Monday, December 8, 2014

The Person I Became: Things I Discovered Along the Way as an OFW

Finding My Independence

If a situation comes up that I need to survive alone, I can hold my head up high, roll up my sleeves and proudly say, "Bring it on, baby!" Gosh, I can't even begin to say how working away from home made me an independent woman. I do things alone. I can survive alone. I even went to New York alone, and whenever I told my friends that I went to NY alone, they shake their heads and say, "I can never do that!" 

If you only have yourself to rely on, you cannot help but to rely on yourself. My aunt once told me a story on how she used to be an expert on everything and anything Manila- where to go, what jeep/MRT/LRT to take,etc. (for a probinsyana like us, Manila is super confusing!) But when her daughter has been regularly going with her during her Manila travels, she claims that Manila is now confusing to her. Her Manila-street smarts vanished because she has someone to rely on- her daughter.

Girls and the Restroom

You know the joke that a girl can't go to the restroom without her group of friends? Man, I used to be like that back home. Now, I can walk in front of the crowd with no care in the world. I realized that people have different thoughts running in their heads and they don't really care about you. They might look at you for a sec but again, they don't really care. Kebs.

Same thing with running, too. I used to be ashamed if people see me huffing and puffing while running but now? Not anymore...


I acquired the 'I don't care where I sit' attitude 


Most Americans , I observed, are not maarte . They sit anywhere: on stairs, in the corner, side of the escalator, etc. (mostly when waiting for train/bus) I didn't know until few weeks ago that I kind of acquired their habit of just sitting anywhere. One day, I was waiting for a train. It wasn't rush hour so it took a longer time than usual for the train to arrive, well, I just went to the corner, sat cross-legged on the floor, opened a book and  just read. And then, it hit me, did I unconsciously acquire this unusual American habit? Weird! 


When I was living with my paternal grandmother, my duties were mostly laundry, cleaning, organizing, sewing, etc. I never had the chance to experiment in the kitchen because I was afraid that they will ridicule my cooking. Now, I can confidently say that I know how to cook. It was out of necessity: one day, I was just sick and tired of eating ramen regularly and decided to watch Food Channel. The rest, they said, is history. Cooking is easy naman pala!

Missing the Philippines, Being Proud to be a Filipino and Appreciation of Simple Living

You don't know what you have until it's gone or, in my case, I didn't know the extent of my patriotism until I went abroad. Ever since I work abroad, I became appreciative of my Filipino-ness. I suddenly defend Philippines whenever issues arise/ whenever someone bitch about Philippines. Sure, Philippines is far from perfect, but I love it! I love the culture and I beam with pride and answer, "I am from the Philippines" whenever someone ask me, "Where are you from?"

Living in a developed country made me appreciate the simple, laid back life back home. Even though life here is comfortable with transportation reliable, people follow rules and such, it would never be a home to me. Crazy as it is, I'd pick Philippines over America.


Embracing the Real Me

As an attempt to end my singlehood, I once decided to say yes to a 'hanging out' invitation. The conversation went about music and movies. He said that rock music is trashy and science fiction are for immature people. My heart aches coz I love my science fiction and I love my Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matchbox 20 and Green day music. Well, I would never be a jazz music fan and I am okay with that. This is a woman who enjoys science fiction and loud musics and, if you aren't okay with my likes, I surely am okay with that.

Physical appearance-wise, I grew up in a country where tan skin is ridiculed. Growing up, I wanted to have  fair skin and I also hated my natural brown hair, so I regularly buy and doused my hair with blackening shampoo (Php 10 per sachet bought at a pharmacy, if I remember it correctly). Fair skin plus black hair? Parang Snow White lang ang drama. Now that I am exposed to and observed different cultures, the definition of what is beautiful varies from one culture to another. Tan skin tone may not be called beautiful in our country but in this country,it is. I realized that why waste your time clamoring for perfection when there is always somebody out there who is prettier and younger than you. Chasing perfection is pointless, I came to realize. This is me- a woman with a golden tan skin tone and brown hair- and I am okay with that.



  1. Those discoveries and lessons are some of the things that have shaped who you are today. I like the attitude of not caring about what other people say. No need to please other people especially when you are content with what you have (physical appearance, upbringing and all) and at peace with yourself. Can't wait to follow your journey here in Pinas! :)

    1. Hey Edelweiza,

      Yah, you are right. I think accepting who you are comes with age,too. It just so happen that maybe my "acceptance" got sped up because I get to observe other culture. Who knows!

  2. It is for the very reasons you mentioned that I encourage people to travel when they can, if they can. The world outside the Philippines will open up your eyes to many discoveries. Discovering that there is so much about our country that we take for granted is in itself the best reward of traveling. And YES, while our country has many things wanting, IT STILL IS the best, simply because it is our HOME country.

    1. You are so right! The 'grass is greener in the other side of the fence' mentality is here to stay. It helps when you see/experience what it feels like to 'be' in the other side if you aren't contented with our Inang Bayan

  3. Naiinggit ako sayo I really want to be independent just like you :'( - anne

    1. Anne, you will get there. Remember, small steps at a time :)

  4. I don't care where I sit also.. lol!

    Really..I simply don't care what other people will say.

  5. Love the "I don't care where I sit attitude!" Really when your back ache already and you have time and a book, so why not sit back and relax--best way to spend the day.

    And like you said be proud that we are Pinoys and Pinays. I get annoyed when people ask where are you from followed by how did you learn how to speak English?

    Of course from Harry, Ron, and Hermione! We've been saying "Good morning, teacher!" since kindergarten. So I learned regardless of nationality everyone has the right for education. Read Shakespeare or J.K. Rowling. Respect and educate yourself.


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