There is a World Outside the Philippines

It took me four years before I decided to seek greener pastures outside my home country, the Philippines. I remember I was very hesitant and uncertain of what kind of future I would have, especially in Europe. I wanted to first test the waters and work in the Middle East like most Filipino nurses would do, but destiny has led me to the shores of a continent, where English as a language is not a priority and foreign education is considered less than its local counterparts. It pained and humbled me, because I gradually realized that I was literally nobody outside the Philippines.

It is sad, because I sacrificed a lot to reach the status I had in the Philippines. I graduated with the highest possible recognition a student could have in a small town to the point that everyone somehow considers me a person to look for. My carreer soared higher and higher, while responsibilities were becoming more crucial and heavier. This has made me isolated from the rest given that I felt I had no leeway to even commit a mistake in the academic, social, ethical and moral perspectives. Aside from that I was feeling everyone wanted something from me, such that I needed to prove to them what I can do and what I contribute in the community. That became a burden to me. I no longer can breathe. Simply, I was put on a pedestal for everyone to see, deprived of usual benefits and the chance of doing mistakes. So, I took the risks of venturing outside the country with the hopes of having a simple, less complicated life.

Then, things became too simple. My education even at a Masters level could not help me. My English skills, which I worked hard to improve from basic to an acceptable level would not contribute in anyway for me to find a decent job, far from the stability I had experienced in the Philippines. Honestly, there were times I was tempted with the idea to do cleaning jobs or any sort of work that could provide me a meager income, but I did not. It was pride that prevented me from doing it. I tried other personally less unacceptable means to aid me in making a step forward. It was not easy, and I saw no or almost no progress. This was an opposite of what I wanted. I wanted a simple, but secured and stable life. Now, I was confronted with very risky situation threatening my values and even my cultural identity. Simply, I was losing almost everything. I never meant or wished I would go through this before. I was tempted to go back to where I was before, a comfortable, seemingly complicated but productive life.

When I was about to give up, I was just trying to live one day at a time, not thinking of what might ever happen in the following months. Day by day, I cleared my mind of what I wanted in life. Though I met several failures and rejections on my way, I just vowed myself not to stop. Little by little, I was making progress, but I was doubtful if that progress would be even sufficient to help me pursue a new life in this foreign land. Then, miracles happened one at a time, until I could say I was already satisfied with what I have. The cloud of unstability gradually faded as I see a clearer horizon ahead. That horizon gives me a picture of the goals I wanted to achieve. I woke up one day that I do have safety nets already made for me, such that in case I fall again, there is something I can follow through again. That safety net was something new to me, because in the Philippines I was feeling at the top of my carreer but I was certain that in case something fails, there is nothing I can hold on. Now, I see the advantage of being outside in the Philippines - the chance of one becoming anyone he or she would want freely without one having to worry of what might happen in the future.

A new life philosophy and outlook has been a product of over two years of living in Europe. I was now living today, rather than tomorrow. I was not just clinging unto a single opportunity that could be taken away from me, but I am entertaining day by day the various probabilities on how I am going to shape my future based on today. More importantly, I was no longer fixated on the idea that I am nothing outside my comfort zone. Instead, I am embracing the fact that life has many things to offer and that these opportunities are more possible in a world outside the Philippines.

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