When I was still in school, I had mastered the art of stuffing my bag and carrying the luggage around without making a fuss out of it.
In fact, I did enjoy the hassle and was always looking forward to the next school year before enrollment when I would get a new rucksack. Not to mention travelling to places locally didn’t require consideration at all. It was just ordinary. Until I had to pack up for my first trip to London. That wasn’t close enough to my previous “packing experiences” by any chance.
Leaving home for a job abroad is no easy undertaking. It isn’t as straightforward as leaving for school or for errands. The challenge doubled as it was my first trip out of the country. Going through immigration stalls and long queues in the airport to get papers stamped was so tedious I could have dashed out to the nearest exit. I had mixed feelings, most of them fear and anxiety. However, the idyllic imagery of the other side sneaked in and pushed me through: the vivid picture of a greener pasture growing brighter.
While in the boarding area, I had to pace myself and muse over reasons why I had decided to fly abroad for a job.
It is quite common for Filipinos to cross seas away from home to make ends meet. Just like any age-old adage, you can never tell how good a delicacy tastes unless you take a bite. Back then, I never bothered to probe how things really are in a foreign land. After all, I had seen photographs of friends frolicking on snow, and they seemed wealthy enough to finance for constructing fine houses. And their families have been lifted out of poverty as well. This partial view of the life abroad shared by the majority back home overshadows the truth. I am not imploring for gratitude, but I would like to salute those who have been here and in other places for a long time. Indeed, it entails a great deal of sacrifice and hard work to make it here.
I have been working in England for only about ten months now, and in this short span of time, I have realized that my life has never been the same. Testing the waters in this first-world country has shaped me to be more responsible. I have to learn how to cook, wash clothes, adjust to the culture and people, and learn to adapt to the professional standards in my line of work, among others. This initial stage of settling down in a new place can be the hardest to tackle in an overseas worker’s journey.
As I sail through the rest of the vast meadows ahead, I always look up and thank God for what I have become. I owe Him every inch of this experience, and the opportunity to become a blessing to others in this corner of the world is priceless. It cannot be denied that my primary aim is to make money, but it can be shattering when I allow this to be my central priority. I am crawling my way back up to live a customary, meaningful life right where I am placed at the moment.
Cheers to more stories of this tale I have been privileged to write about! Until then.
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