It’s 5AM and I’m aboard a bus going to the city. Normally at this hour I wouldn’t be awake but I have to get to Dubai before 8:30 AM. I’m starting my training to become a homecare nurse, and as much as I am grateful to have found a job within a month, I’m still a bit melancholic because this job will be dictating so much of my future. With my signing the offer letter I am already signing on to giving 2 years of my life to this job. When the contract ends, this job will dictate whether I would ultimately go back to my home country and settle down, move on to a probably better foreign country, or stay here for another 2 years of my life.
Looking back a month ago, I wouldn’t even be thinking these things. I was hell-bent on earning enough money to go back to my family and pay off my debts but as the gravity of this path settled down on me, I realized I couldn’t. I have to, no matter what, finish this path I’ve insisted on taking. I wanted to fly away, spread my wings, test my freedom, I once wrote on my diary and now I’m doing it. I’m even commuting more than 3 hours one-way on this stretch of foreign land alone so tell me if I’m not ultimately spreading my wings. I must have wrote that for a reason and even though I have now forgotten why I was so bent on moving away, I think it must have been for a good reason so I intend to continue on this path my 17 year old self has dictated for me.
And I’m now writing this because I know so many people is the same as me; that feeling of wanting to move away and find yourself… I’m telling you it’s going to be scary. You’ll ultimately feel you want to go back that plane the moment you realize you’re miles away from home. You’ll probably cry a lot the way I did too. You’d be so sick of your mopey self and your friends who’d be there will probably be too but you couldn’t do anything because you’d feel so lost. . . But this is a great adventure! I know that now, and I intend to see the end of this so I hope you do too. Take that first step alone if you can so you’d know your limit, and continue taking the step after that. If I had done it, I know you could too. After all, we’re both wild creatures at heart; we’re siblings, you and I.
So I have devoted the best of my day yesterday and this morning coming up with various scenarios in my head and I have come up with plans I hope would work.
The goal is for me to raise an amount of Php 250,000, which amounts to $6,000 USD or 20,000 AED. This amount is the lowest I could think of which would pay off the expenses I loaned from my parents to get here, afford me a flight ticket back home, and live contentedly there forever. Never mind getting to know the world when I can’t have my family beside me.
So, I have to look for a job and as I am a Registered Nurse in the Philippines, I could only hope that I’d find any nurse-related job here in UAE in the span of a month! So 2 days down and 28 more to go.
As I am looking for a job here, I’d also try to find any nurse-related jobs, caregiving jobs anywhere abroad (as long as it’s not a Muslim country anymore) so that if any company might want me, I could go over there no matter where and hope that the awaiting job would take my mind off my sadness.
And then I’d earn enough and go home! Yay!
The problem though is, what if I can’t find a job? What will happen to me then? I would have to go home to my country and that would inexplicably make me the happiest person but that would sadden my parents. I’d be this big disappointment because I came out here to help them and I only ended up using their savings which they could have put to good use hadn’t I insisted I could make it out here. So unless I bring home a payment for their expenses, I could never face them ever again.
This is terrible planning. Why did you make such a mess of your life, Danna?
I feel so helpless and hopeless. Please, any help?
All my life I told myself I wanted to get away, get to know the world, but the moment I landed on my first country to visit, I’m wishing I’m back home.
It’s sad, being stuck in a country you don’t want to be in all because in some weird part of my head I put it on myself that I’d one day go away and never come back, only for the truth to slap me and tell me that I never want to go away from home.
I miss home, like a terrible bruise blooming inside my chest for days, making me unable to sleep and eat properly for days. I have only been living on pecks and naps because the moment I get the momentum and actually enjoy myself, I’m reminded of my family back home and have the case of the worst homesickness ever.
But I can’t go home. I came here to work, to help them get up on the lower middle-class ramp we’ve been stuck in since I became aware of our social status in life. I can’t go home because I don’t have the money to buy my ticket flight back home and pay for the expenses I have wasted upon coming here.
And I know I might sound ungrateful because so many people want to go abroad but I’d rather trade places with them, if only to be with my family.
I can’t believe I thought I wanted to go away. Or maybe I can, but I can’t believe I came to a Muslim country when all I wanted to go to was somewhere where English is the main language. At least maybe if I went in America or Europe I’d probably relinquish the experience of going abroad. At least there I’m comfortable with the language and culture. I feel like a sore thumb sticking here in a Muslim country when I’m very much Christian. No wonder the travel bug left me.
Like every wanderlust-crazed person, I have always dreamt of visiting other places. The farther, the better, I used to think as the thought of my going away couples the fact that I would be shedding off this pathetic skin that seemed to engulf me, labeling me as a second-rate loser who never goes anywhere outside her hometown.
Recently, I have begun processing my papers. It would be a three month vacation in the Middle East and I couldn’t be farther from home than that. Everything in Middle East screams foreign- from the language spoken to the food eaten, I would no more be reminded of a place I only half-heartedly existed in while I was away gallivanting in a strange land.
When the major papers were done and the visa processing is the only thing left to ensue, I was struck with a strange melancholy that left me wondering if I really do want to leave my home? Everything I have ever despised seems so trivial now that my leaving away is coming near. I love my hometown, every nooks and crannies, the language of my people, the clashing calmness of my room and noise of my household, I love everything about my life and it’s making me wonder whether there is any point to my going away after all. However, I recognize the fact that if I don’t leave now then when?
For someone to discover herself, she must leave the confines of her home and get lost in the real world. I have always known that and that was also partially one of the reasons why I so desperately wanted to go away. I do not know myself and so wish to know who I really am because I am growing tired of the petty complainer in me. In starting my journey towards freedom, I have discovered that I do not actually want to leave my home no matter how discontented I am with my life. After all, discontentment comes from thinking that you could have it all! And I no longer think that, so what is the point?
It’s too late for me to go back now even if I still have to wait for my visa. My family’s meager expenses have been used in order for me to go away and fulfill my dream so the least I could do is follow through. I just hope I could actually brave the outside world the way I always thought I could.