Postcards From Home: Love From The UK

My name is Jacky, and about 2 years ago I left my beautiful home of Cebu to work in the United Kingdom as a nurse.

I have loads of good memories from Cebu including: 

  • day trips to the south with friends
  • eating ginabot and puso after an exhausting graveyard shift
  • and the numerous jeepney stories that made me laugh, cringe, or both. 

But the best memories I have from home would have to be the ones that I spent with my family. 

I get to appreciate more those moments now especially because I live half-way across the world.

Aside from missing my family, the thing I miss most about Cebu would have to be speaking Bisaya!

Never in a million years have I thought that I would miss speaking my mother tongue. Using a second language to communicate 24/7, regardless of how proficient you are at it, becomes tiring at a certain point. Imagine expressing extreme happiness, sadness, or irritation verbally, but you'll have to translate in your head your default Bisaya expressions before you speak. It kinda ruins the moment.

The scariest thing about moving to another country is starting your life from scratch.

In my case, I haven't been out of the country before moving to the UK and I practically didn't know anyone when I arrived. So, I literally have to figure out how everything works here; from how to use the public transport, to the basics of how banks work, and even how the faucets (which they call taps) function.

Even now I'm still figuring a lot of things out. Luckily, I've had plenty of support from the Filipino community here and from my employer as well. With their help, mixed with heaps of prayers and a dash of courage, I've been able to build a life here.

Living abroad is definitely not as easy as most people think. 

The most difficult thing for me would be being away from my family, which is very emotionally challenging. Also, when I'm not feeling well, there's no mama to make my favourite comfort food. I'll have to look after myself whether in sickness or in health.

Another common misconception about people working abroad is that we're all rich.

But alas, it doesn't always work that way. Even though we earn more than the average employee in the Philippines in peso, we don't actually use peso in the country where we live. Like what my friends and I frequently say, "you earn pounds, you spend pounds".

So in reality, most of us are still faced with the same budgeting problems as most people do.

My favourite part about living in the United Kingdom is getting to know their culture.

I have always been fascinated by the UK's rich history and culture, and now I get to learn all about it first hand. Also, seeing historical sites up-close which I've only read in books or seen on TV before, such as the Stonehenge, feels very surreal and fulfilling.

For now, I feel that it's too early to tell if I'll eventually settle down here in the UK for good. But I'll definitely be sticking around here for a while.

Parting words?

Go ahead! I support you. One major thing I realised from living in a foreign land is that it teaches you a great deal about the world and about yourself. It opens your mind to the unfamiliar and different. It also opens doors of opportunities. It won't be easy, though, so brace yourself.

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