Recently, I’ve been hanging out with a group of people that is totally different from my group of friends. People that I never thought I’d ever spend time with.
They all reach home by 7 to 7:30 in the evening. They’ll start cooking, chatting and laughing. And once the cooking is done, they sit and eat altogether. And gossip altogether.
I’ve read somewhere, and I’ve kept in mind, this saying that Bright People talk about Science and Politics, Average People talk about Events and the Below Average talk about other people’s lives. Is this really for real? Do bright people never really gossip? At all?
I guess, a little bit of gossip won’t hurt. A little bit of gossip makes us human.
I was overwhelmed by the warmth of their acceptance and a pang of guilt hit me after learning that they have always asked for me after our first meet up. They have always looked forward to the day(s) that I’d come back and meet them again. I was not really interested in meeting any of them and much more, becoming part of their lives.
But then for some reasons, I went to see them again and for some reasons I started enjoying their company.
I have no idea why, but I noticed that they like sharing their life stories to me. They are too eager to tell me their share of misfortunes, their lives prior to becoming an OFW, how they survived and how they ended up here in Dubai. They are so proud of their stories as if their sufferings are gold medals that they can hang on their chests.
After several meet ups, they are still too excited to share their stories to me, parts of their lives that they haven’t told me before. Maybe because they felt that I’m a good listener, or maybe because I look like the odd one out. Or maybe they all think that I did not have my share of misfortunes too. Maybe, I got myself all covered up with a nice little costume that’s why they can’t see through.
After dinner, they all gather up and sit cross-legged on the floor, eat chips and drink cola or coffee. They don’t need cozy sofa set, fancy coffees and macaroons to have their stories shared. They don’t take photos and tag each other on social media sites and write statuses like “Bonding with Friends” or “Having Great Time with Friends.” They don’t need to tell the whole sundry that they are having a great time, they are just living the moment.
This bond has somehow helped all of them survive their months and years of being away from their families back home. This bond, is somehow, keeping them sane as it’s not easy to be thousand miles away from home and work for long hours only to earn less than Php 20k a month.
Somehow, they found comfort in each other. In each other’s company. In each other’s lives. In each other’s luck and misfortunes.
Somehow, I found comfort in them too.
These past few weeks, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve faced so many issues, significant and unnecessary ones, a web of complication that I have woven myself into and I can’t work my way out. I felt disoriented. I felt that I’m losing it – whatever it is.
Meeting these people and hearing their stories somehow, had been an eye-opener. Sometimes, life is really simple. It is only us who complicates it.
They reminded me of my old self, my first year here in Dubai. A part of my life that I’ve always reminisced but somehow, I’ve always failed to remember.
Those were the days. When life was simpler. When I never really cared for anything else but to get my salary by the end of the month and send money home.
Sometimes when life gets too complicated we get lost and we wish to go back to our old selves. Our simpler selves. Our happier selves.
If you think you’ve lost yourself, try looking for it in a sea of strangers. You might really find what you are looking for.