Before November Ends

7 months ago, we were in the same place. Saying our prayers. Remembering the dead.

It has become a sacred ritual since I started working on ships. It’s a special family affair. Before I leave, we visit to say goodbye. And when I go home, we go back to tell him of my adventures.

I heard from somebody before that dreams also take time to grow. They have what they call a “gestation period.” They don’t happen in an instant. They have to be nurtured. Today I remembered a dream I once dreamt as a child. A dream that 6 months ago came to life.

As a young girl I always dreamed of going to the US. And although it’s common for many young girls to wish for chocolates and Disneyland, my heart ached for something else. I just wanted to see my dad. Papa left when my sister and I were little. And we miss him terribly. We both wanted to see him again.

When he passed away in 2009, my dream also died. I never wanted to go the States anymore. I thought it was pointless when the only reason I wanted to go there was gone. The pain was unbearable. I wanted to run away from it. I wanted to run away to heal and forget. I wanted to go anywhere but the US.

And so I was brought to the land down under. It was December of 2011 when I first landed in Sydney. I was in time for the Christmas season, the busiest month of all.  In Australia I met my very first ship, the Pacific Dawn. Next to the Philippines, Australia has been a home for almost 6 years. I loved it and it loved me back. But after too many contracts and with Mama being sick, I decided to leave.

I thought ship life was over. That’s it for me. But after some months of thinking I realized I still need to do it. I must admit I began to miss it too. The sea was calling and it’s screaming so hard and wanting so badly to be heard.

I headed for the US April 7 of 2018. Then 2 days after, I board my new ship, the Norwegian Escape. I was reminded of Papa and our dreams together.

I remember phone calls I wished never ended. I remember sending hand-written letters my sister and I carefully constructed knowing they will be meticulously checked, and snail mailed back with red marks and circles of a teacher patiently correcting our mistakes. I remember receiving big boxes full of goodies, mostly chocolates and CDs that back then made two teen-aged girls hearts’ leap. I remember stories about beautiful parks and winter. I remember a long-distance love of a father.

They say that families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. And to this I will add, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at sea or on land.

If you plan to work on ships, take the journey with your family. Don’t just leave them behind. Take their love with you because it makes you strong wherever you go. In a crazy ship world that’s full of noises, make sure their loving words is what you’ll hear the loudest.

Thanks Papa!!! Life has been amazing in a strange, funny, scary and glorious way. Smile up there for nothing loved is lost and forgotten.

Follow your dreams.

Jen

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