I check out my statistics a couple of days ago and found out that most of the readers are from Qatar, USA, UAE, KSA, UK, Canada and some Asian countries. (of course I have readers too in Philippines. Hello dear students, friends, and family! ) I found out that most of those countries cited above are also my friends, if not acquaintances living as an immigrant or needless to say an OFW like me.
I was cooking on my mind this kind of topic. It was already conceptualized how will I start and how emotions will play along. Unfortunately or fortunately if I may say if I’m lucky, because BuzzFeed Ph already did it. (Credits to the contributor, Isabelle Laureta)
But I will not put to waste my ideas just because someone had done it prior to me. Unfortunately again, most of the lists presented to it are exactly the same on my list! But I have to keep going on this. (Sayang din naman ang effort ko at pag-iisip sa gabi kung di ko itutuloy!)
Almost two years of working as an OFW, and I can say that this is a game changer! This is the part of my existence when I made a a jar of lemonade because life throws me a lot of lemons.
This is arguably true, read this as you compare to eating fish, eat the meat and just throw the bone.
There will always be a connotation for us, OFWs that were like living in the most comfortable way of life; that OFWs live in a place with nice accommodation, fully air-conditioned, nice clothing, etc. etc. Often, we find ourselves explaining to them hard living abroad whenever we hears some extra financial demands.
Allow me to share with you the secrets or should I say sentiments of majority of OFW you may refer to this as “living like-rich” as you may see.
Number 1: We don’t have much much much much money.
Funny it may seem that most people think that when you work abroad you’ll end up being super rich. That’s ideal. (my professor once told us that when you say ideal, meaning it’s only in the mind. It doesn’t exist! Hehe )
You’re correct that we received our salary in dollars or in foreign currency and a lot higher than a salary we can get in the Philippines.
You are absolutely right that we might earn 5x more than we can earn in or home country.
But wait a minute!
What about our expenditures?
Have you imagined how much is the cost of living in the place we are right now? Have you imagined how much is the cost of a simple patis, bagoong, toyo and suka here in Doha?
Remember that we also have to sustain our needs here in foreign country and remember that we do not buy our needs in PESO currency. Hehe
As soon as our salary enters our bank accounts, majority of OFWs will automatically transfer their hard-earned money to the family in Philippines and what’s left is for himself.
It’s not pretty as it may seems when we often post photos on our FB and IG of the places we went and the things we bought. You all see the happy and relax part of our lives here, of course who would have taken picture of themselves being scolded by an employer or a flat lay photo of our listahan ng budget at utang.
Number 2 :Balikbayan box is a product of dugo’t pawis.
You know that huge square and securely packing taped box takes monthssss to fill in up. Yesss. It takes months for us to completely buy all the stuffs we wanted to send to Philippines. These are personally choices and carefully arranged.
The feeling of writing a name on the box of chocolate or whatever it is; is a winning-moment-feeling for us. At last one family member will receive something from me!
Be grateful if you received one, you have no idea what we went through just to buy that. Wink***
Number 3: Bawal ang magkasakit.
Lucky if you’re living with your family abroad, but what about those individually living alone? No one can afford to get sick in the middle of this battle. Apart from the fact that this is a lonely life and the occasionally feeling of being dropped in the cold water because you are all alone.
Lucky for those, if there will be someone a friend maybe will take care of you. But you don’t want to disturb his job and be absent because no one will take care of you.
The feeling is so extent and melancholic. It’s double the sadness if you’re sick. Include all the homesickness and the feeling of your body pain. That’s a torture.
When I see someone from abroad posting a bible verse or something a feeling or a word that connects me to her, I know that there is something goin’ on. You know the feeling because you went through with it and you keep coming in to it. You’re on the same road.
A lot of people wanted to go abroad but mind you that it’s not always greener here. Sadly to say we earned money but we spend it also for ourselves and to support our families. We may never consider rich ones because we still don’t have financial freedom. We are also an employee under a company who mandates us to do this and that.
It doesn’t end’s here my friend, who knows after 10 or 20 years? Let’s keep moving forward then.