My seafarer brother Ivan will fly back to Hamburg, Germany tomorrow to continue his One Piece* adventure.
It's his third time to be away from us for nine (9) months. I can only imagine the loneliness his wife feels everytime he's away. But the pros always outweighs the cons, so all we can do is to pray, pray and pray for his safety.
On his apprenticeship stint on board an oil tanker plying the Asia-Africa route, he saved all his monthly allowances. I think it changed him all right since he emerged to be more mature after that trip. In fact, he never asked for a single centavo from my parents when he decided to marry his then long-time girlfriend (now his wife). He eventually managed to give a pretty decent wedding to his fiancee from his own blood, sweat and tears.
After he passed the marine deck officer board exam, he embarked on another sea adventure in European cities. He told us that this stint gave him more time to relax compared to his apprenticeship days. Plus, travelling from one European port to another usually takes 6-8 hours. That's a big relief compared to his Asia-African stint which involves 2-4 days of sea travel.
It's a prevailing fact that seafarers who opted to go overseas earn in dollars. But the story behind the financial uplift is never easy. Imagine yourself travelling for days, even weeks in the midst of never-ending ocean with occasional big waves. That's not easy. Hard-earned money indeed.
And hey, he's generous to me despite the fact that he's known to be the most stingy among the brood. First, he gave me thirty thousand pesos (Php 30, 000) last March 2009 when I learned that Netopia's sending me to Virginia, U.S.A. Although my mother insisted that it should be a loan, I still think that he gave the money out of his generosity, hence should not be paid. Let's see. Second, he gave me $100 as a pasalubong after his Europe stint.
And tomorrow, my once-upon-a-time little brother will again embark on another journey to the seas. Monkey D. Luffy sails on!
* His favorite cartoon series which kept him company on board the big ship