One of the things that I like the most about going to different places is the fact that I get to meet a lot of people. Especially when I get to spend time with them sharing different life stories. This is my first blog post about the people that I have met in my first out of the country trip, in UAE.
More than 20% of the population of the UAE are Filipinos. Yes, most of them sacrificed their time away from their family just to give them a better living. And also my reason why I decided to work abroad. Aside from helping me cope up with home sickness, I never thought that I will be able to learn beyond what I have imagined. A life changing moment indeed.
I had the chance to go to UAE because of my aunt and my visa is under her name. If you are getting a tourist visa in UAE, it is easier to get one if you have a relative who is legal resident and employee there. I stayed in her place for more than a month while I am looking for a job with my cousins and her boarders. She lives in Umm Al Quwain, one of the emirates of UAE (an hour away from Dubai). I had the chance to know her and my cousins more. She is the wife of my uncle (my mother’s brother). Who would have thought that I had to travel abroad just to be closer to them and not only to them, they became my way of being closer to God in a deeper and more meaningful way. She made me realize a lot of things when it comes to motherhood and doing everything for the family. And as a person I can say that she is one of the people that I truly admire. And my cousins are the proof of how successful she is in raising up her children. I can say that I am proud of how my cousins have grown into loving, thoughtful, sweet, God-fearing and compassionate persons. The idea that these people are related to me and that I actually lived with them for almost a year is already a blessing for me and I cannot thank God enough for having them as my family in UAE.
Through my aunt and her family, I became part of their growing church. And with them I found a family, I found a home. Each of them has their own unique life story that really made an impact in my perspective about life in general. It’s as if I found a perfect combination of lessons in the world that I need to learn in that certain stage of my life. God is so amazing.
After more than a month of living in my aunt’s place, I had to live with my friend Aian in Dubai because I have to be in Dubai while looking for a job. Aian and I have been friends since college and we have been through a lot. I am really grateful because I know that she is my true friend. I can say that I won’t be able to survive my Dubai life without her. I also found another group of friends and family in Dubai through Aian’s sister and husband. Yes, most of them are couples already. Me and Aian are the only single ladies in the group. I had lots of happy memories with them, from birthday celebrations, weekend getaways, food tripping to just simple get togethers at home during weekends. They are my Dubai family.
I have also met a lot of friends along my journey from finding a job to going to Oman during the times that I had to renew my visa (because you need to exit the country while your visa is on process and Oman is the nearest and cheapest country to exit). This is the place where I got firsthand information about the real OFW stories from the most successful and heart warming to the worst and most painful stories. And I died a little inside while hearing their stories. I really have high respects for the OFWs, hands down to them.
The perfect stress reliever for me during my stay in UAE are the babies and kids. Ha ha ha! Since I love kids and babies by heart (maybe because I am getting older) The first kid that I met is Shiloh. A very smart 2 year old girl, the daughter of one of my friends in Dubai. She’s really smart that you can even have a real conversation with her like you’re talking to a 7 year old girl. The owner of the flat where Aian and I lived for almost 6 months has a family and a 1 year old baby. We have witnessed his growth from his first walk until the time that he learned how to run and everything in between. His name is Audric, our daily dose of happy pill at home. That’s why I am so sad when we had to leave the flat. In the last place that me and Aian lived, I met Belle and Jaden. The most talkative kids that I have met. But they are undeniably bright, geniuses I guess that I even get tired of talking to them. Yes, I am the one giving up because they are not running out of stories. As long as you are listening to them. I will definitely miss Belle’s sweetness. She’s a very artistic girl. I received a lot of artworks from her as a gift and I really appreciate them. I will never forget her last words for me when I left the flat “I love you tita”. She told me that many times the day that I left. Aaah that was really a heartbreaking and touching moment at the same time. And the last kid that became close to my heart is Anya. She is Ate Shiela’s daughter. She spent her Christmas vacation in UAE and just like Belle, this girl talks a lot. I guess girls her age like to talk and share different stories a lot. At first, I thought she doesn’t like me because when I first met her she is so snobbish but eventually I guess she realized that I am really lovable. Ha ha ha!
It is not only through experiences that we get to learn and realize things, but also in meeting people, knowing and understanding them and their stories. It is about putting yourselves in their shoes. And when you encounter the same scenario, you just have to remember their stories, how they were able to get through it and surely, it will be easier for you to overcome it with a motivated heart and mind. They will always have a special place in my heart and just like those that I have met before, I will always remember how they made me feel and how they made me become the better version of myself particularly in being stronger, keeping calm in times of chaos and having a mature faith in God.