Monday, December 28, 2009

customer service.

I was at KFC very recently, and I must tell you that I don't go there very often. I ordered for a bucket and when I arrived home, I discovered that there were a few pieces that were probably left overs from the previous day. Annoying, isn't it?

In the Philippines, if we dine out and find left overs mixed in our food, we are more likely to wrap it in a table napkin and slip it in our bags or pockets. If the waiter asks us how our food was, we would probably smile and tell him it was delicious.

Such well-mannered people, eh?

BUT in certain situations, we do complain. When we do, we lose our temper and scream like a madwoman. Well, I do.... sometimes! lol

Such uncivilized people, eh?

This is why I admire the cool, calm, and composed complaining at which the Dutch are so good. They never raise their voice and they actually believe that they deserve to get what they had paid for, which is the difference between the Dutch and Filipino attitudes when it comes to spending.

Maybe I should say, my Filipino attitude. But I am catching on.

That is good news, right? The bad news is that all my complaining techniques are getting me nowhere. I am simply becoming demanding, annoying, and at times, aggressive. Oh yes, I am turning into a complainer. I think.

Keeping a stiff upper lip was what made me refined, civilised and perhaps, even endearing (friendly) to people. I thought then that if I supress any display of emotion, smile if necessary, pretend that nothing happened, and give my other cheek; everything will be all right.

BUT I am no longer that person, and that ability to be tolerant (civilised and endearing) is no longer useful to me. I will say what I want to say, when I want to say it, and will be responsible for it. I try not to offend people, if I can help it.

Oh yes, I have grown. I have learned the Dutch´s relaxed, confrontational way of dealing with things. And I must admit, I am actually loving it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I love Christmas!

First of all, A BLESSED, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all! :D

The goddess of blogging left my nest for awhile, and I had been without a muse (my inspiration) since then. Hence, the long silence. lol

The year is almost over. We are all aware of that, I suppose. I am doing some thinking myself as to what I have accomplished this year. Then I stopped and became somewhat agitated. Why do I always think in terms of accomplishment? Why can I not gauge it in terms of personal growth? Or what I perceive as development in my personality. For instance, did I bother to act wiser and more matured, and accordingly to situations?

In general, I would certainly say I did. Of course, what I perceive as wise, matured, and proper, may mean something else to the onlooker.

But one thing is for sure. I have chosen to love myself more this year. Some may think it was egoistic, self-centered, and/or narcissistic. It doesn't really matter because people will always look at you according to their moods, their concept of truth, and their cultural & emotional luggage. If they are happy, they will be happy for you. If they are unhappy, they will try to drag you into their miserable state.

This is of course nothing new to us all. It's human nature, and the same could be said even in the animal kingdom. We don't want to be alone --- whether we are happy or miserable. From the moment we were born until our very last breathe, we want people around us.

And this is what people try to do at Christmas time. We try to surround ourselves with the people we love and who love us. Hence, the parties and dinners. We don't want to be alone for nobody wants to be alone. We want to belong to a tribe. To feel needed, loved and wanted.

Some of us are too proud to accept and acknowledge that. But it´s the truth. We are pleasers.

For those of us who are caught between two cultures, we try to make the most out of it. We decorate our homes and prepare food that will remind us of home.... or what used to be home. We share with our new family (and even with new friends and new neighbors) our culture and roots (religious and otherwise).

So whenever we take that old box that says "Christmas decors", we know that this is our way of holding on to our past (some would say, to see the world like a child again)..... of dragging people into our lives (the greetings and social obligations)..... of feeling we belong (Christmas dinner with the family). And this is why I love Christmas......

I love Christmas because it makes all of this possible for us, without much fuss. People obligingly do whatever is asked; and blame everything on capitalism or Catholic rituals and tradition, as others would call them. As for me, I love the rituals and traditions... so yes, I LOVE CHRISTMAS! hahahahaha

Thursday, December 3, 2009

to listen or not to listen....

So I have a new job. I am teaching at this local school called De Weier. My fifth week now. I don't know yet the names of my colleagues, but I am now a familiar face to them.

Today, I was standing by the coffee machine when I overheard two, young teachers discussing their private lives, in Dutch of course.

Colleague 1: Men are such strange creatures.
Colleague 2: No, they're not. They're just ... what's the word .... oh yes, sexed up.
Colleague 1: But Marieke, I really love him. We have been together for 2 years now. And now, he's in Morocco. I can´t stand it.
Colleague 2: If he truly loves you, it doesn't matter whether he is in Venus or in Timbuktu. He will remain faithful to you.
Colleague 1: But there are so many beautiful women in Morocco. (starts to cry)
Colleague 2: so what?
Colleague 1: He will .... (in between sobs looks at me, somewhat annoyed. My coffee was ready, and I was still standing there. AWKWARD!!! LOL )

Me: Hello.

With that note, I left. I missed the rest of the conversation, and I realized that I was not supposed to be listening, but there I was! Shame on me...! hahahahaha

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

letting go.

In my life, I lost childhood friends, boyfriends, and bestfriends. Yes, it can be very painful when a relationship breaks up. First, there's shock. You know, like your friend has died. Then, there's this gripping grief that it's over.

Normally, we would ask ourselves, what went wrong? What did I do? We tend to blame ourselves. Then, we get angry and frustrated, and we punish ourselves by thinking that it's wrong to have a good cry to get the grief out of our system. This is especially true when the relationship was a really good one. When you've known each other practically all your lives, or if you grew up together, or spent important years of your lives together.

I've lost friends this year. Not just acquaintances but good friends. It makes me sad, of course.

But I knew that the friendship was over when we stopped talking to each other. I tried to patch things up, but I realised that I was just wasting my time because they have passed judgment on me -- as to what kind of person I have become, after moving to Europe.

I felt like a beggar really, pleading them to take me back. But who am I kidding? I was simply prolonging my agony. I know that instead of winning them back, I pushed them away when I tried explaining things to them. Truly, a waste of time.

Then, I realised something. I realised that I worry too much that I'll never meet new friends again because they were my good friends for a very long time. It was quite difficult for me to think that there'll be others but my sister kept saying that there will be!

I know that I have changed. My beliefs and worldview have altered. I know that. I have not only acclimatized, but have also acculturized myself here which is only logical because these acquired values and behaviours are necessary for me to live and survive here. It doesn´t mean that I have forgotten who I am and where I came from. But sadly, my friends don´t look at it that way.

Now, I feel completely resigned and surprisingly, I don't feel rejected anymore because if there is one thing that I have learned from this life, that would be that relationships/friendships end for all sorts of reasons, and it's hardly ever one person's fault.