The cold weather dampened on my skin. It was November of 2005 when I arrived in the city of the Holy Land. Although it was not my first time to go out of the country, still I felt so tense and nervous especially coming to a place that is not peaceful. Israelis are not good-looking, but there is something in them that I like the most, and that is being friendly. They greet everyone, even strangers. For Filipino culture, you might think that if someone you don’t know greet you, there’s a hidden agenda.
I rode in the taxi going to the agency. The driver looked like a rapist that made me uncomfortable. Trusting men are the hardest thing in life to do. While on our way to the agency, the nervousness I felt turned into amazement. I have begun to fall in love with the place. The bicycle lane is all over, which is I prefer to happen in the Philippines. Buses are long, taxies are Mercedes-Benz, people walk fast. In short Israeli’s are health conscious. They are the most noisiest people in the world. Simple things they argue a lot, but there is no physical involvement.
The owner of the agency is a Filipina, who married an Israeli. She took me to a place where I am going to consume my rest days every weekend. The place looks like Tondo; I see a lot of Filipinos, Russians, Nepalese, and black people. My amazement a while ago turned into a disaster. Scattered garbage, other Nationalities that scared me to death. Some of my flatmates are my friends that arrived in Israel a year ahead of me. My curiosity about the place were all answered.
On my first day of work, the agency just gave me the complete address and bus number to ride. I have to find it on my own. Israelis don’t speak English, and I can’t speak Hebrew too. We had this two-week training about Hebrew, but you can’t learn the language unless you practice it with someone who speaks the language. When I arrived Israel, I forgot everything, even the basic words. Good for me, Filipinos are everywhere so I can get directions if ever I can’t reach my destination.
The first day of work, terrible! Alice Murciano, was 84, a model type of body, full of wrinkles but still beautiful. She looked like Gloria Romero. She was deaf, but she used a hearing aid. At first, she seemed like an angel. She was with an Israeli caregiver who only worked for her 3 hours a day. I didn’t talk because I don’t know what to say in Hebrew, I just grabbed her hand and kissed it, she smiled back at me. When her Israeli caregiver left, that Angel look became Lucifer. She shouted at me, speaks in Hebrew, which I didn’t understand, she pointed at me and grabbed the telephone and called her daughter-in-law. After 15 minutes her in-law came, she speaks a little English, so we had this short conversation about Alice. Their mother tongue is French. The old woman ordered her in-law to call the agency, so it settled temporarily.
The second day of work, the worst treatment ever! Her selfishness went out. I am guarded like a criminal. Wherever I go, she followed me. She forbade everything and accused me of something that even in my dreams I can’t do. That treatment continued until I learned to speak Hebrew. Speaking their language changed her. She maybe not as bad as before, but her behavior tortured me a lot. She was trying to catch my attention and affection by trying to kill herself. At first, I was nervous and tried to block her craziness, but I have noticed that the more I do that, the more she would do it. When she told me that she wanted to die because nobody cares for her, I went to the kitchen and poured a glass of chlorox and gave it to her. She told me, “Maze Mary”. I told her, “Ima, ze economica, at amarti li at rotsa lamut nakhon? Az lishtot ze..”. She threw the chlorox back to the kitchen and went back to her room like a child. It stopped for a while and after weeks, she again tried killing herself by jumping into a window. I didn’t stop her to show my concern, but I stopped her to divert her attention. I got a piece of paper and pen and asked her that before she jumps, she should write her last will that once she dies all her property will be given to me. She looked at my face with curiosity and asked me, “Beemet Mary at khaka?”( Really you are that kind of person?). I answered her, “Yes, so if you don’t want your properties to be captured by me, stay alive”. Yes, it was effective, and she never did things like that again.
After five years of serving her, it was so much pain for her and me, but I have to go back home. Our relationship was more than an employer to the employee kind of thing. She loved me as her family and the feeling was mutual. When I told her that I am resigning, her depression started to increase. She told that once I leave that will be the end of her life. I told her, “Ima you won’t die early because originally you are a bad person, remember? The bad person stays longest”. She laughed and then cried; we cried with each other.
After two weeks, her son sent me a message on Facebook informing me that, her mother died of depression, and her last word was my name..