I received my answer last Friday. The Cantonal Office will not give my return visa unless my boss or personnel gives me a certification that I will have a new contract when I come back. "IN THEORY" is a word often used in the UN, so in theory, I am going to have a contract when I come back from vacation but nobody wants to sign the paper saying that I will have it. I don't get the logic. How hard is it to sign a piece of paper that says I worked from this and that period and will work again from this period to that period. It sounds elementary to me. ILO did it for me, I don't understand why the UN is so uptight. UNCTAD does it. So, what gives?
That same day, that Friday when a friend of mine from Milan was about to come for a visit, the long-awaited feared answer reached my ears. I remained numb or maybe I was just too jaded. Then later that Friday afternoon, from out of the blue, a colleague of mine from the ILO calls to ask would I come back if they would offer me a fixed-term contract. I said, "Of course!" That is my long-term goal after all. I cried from excitement and from a sheer overwhelming feeling. God was there. Then came the worry. What shall I tell UN who's expecting me back and my colleagues who I have come to appreciate? I didn't know how I could possibly smile when I met Joy. Good thing Nikki was with me to absorb some of my worry. In the end, the three of us shared a wonderful meal at Al-Ameer. The worry dissipated until Monday came.
Joy left on Monday morning. I was going to tell my supervisor about ILO's offer. I had to give ILO an answer. Work was piling up. I had a hangover from my coffee. Didn't sleep a wink. A bad aftertaste of Jazu's outburst. But it would soon come to an end.
Joy left, I felt sad. I told my supervisor, she wasn't pleased. She spoke to the personnel assistant which will try to extend my contract. I feel like I'm in a tug of war. My hangover was almost gone but left me breathless. My eyes were falling at every word. Jazu's outburst seemed like a distant memory.
Monday came to a close. Another workday completed. I have until the weekend to give an answer to ILO. I am pondering whether my not being able to go home at this time is a blessing. I have savings at least. I will probably go to Milan without a visa and spend my holiday with Joy. What am I supposed to learn from this experience?
A rollercoaster of yeses and nos. Of would'ves and could'ves. But now, the answers slowly come: No to Philippines, Yes to Vacation, No to Certification, Probably No to ILO, Yes to Prayers, No to bitterness ...
I am tempted to be very bitter. To wallow in the self-pity of my not being able to leave Switzerland. My household sister being stopped at the border because she didn't have papers. I felt like that.
I felt like a nobody, a nobody that no one wants to guarantee with a piece of paper that says I am working again with the UN, ILO or wherever.
Maybe there is something I am not seeing. Am I to feel the whole range of emotions that an OFW must feel? Is this a test ... is there a silver lining to this storm?
Perhaps ... it is a blessing in disguise.