When You’re An OFW Nurse And It’s Christmas

English: A Christmas Tree at Home
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You know it’s December when malls re-decorate from spiderwebs and floating ghosts to Christmas wreaths and candy canes; when chocolates and the candies are packed with Christmas tree shaped card boards; when staff from fast food chains wear Santa hats; and the when the radio starts playing Christmas carols and that December national anthem … I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

Well, I won’t be.

From this part of the world I am now, I KNOW it’s December when heat turns up to 37 degrees and my hair complains because of the humidity. I know it’s December when patients that come in are for hernia repairs because of trying to gift wrap an oversize television or when patients show up due to a bad case of indigestion or a bowel obstruction because of overeating Christmas treats, chocolate bonbons AND a Christmas feast. I know it’s December when family and friends back home starts posting pictures of their Christmas trees and status message of their Christmas shopping. I know it’s December when you get a Facebook invitation to go a Christmas party your friend is hosting … in Manila.

Don’t get me wrong. You may think I’m this OFW who hasn’t been home for Christmas for 10 years now like the many. Call me over dramatic (not to my face, anyway), but truth is, I’ve only missed Christmas season in the Philippines for 2 years.

ONLY, being the operative word.

Sometimes, it gets overrated that you only gain the right to voice out something like this when you’ve been away for ages, a decade or an era. While 2 years may be so different and so long away from 5 and 10, lets admit it … it’s the same longing, wondering, hoping, missing feeling. I miss bibingka and simbang gabi the same way the next OFW does. I miss dragging my body in and out of Divisoria just to find good buys for presents. I miss gift wrapping with my mom and sorting out money for my inaanak(s). I miss shopping with my dad to find the best gift for my mom. I miss my lola’s Christmas cooking and how her house fills up with this wonderful smell that make me drool even just with the nostalgia. I miss fighting over for the balat ng litson with my cousins.

Don’t get me wrong, through the years here I have found a family on where I am with my church-mates here who has welcomed me open arms, with my best friend who has stuck with me through thick and thin, and my fiance’ who has been an answered prayer from my last Christmas wish. So I know I don’t have it good. I have it great and blessed. We don’t have bibingkas  here but there are Pavlovas. Malls here may not be as overcrowded as Divisoria and not as cheap, but I still find good deals. I … well … can’t do much gift wrapping as so my time and shift won’t allow me. I don’t have inaanaks here … yet. I am able to cook a good meal without making the house smell burnt and needing fumigation. I still have someone to fight against to for balat ng litson.

And yes, don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried. I’ve bawled over the fact that I miss spending Christmas with my family. I’ve questioned the fact why nurses have to work and take care of sick people during this festive season. A very wise nurse told me, “Because there’s no one else to do it.”

Well, that’s that and I guess I’ve also realized the answer to my very own question. We take care of sick people while miles away from home because God called us to do so.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” – Matthew 25:34-36 (New International Version)

Everything I’ve said earlier were NOT the true meaning of Christmas. They were simply bonuses and extra blessings that we have because of Christmas. In where ever part of the world we are, the true meaning of Christmas does not and will not change – that Jesus came to this world as a baby born in a manger to give light and salvation to all of us. As His children, we are called to reach out even if it means sacrifice in our part that we don’t get to be with our families. The people that lie in hospital beds are missing their families too, missing spending Christmas with their loved ones, wondering why on earth are they hospitalized and admitted in this festive season. Imagine how sad, how frail and how scared they must feel thinking of how they’re going to get well and when they would be able to go home and feel normal again. Then comes the OFW nurses who knows the exact same, longing feeling. How wonderful it is to give them the gift of caring for them, coming in their room and smiling, holding their hand and listening to their stories.

So, I guess I am home for Christmas.

Where my God calls me, it is my home.

*** Merry Christmas to everyone! Don’t just keep the faith and the love … share it!


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Loving nursing. Loving God. ^_^
  • Dr Jean

    A very nice article, been away from the philippines for 10 Christmases now. I am in a country where Christmas is not being celebrated kaya talagang miss ko na ang pasko sa pinas.

  • OFW Nurse

    ako naman, pangalawang beses ko na d2 sa saudi nagpasko, hay lalong nakakahomesick 2loy,pero @ least masaya n rin ako sa bagong company ko,d kagaya nung last company ko..