looks a bit younger in person. She’s thin, about 5’4, and wears retainers.)
To this person named Geraldine Balba, may your kid feel proud wearing the items that you stole and may God forgive your poor soul.
Each person has his/her competitive advantage. Even if you’re not good at a particular thing doesn’t mean you’re not good at anything at all. Each has his/her own set of skills. These skills may have been products of experience or just innately yours from the beginning.
For a year now, I continually explore the possibility of finding ‘comfort’ and ‘career advancement’ in a field I’ve never been to before, professionally-speaking. Things are okay. But they are just that - okay. I owe my ‘improved’ writing ability to this year-long stint. I owe my ‘improved’ social skill, though I’m only referring to gathering so much friends in a short span of time, to this job. I owe my ‘developed’ vigilance to errors to this one year of journey.
Behind all these gratitude that unsurprisingly consume a great part of me, I am left asking every so often, “what now?”
After more than twelve months, things are still okay. And with the state of mind that I’ve developed throughout the years, okay is not okay. I need and want to achieve ‘better’.
People may see me as a fool for ‘wanting’ better. But, seriously, am I? I don’t think so. Aiming for better only means one thing - I never stopped dreaming. In an article I’ve read a few days ago, it is said that when people lose their passion they tend to stop dreaming of a ‘better’ world. They lose the enthusiasm to seek. They lose the determination to go on. Now, putting this into the equation, does me wanting better show that I still believe in a better world? That I’m still enthusiastic to seek? That I’m still determined to go on an unleash my true potential?
Before I go on seeking for ‘better’ where I am now, I guess it’s safe to ask this first, “am I seeking at the right place?”
For the past half a decade (wow, it’s been that long?), I’ve learned to discover my skills. From being an “only talking when declaiming or delivering a poem” kind of student, I turned into a young professional who can present an artistic concept to a client. Shaky and all of course, but still with confidence.
From being an “I’ll just accept whatever’s laid on my plate” kind of employee, I learned to speak up. I’ve learned how to be open to ideas and how to open up my own ideas. I’ve learned to be keen about incompetency and inconsistency, by pointing them out, not for my own sake, but for the sake of the team.
From being a “be it as it may” woman, I’ve learned to shake things up. I showed people that a minion has a voice, and minion as I may be, I have a mind of my own.
When I try to combine all these things together, I get a certain picture of myself, which is a far cry from the 9-6 worker that I am now. I see someone utilizing all these skills and not being confined to a desk, in front of a blank document, and with jumbled words in mind. I picture someone speaking, sharing, educating, helping, and continuously learning.
I see my roots. And now I understand it clearly, where I was is where I’m meant to be.
Everyone of us experiences that moment of feeling stuck at a particular place or situation. When at this point, what should you do?
They always say that a person should bloom where she’s planted. However, in reality, blooming isn’t always that easy. Opportunities to bloom do not always come by. When there’s no room to develop, no doors or windows to grow, what should you do?
Waiting is probably everyone’s fail-safe choice. Especially when situations are just dandy and not complicated, you can probably just wait. Wait for that opportunity, for that door or window to open. But how long should you wait?
Time passes. And as each second pass by, you have to recount if you were able to utilize it accordingly. If you were able to make the most out of it and if those seconds got you nearer the destination that you want to be in the future. As you wait, you have to discern if the waiting gets you somewhere. Does it bring you closer to your dream? Does if bring you extra resources that you can utilize in the future?
If not, then waiting may not be the wise thing to do after all.