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Woes of a First Time OFW


I am going to go ahead and self-diagnose. This must be how homesickness feels like. 

In the midst of this stump I'm in and instead of wallowing in this so-called sadness, I have resolved to turn things around and put this into good, and hopefully, constructive use.

I will start by saying that the guy who first said "Be careful what you wish for" was a genius.

You see, I have always wanted to experience working outside my home country, just to check how I will fare when I am alone in a foreign land. This has always been somewhere at the back of my mind, ready to jump when the right opportunity comes. Working in a global company with short-term assignments in other countries is just perfect. Saved me the hassle of actually looking for a job overseas, lining up for requirements, finding an accommodation, and having to tend to all my needs abroad. 

When the 2013 came in, the universe conspired into giving me what I wanted. You want experience? 

Of all the cities bursting with life in  in Asia, I took the assignment in Brunei. Do not get me wrong. This is not about Brunei. This country is quiet, safe, clean, and everything I need to live conveniently is provided. The crime rate is almost down to nada. People are generally happy driving around in their cars, playing football, jogging around at night, shopping in the neighboring countries, and dining-out on weekends. Here's the part where I say something along the lines of "It's not you, it's me". I'm racking my brain for some creative way of saying that but honestly, I could think of nothing better than those words.


It really is me. I left the comforts of home to subject myself to this kind of challenge. I came from a country where everything is screaming for attention, where I never fail to find something amusing, where all things contribute to making my attention span even shorter than it already is.

This is not about Brunei. This is about me being alone in a foreign land. This is about me getting to know myself even more, even surprising my own self at times (this sentence sounds crazy, I know!).

I now know that I can walk slower if needed, I can watch a movie alone and cry my heart out for Jean Valjean and walk out the theater like nothing happened, I can spend an afternoon reading a book without feeling that I have wasted the day, I can hang out with people whose words I barely understand but I laugh and nod at them at thinking that maybe we do understand each other, I can definitely live without TV but not without music, I actually like salmon sashimi and tofu, I can genuinely enjoy watching a game of football, and I can (if I try really hard) focus on one thing at a time.

I am missing home alright, but then again, it is only when you are alone that you can realize the bigger things that you are capable of doing.

From now on I will stop counting the days, embrace the homesickness, and hope that when I come back home, I will be a million times wiser.

Saying hello from the mangroves. Alone with manong bangkero.

Any tips for first-time overseas workers? Share! :)

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