Looking Back to being an OFW, the Good Life
Let me share some of the goodness about being an Overseas Filipino Worker.
I’ve always wanted to work abroad, ever since I was in college. I was a working student and my only financial responsibility back then was my Self. Yes, I sent myself to school. And I’ll always be proud of that. So, why do I want to work abroad again? Freedom.
And then in 2011, I became an OFW. My reason changed a bit, freedom became a second placer. Having a responsibility of sending my younger brothers to school wasn’t really a piece-of-cake kind of task. So, Money stood first among my reasons and I believe almost all OFW have that as the reason as well.
How did that change my life?
A lot really i mean, in so many ways. But somehow, some of the great things this experience taught me that I can think of:
I became comfortable financially. So yes, that was a good life. Budgeting is something I learned while living in a foreign land. Managing your daily expenses and your financial responsibility, not easy! I am not expert still but I am getting the hang of it.
The freedom that I’ve always wanted. I became more interested in traveling since it was way easier to travel when I was abroad. I don’t know, but it felt like that to me.
Becoming Independent. I learned to take care of myself from washing of my clothes, to preparing my food. My mother does this for me but being away you have to do that on your own.
I believe I became more aware – aware of my environment, extra careful with my words and actions, you don’t want to offend anybody. I have been good in dealing with other people, but being in a foreign land, it goes on a different level. It starts the moment you wake up, ends by the time you go to bed.
Your housemates would be your somehow “immediate family”, treat them with respect just how you would want them to respect you. Lucky us, we had a great relationship.
Well really, a lot about me changed. But what made me want to share this? Someone asked me this question:
“What was it like to live in a first world country?”
I lived for 4 years in not just a first world country but also known as the most expensive city in the world, Singapore. What was it like?
Hmm, how about I state the things that I miss and love there.
1. Safety. Yes, this is what I love the most in that country. Not really worried when you walk the streets at night while holding your cellphone or wanting to eat twister fries around 1am with your housemates at a 24-hour McDonalds near your block.
2. Discipline. This one will go a long way. But I’ll share some that I find really appropriate, that all this time I wish we could follow. Having rules is good but following these rules makes the difference.
- Cleanliness. Almost everyone I know, who visited Singapore would say, “Singapore is so clean!” People here don’t just throw trash anywhere, following the no drinking and eating in a bus or train, how people smoke at a designated smoking area.
- Pedestrian. The priority given by the motorists to those crossing the street. Impressive!
- Queue. A queue is a queue, you cannot save a queue for someone else otherwise you’ll get bashed! So if you are waiting for someone, wait at the end of the line.
3. Transportation. The convenience and the efficiency of the trains and buses is really a WOW.
How do yo go to work? Oh by BMW! (Bus, MRT, Walk) – our common joke.
The bus follows certain timing, so you have to be in that bus stop otherwise you’re going to be late. Bus don’t load or unload passengers anywhere, it has to be in a bus stop, and this is strictly being followed. There’s also a bit of crowd and some pushing too during rush hour, but not really having to worry that someone might pick pocket something from you.
There’s traffic in Singapore as well but not like you get stuck there for 3 hours.
My bonus: Food. Of course, there are expensive ones but there are definitely within budget food at the Hawker Centers that you can choose from. The fruits and veggies were not that expensive. What’s not to love about that! Some of my favorites.
With the bonus food you can guess ha? Yes and yes, weight was something I gained from my stay there.
Some SG moments
I will be going to Singapore soon – as a traveler. Time for me to take pictures of their tourist attractions not as a tour guide of friends or relatives but as a tourist myself. (besides, I still have a lot of things left in Singapore to bring home)