Saturday, July 10, 2010

The PEBA Jeddah Chapter EB

July 8, PEBA Jeddah Chapter had a mini-EB and at last I was able to join this mini-event which I don't usually do. It was a first time for me so I felt a bit nervous if I'll be able to fit in the crowd. I am also quite shy because I don't know who I am going to meet. I know Sir NJ and Kenji will be there but I don't know who else are coming. So here is what happened:

I went to the meeting place which is at the Indonesian Cafe. It is quite hard to memorize the cafe's name so I decided to also call it Indonesian Cafe like Sir NJ did. When I went to the cafe, it read a different name so I decided to stroll around to look for the "Indonesian Cafe". Back home, I was quite sure it is the only Indonesian Cafe in Balad area but when I read it's name I said to myself "I thought I knew Balad area so well". I have been working in the area for almost 11 years now so I thought even if I walk there with blind-folds I could tell where the shops are - perhaps I was wrong.

Since I was still quite sure it is the place, I decided to try their sweet drink called "Indonesian Cold Drink". At first sip of the cold drink I almost cough - it is really sweet!. I checked the cold drink and noticed the concentrated syrup under it - "silly me!". Lesson learned: I am not drinking Pinoy's "samalamig" so when drinking foreign drinks, mix it well first hehe!. "So that's the purpose of the spoon they gave me hahaha!" (I laughed quitely in my mind of my own stupidity). I took some pictures around the place so I could post some pictures here at my Baul and after enjoying the cup and saw the time (almost 3pm in my watch), I said to myself - "I should have bought water - it's still so sweet hehe!". Okay, I was actually worried when I saw the time. Indonesian Cafe at 2:30 was the appointed time and place. I am already thinking that they are probably drinking coffe somethere in Balad called Indonesian Cafe - perhaps I was really wrong.

I decided to stroll around and look for "Indonesian Cafe" (btw, I didn't tell this to the guys when I met them coz I don't want them to feel guilty about such a small detail hehehe!) and every person I try asking points me in the same direction. Yes, the place which is NOT called Indonesian Cafe. So after asking 3 more people that pinpoints me to the same location, I went back to the place and found Indonesians there enjoying a chat and having a few drinks. I also found a group of 3 pinoys but none of them I recognize. Now, my only option is to ask Sir NJ himself. Thinking that he'll be driving (since he said, he'll probably meet us later), instead of calling him I decided to just send him a text message. He'll probably read it when he reaches Balad area or atleast inform me the right place if they are already there. My phone rang and saw Sir NJ calling me, it's a good thing my shyness and nervousness didn't occur to me that time or else ... I don't know hehehe! Yes, that is how shy I am. So I responded almost immediately and he assured me that it is precisely the place that he is talking about. He asked me if I already met Kenjie - I said no. "Where are you Kenji!" (I shouted in my mind hehe!). If I remember it right, he told me that he is halfway. I still have some spare time so I let him know it's okay even though I don't have any idea how long or how far is halfway hehe! Anyways, Kenjie's house is just a few blocks away from where I am - I could throw a bottle and he'll probably hear the sound of it breaking (No, I'm just kidding but I can see his place from where I am sitting).

So after, contemplating on the paragraph above, I realize this is crazy. It is already four paragraphs and I still have no story about the meeting. So okay, to shorten things. Sir Nj  (Desert Aquaforce) came with his Malaysian friend, Anuar and side-kick Zakkir, followed by Pepe (Camera ni Cabrera and X-Spot) and Nelson (Soy Negrense) and then Kenji (Thoughtskoto). One thing, I've realized that time - I don't have to be shy about this wonderful people. Although we don't share the same ideas about things, nor share the same faith, nor the same professions, but we all shared the same fate as all other OFWs  - the sadness of being away from your family when we all first came here. Another great thing is, we can all express it through our blogs. Oh! another thing I've learned from this mini-EB, now I can tell who Nelson and Pepe is, hahaha!

Kenji and Sir NJ laid us ideas about the PEBA's upcoming new theme and the story behind it (I won't reveal it in my blog, so we'll just leave that to PEBA's website). And while Kenji explained the things and the progress of PEBA's programs and the people who benefit to it (Charitable foundations), I became excited. Just to clear out things, not one from PEBA official benefit from the collected donations. It is a dream for me to someday help people through organizations that I am affiliated with. Now upon learning PEBA's charitable mission, I am more honored to be part of PEBA.

I thought PEBA's concern was just for the OFWs living abroad, but after hearing their views and most specially when I learned what the upcoming theme is, I realized PEBA is also concerned about the families left by OFWs back in our country. I hope and pray, by launching the new PEBA theme which will be opened not just for the OFWs around the world but for the locals in our country who has an OFW family member - that people will listen and realize the values which will be learned from the new theme.

Okay, back to the mini-EB topic. We had an exchange of stories and I found new interesting things to contemplate with. Of course, the employer topic was always a mainstay. I felt sad knowing more OFWs experience delayed salaries from their employers and like many other OFWs nowadays, internet and TV is the only way to defeat sadness while working in a foreign country. It was a very productive EB. I hope I get to know more PEBA Jeddah Chapter members soon, of course I am also open to other countries and PEBA Philippines as well. I am already thinking of my vacation this December in Manila and Doha Qatar. God willing, I'll meet George (Pope) there and hopefully some other PEBA Doha Chapter members.

It was a nice experience. Thank God, I found new friends.

Here are a few pictures taken from our EB. I'll grab the others from Facebook later from Pepe's photos.

I wish to thank Sir NJ and Kenji for arranging this mini-EB, it was a great experience. Thanks Nelson and Pepe for being there, it was nice meeting you guys. I still can't believe that I've already met the people behind the blogs I follow. It won't be the last, if ever there is another EB and if I have time - I'll be there to meet you guys. Thank Sir NJ for the freebie shrimps, it was very tasty. My wife cooked a few while it's fresh - "Ang sarap papakin!". Nice meeting Anuar and Zakkir too.

You can also read some of the stories at Nelson's Soy Negrense.


NFB said...

Hey, nice meeting you here again Mr. Baul keeper! I like the way you give life to your experience in writing, very funny and witty. And yes, my description of you in my post confirms that of your own. But behind that shy guy impression is a truly articulate and passionate blogger in you. Thanks Noel for your time shared with us. Till next time. Mabuhay ka at ang iyong mahal na familia!

NoBenta said...

wow, sana next time ay makasama ako sa EB ng mga bloggers here in saudi. medyo malayo kasi ang yanbu papunta dyan sa jeddah.

Life Moto said...

kenj na miss tuloy kita bro hahaha! more power dyan guys!

Noel said...

@NFB - thanks Nelson sa pagbisita. About the articulate ay parang di yata ako yun hehe! maarti pa or makulet haha! Maraming salamat din sa inyo ni Pepe.

@NoBenta - E di pag nagawi ka dito, magpa-set ka kay Kenji at kay Sir NJ para kita-kits tayo.

@life moto - punta ka dito para ala ka ma-miss hehehe!

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