I've been so busy that I haven't written anything in more than two months! I was so caught up with life's busyness that my body told me to stop and rest. All those weeks of lack of sleep and over fatigue took its toll on me. So now I'm forced to stay at home for almost two weeks. I'm on house arrest for having the flu coupled with a nasty attack of my allergic rhinitis. I was tested for A(H1N1) over the weekend but thank God my results came back negative. If my fever didn't spike up to 39.4 and I didn't have a history of travel abroad in the past 10 days I wouldn't have to go thru the torture of the throat and nose swab.
Oh yeah, I went on a 3-day vacation spree in Singapore...this entry is actually about that among other things.
It was my first time to travel abroad and I did it alone...finally! No wonder the immigration officers at the Centennial airport questioned me. They said something about how I look too young to travel and how my profile fits someone who would only go to Singapore to be a victim of human trafficking. Talk about judging people by their appearance! I was both shocked and disappointed at how the immigration officers treated me. They were very rude and condescending! They questioned me like I had no right to travel on my own. How disheartening that my fellow Filipino would treat me this way while they were so nice and friendly to the foreigners in front of me!
"I'm already 27 years old, it's right there in my passport," I stated the obvious.
"You're already 27 and you're still single? Dapat may asawa ka na ah (You should be married by now)," the immigration officer remarked.
"So what if I'm still single? That's why I'm doing this now. I want to be able to travel alone while I'm still single," I replied idignantly.
Again, I don't remember a law in the constitution saying that a woman in her late 20's should already be married! Seriously!
I was beginning to regret insisting travelling on my own. I didn't expect something like this would happen to me. My young looks have always played to my advantage until that day. I've charmed (and cried) my way out of traffic violation tickets. I've mostly gotten away with anything because of how I look, but not this time.
However, I received the exact opposite reception from the immigration officer in Singapore. The woman was very friendly and polite! She just asked where I'm staying and wished me a happy vacation. I heaved a sigh of relief!
Even though I had the most tiring trip ever and despite the setbacks I encountered right from the beginning of my journey I'm still glad and thankful for the experience. Most of my family and friends have already migrated to different parts of the world and I wasn't really very interested in leaving the country for good, I only wanted to vacation around the world. I've always said that I won't exert the effort to apply for an immigrant or working visa, only if the opportunity will arise. I didn't want to leave my comfort zone because I've always believed that I could be just as successful here as I would be in a another country.
For months, I've struggled with the turn of events in my family's life. I've had hesitations in migrating to another country this year. I prefer to stay here in the Philippines and have a family of my own but on the other hand, I also don't want to be left behind by my mom and sister. Short as my trip was it opened my eyes to a different horizon. I've realized how it is true what I heard in the news a few weeks back that the Philippines is 45 years behind compared to the first world countries. I've seen how advanced, disciplined and clean Singapore is. Sadly, our country truly is lightyears behind in terms of everything.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not ashamed to be a Filipino. This country will always be home, but I'm now starting to look at our migrating as a wonderful opportunity and I'm even excited about it instead of dreading it. I know that the Lord is bringing me to a country where He will bless me and my family. My Singapore trip was a sneak peek of what life would be like in Australia. A whole new world is waiting for me and I've faced all those challenges in the past 27 years to prepare me for this big move.
As I was stressing getting off the deisgnated bus stop and topping up my EZ link card at the same time, I cried to my friend, "Ella! Wait for me! Everything here is moving too fast, I'm not used to this!"
My friend replied, "Mich, ganyan talaga dito sa Singapore. Lahat dito may systema and disiplina. (This is really how it is in Singapore. People here are organized and disciplined.)"
"Pasensya ka na, galing kasi ako sa bansang walang disiplina. (You have to forgive me, I came from a country with no discipline.)"
I'm 27, still single but fabulous and I got to travel abroad on my own! What a privilege and a liberating experience! It was just awesome!