This past week has been a whirlwind of activity - what I get for being a pessimist and putting off everything that needed to be done until the very last minute. Exactly one week to my fly day, and there's still so much to be done. And that doesn't even include packing! Given this extreme spike in my stress level, my innate scatterbrain tendencies have been working overtime.
Because of this, last Friday, for about an hour, I thought that all of my plans had suddenly, irrevocably gone up in smoke.
Meet my purple expanding folder - which contains ALL my personal, ORIGINAL copies of my credentials and other documents essential to my pending trip.
Not being a complete dunce, I have already photocopied these same documents in a set to be left with my family in Manila, but since I am still in the process of compiling it, my photocopies are in this same envelope, too.
So in short, my whole life is in that envelope.
My disastrous story begins on Friday morning, when I left the house without bringing my cellular phone with me. Leaving my phone is usually not that a big deal for me, but since I had a lot of errands to run and needed a phone to coordinate with people I would be meeting, I asked my brother to meet me at the mall with it.
I had just come from the POEA, where I had spent the past few days fixing my exit clearance and registering as a bona fide OFW, so I had my precious envelope in tow. As I waited for my brother, I lugged it from one shop to the next as I tried on clothes and did some last minute shopping.
I hadn't been to this particular mall for years. Around a few minutes before I was to meet my brother, I saw that the store I set as a venue for us was no longer where it used to be. Worried we wouldn't find each other because of this, I went to the nearest pay phone and tried calling him - repeatedly because he wouldn't answer - and getting in touch with the house. Since it was difficult to hunt for coins in my black hole of a bag with my arms full of purchases and my bulky purple envelope, I put the envelope on top of the phone... and forgot about it.
Yes, I completely, utterly, stupidly forgot the envelope on top of a public phone in a mall. Someone give the idiot a prize!
After I met up with and got my cellphone from my brother, I promptly left the mall to run my other errands all over the metro, blissfully unaware that the key to my entire life was gone. Hours and kilometers passed. I guess I was so used to lugging it around with me that I assumed it was still with me all that time.
It was only at my last stop - the photocopying shop in UP Diliman - that I realized that things had gone horribly wrong. I felt like my entire world had completely disintegrated. It took all my willpower to hold on to sanity to drive through the rush hour traffic to get back to the mall. I was trying not to think about the fact that I would have to reconstruct a file of documents put together only after months of tedious legwork in TWO WEEKS. I was looking for an escape hatch from taking the trip, but this wasn't the way I wanted to bail out! At every stoplight, I was furiously texting all the praying people I knew in my phonebook, begging them to pray for a miracle.
My brother had gotten to the mall ahead of me, so I asked him to check the phone I used in the slim hope that it was still there. It wasn't. I told him to try the security office to see if anyone had turned it over. No one had. I told him to check the last places I recalled going to. No one remembered seeing anything.
It was around the time my brother told me there was nothing in the security office that my control started to slip. I was hysterically bawling as I was driving and praying incoherently - I was just saying please over and over again. When I finally got to the mall, I parked in the first slot I found and shot into the mall to retrace my steps one last time, but not with much hope.
As I was walking around the Food Court, on my way to the other set of public telephones I used, someone called me on my cellular phone. Apparently, she saw my home number on one of my documents and wanted to inform me that my envelope with the mall security in the area where I was, and the person who answered at home had given her my cellular number. She figured I would want to know ASAP that it had been found, even if I wouldn't be able to pick it up at once.
It turns out that a costumer had found the envelope earlier that afternoon and had turned it over to the food court security. They had waited for someone all afternoon to claim it, and, just around the time I was having my fit of hysterics, the manager finally decided to go through the papers inside it to see if there was any contact information they could use to get in touch with me.
Coincidence? Maybe. Me, I firmly believe it was the power of praying friends and God taking pity on His stupid, scatterbrained daughter.
In this time of great uncertainty and major life changes, God continues to remind me that He's on top of everything. And despite my frequent flirtation with the edge of disaster, He brings forth miracle after miracle - and I cannot thank Him enough.