Postcards From Home: London

I am Dhan, a Registered Nurse in the United Kingdom.

I am passionate about my work. Because I love what I do, I have a steady source of motivation that drives me to do my best. My mantra, “Meraki” a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, and love - when you put something of yourself on into what you’re doing whatever it may be.

In my recent post (Trauma and Orthopaedic theatres), my passion has led me to challenge myself daily and learn new skills that helped me to do better at work through self-study and guided mentoring.

I am ambitious and driven. I thrive on challenges and constantly set goals for myself, so I have something to strive toward. 

I’m not comfortable with settling, and I’m always looking for an opportunity to do better and achieve greatness. I love to be challenged and makes my plans a vision. Currently, I am about to venture a completely different career path in Nursing - Oncology.

The best memory of home(Philippines) for me is our long Christmas preparations. 

As early as September, Filipinos put up Christmas decorations at home, Shopping malls play songs of carols with Christmas trees, balls and lights occupying every department’s store racks, the hearable street carolings and the gatherings/reunions that are of a great number.

Worst though, traffic is everywhere mainly because of mall-wide Christmas Sales; people rush to buy presents for the holidays. This is something that has been practiced by most Filipino households even before there were Jose Mari Chan and Mariah Carey memes announcing the first of September on social media. HAHA.

We have always been festive, I believe, and we like grabbing the opportunities to come together as a family to enjoy a generous spread of food on the table. And this is something I am gonna miss first time as an OFW.

To be honest, I was not really scared of anything. 

It was more of a zeal feeling and random anticipation. I believe I came prepared for this journey. Right from the very beginning, I have envisioned all my plans coming to life. Thus, scared is an understatement for someone who has dreamed this big.

Once you’ve set yourself a personal, specific and realistic goal like working overseas you should at least be half motivated to see it through. Although halfway through the journey towards conquering it, you may wilt a bit because of the challenges.

The best thing to do I believe is to remind yourself why you started in the first place. So when that moment comes to its pure joy, not rue you have to be facing.

We hear so much about the benefits of working overseas. 

Personal growth, new languages, new cultures, the traveling and shopping, the people you meet along the way. And although all of these are true and may sound glamorous, living overseas is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows.

There are some really tough obstacles that require time and effort to overcome.

I work in a demanding environment. We work long day shifts and it is true that sometimes you don't even get time to sit down, eat nor empty your bladder just to cater your patient's needs. My rest days are valuable to me because it is the only time for me to regain my strength back mentally and physically.

Alongside this, I miss my friends and my family. 

The weather shifts. The Socio-cultural alienation. This adulting thing.

Never did I find all the comforts of working overseas gratifying. It’s hard. There are moments where you feel an overwhelming amount of emotion that completely takes over any and all reason.

Nostalgia is not an overstatement for an OFW.

I truly miss the comfort of living in the Philippines.

Nevertheless, traveling has been my refuge during these times. It is true that the stress of work and daily demands can distract us from what we find to be actually meaningful and interesting.

Thus, taking a break from the daily hustle and bustle in theatres is essential for my mind to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.

 Stepping away from my nursing job is good both mentally and physically.

When I return to the job, I usually have the space to look at work-related matters with fresh eyes.

My favorite things about living in a first world country are its’ accessibility to transport (overground and underground trains, trams, buses, bikes etc) and the English peoples’ “famed-politeness”. 

First, Public transportation is far and wide, here and there, omnipresent. At some point, makes traffic, not of an issue. Having said this, made it easier for me to commute to work efficiently just by cycling without the hassle of pollution and gridlock.

Also, manners are said to be extremely important to British people and failing to observe them is seen as incredibly rude.

As a result, even the rudest of British people have some semblance of manners; they are fond of saying please, thank you and sorry.

The level of politeness among British people may surprise you at first as it’s certainly more prevalent than in some other countries.

Some of there famous lines are “Are you alright?” , “Bless your heart”, “Are you happy to do it/if I...”, “You’re a star!” etc. Eventually, you get to apply it to yourself and becomes second nature.

I have not actually thought about that (living for good) for now, perhaps when I am here longer.

Parting words for people who want to embark on the same journey?

Moving abroad for work takes careful preparation.

If you’re really contemplating international work, be sure to do plenty of research on the country and company and talk to others who’ve made the same move.

This is what I believe to be true, considering the culture shock, and rapid changes in everything like weather, people, work, food, and other unexpected occurrences, you’ll have no choice but to stay still.

Your pillows and blankets will become your temporary cronies, food, travel or shopping will become your stress-relievers, and most of all God will be your ultimate source of strength. Live and let live that’s all it is.

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