Till the next year...

Posted by Abdel Kadz on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 with 3 comments
As I write this, my friend Sham, who just had her one-month vacation leave as a staff physical therapist for a maternity and child hospital in KSA, is already back to where her work is.

With Lei and Sham at the PT Department of Camp Navarro General Hospital,
Zamboanga City, c. 2005.

Because we didn't have the luxury of time to meet on just any day prior to the exact date of her flight back, we set our rendezvous on Saturday, a day before her ETD to Saudi Arabia. We almost didn't get the chance to see each other because I was so tired and I felt like I was fried to a pulp what with the scorching heat in what was supposed to be the start of the rainy season. And our meeting place didn't help either. Robinson's Galleria was not accessible on my end. The bus from where I'm from can bring us only up to MRT Ortigas and commuters then have to walk the tortuous EDSA amid fast-moving vehicles, thick pollution, and under the scorching sun.

It turned out that I arrived hours earlier. To kill time, I just scouted the place but ended up not buying anything. My mind was still set on that horoscope from weeks before: Monitor your budget and avoid any unnecessary expenses. Tired and hungry, I started my way back to Ayala Avenue to go home; shared cabs plying the route FTI-Makati are stationed there. When I was taking my dinner, my friend sent a text message that she was on her way to Rob's and that she wanted to see me before she flies back. You see, our college barkada is such a close-knit group of friends that we treat each other more like siblings, more like family. I wouldn't be able to see her after another year if I didn't go, and the last we got to was in January 2007.

How my feet were tortured walking back from MRT Ortigas to Galleria the second time around, but I didn't mind even if I developed calluses on the soles of my feet. These meet-ups only happen once a year, so why would calluses stop me from going, or the scorching sun, or the pollution-infested EDSA?

We finally met outside National Bookstore, and on seeing her on the doorway, oh my, how she has grown, big-big grown. Weheh. We were like transported back to our college days and got to exchange stories of how our lives have been the last time we saw each other. On the bus bound to where she was staying in Maceda, she shared mostly vignettes of the nature of her job in Saudi Arabia, of how Arabs are towards foreign workers, and how strict the country is, especially on women's dress codes and the mingling of males and females in public places. Boy, she's been through a lot of experiences, and that's only about a year of stay in a foreign land.

She ended up treating us in Pier One in ABS-CBN as a sort of despedida. Her sister, her aunt, and her cousin were there to share her last night in the country as the high-noon of the next day, she was scheduled to fly back. What was nice about being in the company of her family was that they treated me like one of them, like a brother or a cousin, even though it was only the first time we met. Brings a smile knowing that you've developed friendship with the right kind of person.

With Sham, her sister Mehriza and cousin Gammar at Pier One, ABS-CBN

It was already the wee hours of the morning when we parted ways, but in that parting came the promise of helping each other out in our careers as physical therapists and of bolstering the bond we've formed with the rest of our friends wherever we maybe in the world. I guess her leaving for abroad is for the best, not only on her part for the work experience that she'll get, but also for people who rely on her. But again, who's to tell but her.

Till the next year, friend!

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