All I wanted was a change of environment. I needed a reset, a way to know myself. I craved clarity.
This is not the usual what I learned from travel blog post. Because, I did not come to Thailand for travel. At least I thought I was. But, you won’t see me hopping from one island to another unlike many expats that come here.
I came here to be independent, to find my clarity, and as the usual OFW tale goes, to help my family.
Forget about my dreams. How can you even dare to pursue your passion if your family lives in a hand to mouth system? Doing what I want is just not possible. Even if you’ve got the smarts and values, poverty will still take a toll on your decisions.
I refused to play victim and succumb to the belief that this is how it’s gonna be forever. That being poor is all that I could ever be. So I rolled up my sleeves and put on my superhero costume, courage.
Getting lost was the norm. I couldn’t communicate properly with Thai people because most of them cannot converse in English. Some of them would even get mad at you because you can’t speak their language.
At first I was complaining a lot about everything, about the smell of the food, the motorcycle drivers who seem to not care if someone is crossing the street, and most of all their lack of conversational skills in English. I kept on whining about every single thing. I saw what was wrong in almost everything. Most of all I missed home.
I missed the familiar sounds, smell, and charm that was in the Philippines. I recognized how unique the Filipino way of life is. I missed everything that I used to dread at that time, even my sister’s nagging. That’s when it dawned on me, I loved my country more than I thought. Being far from home and seeing what is happening from the outside and listening to opinions of people about your country makes you view things from a different perspective.
I also saw how backwards our country is in many aspects and why they call us a third world country. I didn’t get why we were coined with that term cause as far as I know, we pretty much had food, shelter, and water. We had WiFi, good universiries, hospitals, so maybe we’re not third world.
Sadly, we are.
And you’ll really see it when you go outside. We still have leaps and bounds to go before Filipinos can live from a place of comfort, be it in medicine, judicial system, education, social welfare, technology, education, and infrastructure.
I told myself that I will not compare Philippines to Thailand. But, I couldn’t help but fall to the trap of comparison. I know that we have the brains, the talent, and all the tools that we need, we just need to have the right intention. But what is the right intention anyway? Is it to ask for what the government can do for you?
Is it complaining about every single thing that goes wrong in your life?
How about we change the question that we’ve been asking ourselves all along? Instead of asking what do I deserve, why not change it to, what can I contribute?
What can you bring to the table?
Maybe if you try and give something without thinking about what you can get in return, things will improve. Even if it’s just for one person.
Working abroad, the saddest thing that I’ve heard someone say is, “The Philippines has no hope.” Or that they will immigrate and leave the country behind because Pinas has no future. Please understand that I am not against migration but I’m against the mindset that there’s no hope.
There is. There must be. And it has worked over and over again.
Being an OFW cultivated my sense of hope for my country. I know that things are already changing. And that the results that we want can only come into fruition if we do the work and give the best that we can not just for ourselves but for the people around us.
You may think that you’re insignificant because you’re just one voice. But that one voice is all you need to make an impact to even just one person. And wouldn’t that be the best way to live a life? A life spent to serve and make an impact.
I was pretty much selfish prior to my Thailand experience. I only focused on what I can get, but being an expat cured me of that illness, that you should only think about what’s best for you.
The magic of leaving the Philippines is realizing that life is more than just a big paycheck, or a nice car. Life is about being more than you ever thought you could be.
P.S. I just arrived today in the Philippines. 🙂