Last Friday, a friend and I decided to put an end to the countless ”I miss you” in Facebook. She came down from the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah and I sprung from the sands of Abu Dhabi. We met halfway in the metropolitan of Dubai.
Up to that day, Roni and I have never spent time alone together. Since the first time I met her in 2005, our get-togethers were always within a group. We were part of a discipleship circle of care, mentored by a very fascinating discipler.
While I was known to be the football player, arriving always in jersey and shorts, Roni was the nurse, consistently appearing in her neat white uniform, straight from school, duty or whatever medical students do.
Along with the rest of these girls, Roni and I share a sisterhood built through countless Bible-prayer times which extended to birthday parties, sleepovers, cooking lessons and all those monumental events.
The last time I saw Roni was in 2009 when she came to watch my theater play just before graduation. A month later she flew to the Middle East. All the while I thought she was in Saudi.
Side note: Sad to disappoint the UAE but you aren’t a famous country to most people in the Philippines. Say Arab Emirates and the first thing that comes to mind to most people is Saudi… and Aladdin.
I didn’t have the chance to properly say goodbye and we lost contact after that.
Fast forward to 2012.
3 years later we found each other in a different country. Catching up was so much fun with chopsticks and colorful revolving bowls.
We met halfway with our choice of food too. She is Chinese, I am Filipino, so we ate Japanese.
I had always wanted to eat in a resto with a conveyor belt food.
After the gratifying meal, we found the perfect spot to chillax.
It’s amazing how even if it’s just the two of us, we feel the presence of all the other girls in our group (not in a scary way). We trudged down memory lane, shared frustrations of being in this country and agreed upon the need for a church and spiritual mentorship at par with the one we had back home.
There and then, just like old times, we bowed our heads and prayed for each other.
While we were minding our own business, someone else was minding our business too.
It’s rare to find a friend in the Arabian Peninsula who shares the same wavelength and standard of faith as you do, who after many years of being apart, remains the same old friend you said goodbye to.
I wish you lived nearby.