Five years ago when I had the opportunity to live and work abroad. It was a terrifying decision to make but I felt the need to do so. First, I was not sure if I did the correct thing. Still fresh in my mind the days when I used to complain and cry. It was in that first couple of years when I almost quit. But after quite some time I have learned to enjoy my life outside of the Philippines. It brought me to that mindset that I will never work again in my country. However, with the three months of quarantine I had and a lot of thinking, I got this epiphany that there is no place like home.
Ups and downs of living abroad
Life abroad was not always beautiful
My stay outside the Philippines spanned a half-decade, five years of my life outside my comfort zone. This experience has taught me a lot of things. I was twenty-three at that time. Though, I passed my teenage years, growing up in an Asian family where we have close family ties. Living outside the country was difficult. Life was never easy. I have no choice but to be independent. I had to do all the chores by myself. No one was there to look after or check me. I remember the toughest times I had were those periods when I got sick. Getting sick was really hard. You have to take care of yourself alone. Avoid getting ill. That was my number one rule.
Another downside of living abroad was missing special occasions back home, a number of Christmas and new years, and birthdays of my family members. Thank God that technology nowadays makes it easier to be reconnected with them during these special occasions. Oh yes, even going for a quick vacation and returning back to work. It was the saddest part. When you have to leave again after a month of holiday. I almost got used to that local life and was forced to go back to work.
Though there were hard times, I did not regret it. Thought of quitting a lot of times but stopping won’t take you further. It paved the way for a lot of opportunities. Doors were opened and slowly by slowly I was getting blinded by the results. Career advancement was there. I got three promotions over a length of four years. My pay scale was getting higher from the time I started. I got to buy things I wanted without thinking if it were necessary. Back to back holidays were booked. I got myself a house in the Philippines which was so far I think was the best purchase I did. Well, it wasn’t yet fully paid but I am still proud of it.
Also read: 10 Things I’ve Learned While Living Abroad
The constant thing in life is change
I am stuck
Bit by bit I fell into a trap. A trap that I do not want to get out. In spite of the fact that I knew the way out, I decided to stay. The place before I am calling home no longer excites me. Still, I am looking forward to seeing my family but the sense of living in my home country doesn’t give me joy. I saw myself running away. Losing that fire of going back home.
So when the situation arose that I needed to part way with my previous company. I ran, booked my ticket to Europe, and looked for some time to reflect on things. After a course of three weeks traveling around Europe, trying to look for answers, I went back to Kuwait to fix my things. I made the decision to go back home. It was not easy. I had to think a lot of times. So I decided to do some backup plans. I applied for other jobs in two other countries, one in the United Arab Emirates and the other was in Spain. I got hired on both jobs and I just needed to choose. I was feeling a bit of relief as I do not need to go back home.
Consider all the possibilities
But out of nowhere the pandemic struck. It closed all the borders and businesses weren’t doing well. My one job application was on hold and I need to let go of the other one. I went into quarantine for three months I guess. Making this time as one of my most down periods. This event made me dive into deep thinking. Plans aren’t always going well as they should be. But I think that adds to the thrill of life.
At this time, I noticed that home is calling. No matter how hard I try in running away. Putting all my efforts to stay at least far from the Philippines. But still home is calling. I am already at this point where I don’t see myself anywhere after this event but back in the Philippines. The fear of starting over again really bothers me a lot. Nevertheless, I said that adds to the thrill of life. It was all in the mind. You do not have to start over again but just need to continue living.
Learn when to stay and move forward
That is the way of life. It is a crazy ride we were all into. They said that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Partly true, but for me no. Over the course of six months trying to think about how my life will be, I had a conclusion. Life starts in your comfort zone. Life starts back home. There is no place like home. In the present situation where the world is in chaos, the best thing to do is to spend time with your family at home.
There is no place like home
I have already become a better version of myself. With all the learning I acquired staying abroad, I am confident that I can make the most out of it. In this fast-moving world. Toning down and resting awhile is okay. There is no harm to stay put and just enjoy the fruit of your hard work. Do not worry and don’t get anxious too about the future. Savor the moments. On top of that trust God. He built the way for you. Believe in His plans and promises. As mentioned in the scripture of Isaiah 43:16
This is what the Lord says;
He who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters
Adjusting back to your usual way of life will not be that hard. Have you experienced living abroad and by any chance, be it voluntary or forced, you have to go back to your home country? What made you decide that it is the right time to be home? How does it feel? Let me know.