July 22, 2007

7 years & counting…

That’s how long ago it was when I took that first step and ventured out into the world.

A world away from the comfort of having family at an arms length or friends you’ve grown up with. I wasn’t brave then neither am I right now. I think I was crazy or out of my mind, like I still am these days 😆. There was no great need to go out & earn big $$$ – our family was OK, middle class – you can say. From where I’m from, the rich are freaking rich, the poor is as poor as people can be and middle class means you’re 2 steps up the poor category & a hundred steps down from the rich. So, we were OK. Blessed with family & good friends. What I’m saying is – no one pushed me to go.

I remember not telling people all about it – my bff & my bf found out atleast 2 weeks before i left. I remember thinking it’s only for 6 months. I remember getting on that plane & crying😭.

I remember thinking while the plane was loading passengers, “I think mom won’t be mad if I go down this plane & back out.”

How I cried the whole 10 hours I had from the 1st plane to the connecting one until that got me to where I am now! Funny thinking back about that day, I thought my heart would literally break! 💔 I remember calling home almost everyday for the first few months.

But I also remember the wonder I felt the first time I went around the new place.

A new country, a different culture, the vast mix of different nationalities. I was expecting sand – all over. Like the pictures we see in superbook! But it was different. It was a small city filled with lights & wonders! Architects realizing their dreams with crazy structures, Luxury cars here & there, like they’re just Ford or Toyota, people speaking in languages I have never heard of before.

I got sucked in. Homesick less and less each day. Built a life, had relationships. Stopped counting how long it’s been. You lose count after the 3rd year, I guess. I did. I thought I was on the eighth… So, I finally felt like this is my home… Well, I did. Now, I look back and I see myself going in this cruel circle…

In & out of relationships… A good career… Then I get stressed out, comes a better opportunity, then work visa issues… Then I’m happy until that stress point reaches max again and I’m right back again to the visa issues… It’s a cruel, no… A vicious cycle!

7 years and I am grateful for all of the opportunities. I don’t think I would have known that I can do the things that I do now if I didn’t venture out. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of earning this much back home. I’d still be on the same payroll as everybody else. I’ve always credited my self-confidence to my mom & dad, got it from them, from the way they’ve raised me & my sibs, but learning to live on your own, well it takes that confidence and transforms it to something different… No words really… It just magnifies it and it becomes an essential tool in life. I learned that when you’re in a different country there are prejudices and racism all around. I learned that no one’s going to hand you down pillows and roses, no one’s going to hold your hand in the corporate world. It’s a tough world, when you’re in your own country; a tougher world, in a foreign one!

7 years in and now wanting to break free from the cycle. Free from having to work my ass off for countless years and still be considered as a visitor. Rights & privileges of a citizen will never be mine… I would always be striving for that coveted work VISA. And years after when I retire… I’d be packing my bags and will be riding that plane back to my homeland. I’ll be living in whatever savings I would have by then (here is to hoping I do have savings! 🙏).

7 years and counting… Different from that woman who took that first step on the plane… Yet still wanting the same – An adventure, another jump into the unknown but this time a bit wiser, I pray. That unknown would have a little light into the future – me with a better plan. Not a “6 months, I’ll come back home” kind of plan.

People get old, we realize what is important. We see the years that have passed and we know how much was wasted and how many were gained. We see opportunities gone by and we learn. Hopefully, we all learn & move & take that next plane.

7 years – almost at the end..  God willing – I’ll restart back at 1 – Now is a good time as any. 😊



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