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The Middle East is a new kind of world to me. On my very first day in Dubai, I have come to realize that its a city without stars, I mean, when I looked up at the sky, I could only see darkness but the lights and every skyscraper in the city made this a lively one. My older brother who sponsored me to go there secured a bed for me in a villa somewhere in Satwa.
My tourist visa was only good for a month, I have to find a job as soon as possible. After two weeks of submitting CVs and getting lost in this vast city, I was hired by one of the courier companies in the UAE. I was so glad because I was referred by an ex-colleague in Cebu who worked in Dubai too and there were a lot of Bisaya, I heard.
It was on my third week in Dubai when I started my training and I am so thankful I get to meet two other Bisaya during our training. Jeanne and Rose, became my closest OFW while working for Aramex. We worked as call center executives for the said business.
It was in Aramex that I learned to familiarize the locations of the United Arab Emirates. Whenever I talk with a customer over the phone, I could immediately figure out where the specific location is, I could type in the address in less than a minute.
Living in a hot country was not very convenient, although we have air conditioning all over the place, in our office, in the trains, in the waiting sheds, even in our villa, we still can’t avoid going under the sun. Also, the water supply in Dubai is not the same as the water supply in the Philippines. However, having friends with you who are truly made my stay in Dubai bearable.
She was the first one to talk to me during our training. I am a little snob, that’s a fact, I don’t talk first, I wait for the other party to do it first and then I am already a happy gal after that. It was Jeanne’s lively personality that made me smile and decide to stay with the company. During the training, she was very talkative, she would talk about everything under the sun. She had shared her life too! Our training was good for a week then we have to change our visas.
After changing the visa, we start to work on the floor with the tenured ones. I am already used to this kind of environment but it was still scary however, it was Jeanne who made me feel more comfortable. We were together, sitting side by side and she would tell me how cute my voice was whenever I answer calls. I never received such a compliment. She would often talk about her customers too and how they had made her laugh during the call. In short, I was always entertained by how animated Jeanne would talk and share her daily work.
Once we are done with work, we would ride our company vehicle going to the subway. We still have to travel for an hour before reaching our villas. She stays with her uncle in Sharjah while I stay in Satwa. In the vehicle, we often would be listening to music while relaxing, we had a whole day of talking so we usually would just keep quiet and listen to music but since she’s very talkative, she usually would stop listening to a song and recommend it to me when she likes this new song and so on. Her first recommendation was Bruno Mars’ playlist, it was her who introduced me to When I Was Your Man, It Will Rain, and others. She would explain to me what the song was all about and then she’ll let me listen to it on her earphones.
By the time we reach the subway, we would then talk about everything, she is very open, she talked about her love life, how her boyfriend had stayed with her through thick and thin, they were together for a long time, they were both thin when they started their relationship then became fat as the years pass by. However, I felt like her boyfriend was just taking advantage of her. I told her about it honestly and she said Norman was really a little bossy at times but she loves him and that’s what matters, her family doesn’t even like him.
But she even sponsored him to visit her in Dubai but he still went back to the Philippines. A year after I left Dubai, I learned that they had ended their relationship and I found Norman with another girl, it was a coincidence that we live in the same village!
It was a blessing in disguise as Jeanne found a new love and they got married too in Dubai. Soon, they’ll come to Cebu for their church wedding and I can’t wait to see her again.
Anyway, going back to the subway scene, we always talk about not eating out at the start of the trip. But ended up eating at buffets once we get down from the metro station. She’s always a hungry girl. She loves food! She influenced me with eating chicken down to the bones, literally.
Most of her relatives live in the UAE too so I had met most of them and we even do parties once in a while. I learned that she had her first glass of liquor when she was four. I almost pass out when I learned that and she just laugh, her laughter was the sweetest! She makes my day bright in fact!
Jeanne brought me to different parts of the UAE with her relatives. She was the reason why I was able to go to The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, she tagged me to their relatives’ birthday events.
She also had persuaded me to go to Fujairah and other places. If it was not for her, I’d just be stuck in our rented room and would just watch movies and be sad but it was her who made my life in Dubai interesting. She is the funniest, most humble, ever energetic, and most generous person I had ever met.
Yesterday’s her birthday and I believe that she is happy with her husband. She is still in the UAE, she now resides in Sharjah as she had transferred to another company already. I wish her all the happiness in the whole wide world. To my BFF! Thank you for showing me how a true friend should be! Love you dai!