Snapshots of My UK RN Journey

Hello guys! I apologize for being absent in the blogging world for several months. I have a love affair with blogging. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it. I went for hiatus in blogging to concentrate on a new chapter in my life. I had shared in the previous posts that I had moved to London, England on 2016 to work as a nurse. It’s been more than a year now. Looking back, I never thought that I will be at this point in my life. Remember the quarter life crisis I experienced on my early 20s, the career shifts, etc.

These were my fears before I moved to the UK. Can I make it living on my own? Can I start a new life in a different continent, in a different country, a place that is very far from where I came from. It’s been more than a year now. And in that 1 year, I’ve learned to take a risk in life and love. I tried to face my fear of doing something I’d never thought I can do. I had learned to trust life, to trust in the Higher Being. I believe that there is a reason for everything. That things will happen if it’s meant to happen. I don’t question life anymore because at the end of the day, something good will rise from all the negative things.  Hope is moving forward even if it’s hard because you want to get pass that stage of your life. If you are not yet contented in to where you are right now, if you think you deserve more, then you are right. If you are not yet happy, then strive to achieve whatever it is that will make you happy. Whether it’s in your job, relationships, family, health, etc.

I went on break in blogging because I concentrated on settling in my new life and career here in London. I reviewed for the exam, (while working) for me to become a registered nurse in the UK and thankfully passed the examination on July 2017. For the readers who are thinking that it was an ‘easy-everything-1-year’ since I arrived here, it was definitely not. There were probably more failures in this road to UK compared to everything that I had ventured ever in my life. The majority of the steps in applying as a nurse in the UK, I had failures. But why didn’t I give up? According to Sonia Ricotti, never give up because just when you are to give up is when things are about to turn around in a grand way. I hold on because I know that great things are waiting for me around the corner. This is the e-mail that I had been waiting for on July 2017. Finally, I passed my exam after two failed attempts!

The whole process was very hard and tedious and it took me 1 year and 9 months to get my PIN. That is from taking my IELTS on October 2015 until I passed the Part 2 – Test of Competency on July 2017. To be honest, I cried when I received the result on my e-mail. This is the destination of all the hardships that I had to go through when I was still working as a nurse in the Philippines. This is the destination, but the journey is still the sweetest. So after receiving this e-mail, I immediately informed my ward manager Katherine, the Practice Development Nurses Siobhan and Richard, my closest friends here in the UK, my siblings, Ryan, and made a long distance call to my parents in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. My mother was very happy and said that she had always been praying for me, I know my father did the same.

Before I passed the exam, I worked as Band 3 – ONP and was wearing this white uniform.

After receiving the e-mail, I excitedly arranged my Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration and received my PIN after 48 hours. Afterwards, me and my friend Fe, who also passed the exam, went to the sewing room of the hospital to fit our new band 5 uniforms. I chose two dresses and 1 tunic with trousers. I’ve always wanted to wear dress with black stockings and black shoes on duty. And when I got the uniform, my new ID and new name plate,  I lay them all on my bed and I even took a photo of them. Here it is… 

This is me wearing my new uniform happily. Simple joy… Pinaghirapan ko kasi talaga ito! (I really worked hard for this!)
 *** P.S. I had written this a long time ago and it stayed on my draft folder for 7 months. I want to publish this to remind myself of my UK journey and the happiness I felt when I became a registered nurse in the UK. I know being a nurse in the UK is just a phase in my life, that I should enjoy every moment of it even if the work is hard and be grateful for the opportunity that was given to me. With this experience, I am learning a lot not only as nurse but also as a person. I have grown and realised on my own what really matters in life and it’s not money, travel or career. Despite the fact that I’m living in a first world country, I am still a simple person, my ultimate dream remains the same which is to have my own family, be a wife and mother. I will use this as a motivation to my work to give quality care to my patients and share the lessons that I learned here in my blog to anyone who might stumble on my life stories. To you reading this, do not give up even if you had failures, if you really want to achieve your dreams, keep on trying.
Go and reach for your dreams! 

The Whitney Houston Show Memories

Last night, I watched “The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show” in Evertim Apollo in Hammersmith, London. Whitney Houston was honoured by the singer Belinda Davis who sang the greatest hits of the late singer. How did I know about this show? Actually, everything was very spontaneous. When I opened my Groupon app, I accidentally pressed the featured option, and The Whitney Houston Show popped out. Interesting, I told myself. So I searched google for the trailer of the show and got excited because I know a lot of Whitney Houston songs. I’m on my late 20s, I grew up listening to the songs of her in the radio and CD player. The venue of the show was in Evertim Apollo in Hammersmith, London. I thought that it was in Central London but when I checked City Mapper (this is the app that I use to go anywhere in the city of London with suggested routes and mode of transportation), I found out that the fastest way is by riding a bus. I just need to ride Bus 85 from the Queen’s Road/ Kingston Hospital and drop off to Shawford Court station then wait for Bus 72 and drop off to Hammersmith Bridge Road station. Afterwards, I only walked for 4 minutes and then I already saw the venue, Evertim Apollo. When I arrived 25 minutes before 8pm, there were two queues, one was for those who already have their tickets and the second one is for sales and ticket collection. I went to the second queue as I already booked the ticket the night before the show. That is me, so spontaneous of everything.

Outside of the Evertim Apollo

I noticed that with the shows that I attended here in London, there were very tight security measures being implemented as UK had history of terrorist attacks. Five minutes before 8.00pm, I finally got seated. I bought the ticket last night for a price of £50. I watched the show alone and was seated with two lovely ladies and also grannies, Maggie and Jackie. They bought their ticket on December of last year for £40, and they compared and concluded that there isn’t that much difference from the price of tickets bought last year and the night before the show. Remember that I bought mine for £50. Maggie and Jackie were telling me they’re still waiting for their favourite song Run To You, but unfortunately, it was not included in the songs sang by Belinda. During the 30 minute break, Jackie told me to try to watch for a Tennis match in Wimbledon sometime on June because it is a great experience to be with the atmosphere of a tennis match. According to her, it’s more exciting when you are physically present in the venue rather than watching it in a television. She said that after the match, she went inside the court and almost cried. Haha.. For her, it was a very emotional moment to be picked and be given an opportunity to watch the Wimbledon Tennis match.

My two lovely seatmates, Jackie and Maggie

Going back to the show, Belinda introduced herself after singing few songs. She said that she was born in Fort Elizabeth, South Africa and growing up, she wanted to sing like her idol, Whitney Houston. Well, dreams do come true because now she was the one chosen to honour the music and legacy of her idol. She looked like Whitney Houston, her skin colour, her hair, the gestures, her powerful voice and she was dressed exactly the same as what Whitney wore during her past performances.

Belinda Davids going to the audience

I thought that The Whitney Houston Show is like other West End musicals that are being shown in London all throughout the year, but it’s not. I decided to watch this show because upon searching, it will only be shown for 1 night in London, it’s now or never. The next day they will perform in Cardiff for 2 consecutive nights and in Manchester the night after. Belinda gave a stellar performance with her powerful voice belting out the Whitney Houston hits and received several standing ovations. The price I paid to watch this show is definitely worth it.

Whitney Houston is very popular in the Philippines. I grew up hearing her songs. I also remember that our Elementary graduation song was “One Moment in Time” that’s why I can still remember its lyrics. And since the Filipinos love to sing, Whitney Houston songs are always being sang by singers in the television shows, concerts and in the singing contests.

Here are some of the videos I took from the show.

 

The audience does not only comprise of older people but a mix of young and old, male and female. There were grannies and grandpas, there were married couples, group of friends and young people. I was dancing and singing my heart out (as heard on the videos that I took) as well as the whole audience. These were some of the songs belted out by Belinda: I Will Always Love You, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, I Have Nothing, The Greatest Love of All, One Moment In Time, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, etc. There was a live band and the National Philharmonic Concert Orchestra which gave fantastic music. The quality of music is really different, very soulful and grand if there’s an orchestra playing. This is a great show  worth spending.  It will entertain you, you will sing, you will dance and you will remember the talent, music and memory of Whitney Houston.

This is the video/ trailer that I watched that made me decide to come and see the show.

My selfie after coming home at around 12midnight.

 

I just want to end this post by leaving this quote from the book that I’m currently reading, “Do less, get MORE” by Shaa Wasmund. I remember I also read this quote from the blog of Tom Basson (www.tombasson.com).

It says there…

-What makes you feel alive? “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

When I was watching this show, I feel alive because I was enjoying my time, and that I am living my life in the present moment and in my own terms. I think I need to remind myself all the time to only do things that will make me genuinely happy.

That’s it for now. Guys, please leave a comment below if you have watched this show or still planning to watch. Have a great day ahead!

 

***I got the featured image from MyTicket.co.uk from google.com.

Cardiac Arrest Experience In The Ward

It was a regular night shift, I was assigned in the middle bay when I heard the charge nurse speaking to the Outreach nurse that one of his patients was not alert and oxygen saturation going down. We immediately went to the room and saw the patient unconscious and pale looking. I went back to the nurse station to dial the emergency hotline to ask for adult resuscitation team to come to our ward. I had experienced several cardiac arrest situations in my nursing career when I was still working in the Philippines but it was rare here in the UK. One of the reasons is that since the majority of our patients are aged 70 to 100, if they deteriorate, they or their family were choosing the DNAR or the do not resuscitate status if their heart stops beating.

Unfortunately, we were unable to revive the patient even though we did our best. The leader of the resuscitation team said after, “Good job everyone.” The reason why I am writing this experience is because after the cardiac arrest, I was very silent and there were a lot of thoughts running through my head.

The resuscitation team made a team debrief after and we’ve talked about what happened. The two senior doctors facilitated the team debrief and they’ve discussed why we stopped the resuscitation. The female senior doctor said that everyone’s role is vital because we are a team. During the resuscitation, she asked everyone if we agree to continue the resuscitation of the patient, only few members answered but we still carry on the resuscitation and the reason why she asked us all to answer is because she values the decision of everyone. She said we should never ever say that “I am just an F1 doctor” or “I am just a band 5 nurse” or “I am just a cleaner.” She wants us to speak, for example, it might be that the patient had said something to us during the day that is very vital for us to continue the resuscitation.

Another important thing she said is to listen to what is being said for the update of the situation and for the delegation of task. And since the patient is in an isolation room, she said that appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, masks, etc.) must be readily available inside the room because we still have our families, our children, our partners that we love that’s why we should take care of ourselves.  

This is my first cardiac arrest experience as band 5 staff nurse in the hospital, and the resuscitation process in the Philippines is different here in the UK that’s why I was still grasping and watching what everyone was doing. And by hearing from the doctors say, “Good job everyone”, I said to myself, “Wow, I was valued” even though I felt that I don’t deserve that because there’s a lot of things that I do not know. I felt like my role and effort was appreciated.  I felt like I was enough no matter how small my role was or how little the help I have given. I am enough. There were a lot (what I mean with a lot is really A LOT) of improvements especially on my part but what was seen by the doctors were our efforts. That’s one of the things that I really like about working here in the UK, being treated professionally and with respect. Value for one another and Respect are two of the core values of our hospital. I’ve realized that the workers and staffs are living up to these values. No pointing of fingers, surely there were a lot to improve but these things were addressed in the right manner in the Team Debrief.

I went on my sleeping break for an hour and still, I was recapturing what happened earlier. I said to the charge nurse, “Rick, I don’t know why but after the cardiac arrest, I was very silent, I don’t know what to say. I still have a lot of things to learn and that I do not know.” He replied, “Yes, there’s still a lot of things that you don’t know, that I don’t know and that they do not know.” He’s trying to tell me that nobody knows everything. (Why is everyone so kind in here?) I plan to speak to my manager to book me a study leave to attend Intermediate Life Support and all other trainings as I see the vitality of these in my line of work. Remember how I’ve learned a lot about communicating with distressed and worried people in the training: Sage and Thyme.

Probably one of the reasons why there’s a lot of thoughts running through my head after is because I was feeling stressed lately at work. There were a lot of highs and lows with my job. We are happy whenever our patients get to be discharged but we also had patients who deteriorated and who passed away and this emergency cardiac arrest. We are not robots, we have our feelings of sadness and loss for the family and we are also affected. That’s how emotional our job is.

Just to end this, I can say that there are times that it’s busy, tiring and stressful but it’s also fulfilling whenever we get to provide the comfort and needs of our patients and whenever we see them happy.

By the way, I searched in YouTube for the demo of cardiac arrest from the Resuscitation Council (UK) for the readers who are not from the health care industry to imagine the scenario. This is how it’s being done. Ideally. 

One more thing, the featured image is from google.

Thanks for reading, as always! =)  Please comment below your thoughts about this post.

Mamma Mia! – The Best Feel-Good Musical Worth Watchin’ Now

It was a very tiring day after a bank shift (overtime) in Royal Eye Unit on Thursday, the 8th of March. I decided to work on my two days off so that I can earn on top of my monthly salary since I plan to do nothing on those days. Royal Eye Unit is the outpatient department in the hospital that caters ophthalmic services for diagnosis, management and treatment like cataract surgery and laser. It’s the busiest outpatient department in the whole hospital but the work is still manageable compared to the ward. I was tired after that shift and thought I’d like to try something new, that which can only be experienced in London. I’ve long set this plan to watch a musical in the West End however it’s always been pushed aside. So after that tiring bank shift in Royal Eye Unit, I surfed google for West End musicals and watched each trailer. I shortlisted four shows to watch which were Aladdin, Lion King, The Girl in the North County and Mamma Mia. I let go of Aladdin and Lion King because I told myself to only watch these shows with my special someone, loved ones, family or friends. The Girl in the North County is a bit serious and I might feel sad while watching it because I plan to watch alone. Then I watched the trailer of Mamma Mia again and read the reviews and it had wonderful ratings and I thought that this seems like a very fun and happy show. When I looked at the available seats, there was 1 seat left in the Balcony and thought this must have been for me. So I booked the show for Friday evening, 19.45 which costs £37.

So after my shift in Royal Eye Unit at 17.00 on the 9th of March, I immediately went home to my flat to change clothes and prepare myself to watch the musical. I didn’t even eat dinner in the flat and went straight ahead to central London. I ride the train from Norbiton to Waterloo Station which takes approximately 30 minutes. I felt really hungry upon arriving at Waterloo station so I ate quickly in Starbucks and ordered Mocha coffee and Bagel. I’m supposed to ride a bus to Novello Theatre which is the venue of this musical however, it was raining and I was having a hard time looking for the correct bus station using the app CityMapper. And since it is only 15 minutes left before the show starts, I booked an uber and in 10 minutes, I arrived in Novello Theatre, just in time for the start of the show.

Novello Theatre

The performance starts at exactly 19.45 with live music and Sophie (the main character) appeared in the stage with her friends. I didn’t watch the movie Mamma Mia that’s why I have no idea what the story is about. I only found out about it as I watch the flow of the events in the musical. I was telling myself, “Ah alright, so that’s the story, lovely!” I don’t want to spoil you readers but you might probably have watched the movie or read the description in the trailer already. The musical was very fun and it is true what I read in the reviews. If you’re looking for a show that gives good vibes, and if you want to laugh, sing with Abba songs (who doesn’t know any Abba songs?) with live music and vocals, this is the show to watch. And even though I watched it alone, the whole audience including me enjoyed the show, we were clapping while singing the songs Dancing Queen, Thank You For The Music, Mamma Mia, I Have a Dream and Slipping Through My Fingers.

The main character Sophie played by Georgina Castle is a spark of joy during the whole musical. It is evident that she enjoys performing and that her smile lightens up the whole theatre. And the whole casts as well, they were very fun, happy and full of energy. I sincerely enjoyed this show and I even called my friend to tell her about my experience. Now I’m planning to watch other musicals.

These were the performers. The photo I got from google link, http://mamma-mia.com/read-news.php?n=mamma-mia-london-welcomes-new-cast-2017

My face after the show. All smile and capturing photos of London at night.

Have you watched Mamma Mia? Please comment below your thoughts about the show.

Hillsong Church Easter Sunday

Today is the second of April, 2018. How fast the time flies? It’s almost the end of the first quarter of 2018 and I didn’t even notice. The holy week has just ended. As usual for us working in the hospital, we don’t have holidays, I mean the hospital never goes on holiday. It’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the service of the people who are sick.

It was not known to a lot of people but I’ve been struggling in my life recently. And these struggles made me question life and God as well. I know this struggle is nothing compared to what others are experiencing but for me, this is already something that weakens, breaks and hurt me. This made me question life and God with a lot of why’s. Why do I have to experience this? Why do I need to be in this dilemma? Did I do something wrong? I’ve waited and worked hard for this, but suddenly, why do I have to choose between two options that I really love? I am just fulfilling my dream.

I’m a firm believer of God’s plan, but it doesn’t deny the fact that I am hurting. I was telling myself that I won’t be able to know why these things are happening now but in the future everything will fall into place. But knowing this doesn’t change the fact that presently, it hurts. I was hoping that the pain I’m feeling will be gone soon.

It was my first time to attend the Hillsong church. I told myself, why only now, I’ve been here in London for more than a year already. The venue was in Palladium theatre to accommodate larger audience for Easter Sunday. It was a long queue before we got inside the venue but we didn’t mind. During the service I remembered my SFC (Singles for Christ) days, singing praise and worship songs, praising Him, letting go and letting God. After the praise and worship part, there was a preaching followed by the presentation about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the presentation, they modernized the setting, but the story and the lessons are the same. It was a stellar performance with complete visual effects, lighting, singing and dancing of great performers. It was beautiful but I wasn’t really affected by the presentation, there was even a time in the play that I fell asleep not because the performance was bad or boring but because of lack of sleep the night before. I don’t know what happened but the following morning after I wake up, it was the first time that I didn’t feel the weight in my heart. I felt very at peace and trustful of the journey that I am right now. After all, love is supposed to be patient and kind. I went to work joyful and happy. I dealt with the patients with smiles and laughter, building rapports and uttering silly jokes (which is unusual of me). I hope this is the start of the moving forward process.

I’ll be fine.

Sage & Thyme: Listening and Responding to People Who are Worried and Distressed

Have you ever encountered seeing or talking to a person who are worried? Surely, we are familiar with the phrase, “Don’t worry. Everything’s gonna be fine.” But is this really the appropriate thing to say? I want to share what I learned in Sage & Thyme Foundation Level Workshop: Listening and responding to people who are worried and distressed.

I voluntarily attended this workshop because I can see the strong need for me, as a health care professional to develop my communication skills as I am dealing with distressed patients and family members all the time. As a nurse working in a respiratory ward for more than a year, I have dealt with this situation multiple times and it’s hard to think of the right thing to say to address the concerns. With our busy day in the ward, giving medications, positioning our patients, doing the nursing care, etc., how can we actually provide therapeutic communications to our patients?

There is a flyer I saw in our ward’s staff room regarding this workshop. I told myself, “I want to attend.” I approached one of the Palliative Care Nurses visiting our ward, told her I am interested in attending the workshop however I cannot find the email address of the secretary to book my place. She then took my NHS email address and said she will leave the note on the secretary’s desk. And after 2 hours, I received an email from Paula and informed me that there is 1 slot left for the seminar. Hmm.. I told myself this must have been for me. So I replied that I would be pleased to attend the seminar.

The entire seminar was facilitated by Sally Parr, a consultant for Cancer Support. She was very good in explaining why communication skills matter because it influences patient’s emotional health, symptom resolution function and physiological measures and decreased reported pain and drug usage.

So why Sage and Thyme? I was also curious. In the seminar I found out that Sage and Thyme is an acronym for the model which stands for…

S- Setting : If you notice concern- create some privacy- sit down

A- Ask : “Can I ask what you are concerned about?”

G- Gather: Gather all concerns – not just the first few

E- Empathy: Respond sensitively- “You have a lot on your mind”

&

T- Talk: “Who do you have to talk to or to support you?”

H- Help: “How do they help?”

Y- You: “What do YOU think would help?”

M- Me: “Is there something you would like ME to do?”

E- End: Summarise and close – “Can we leave it there?”

According to Thora, a Palliative Care Nurse who facilitates the discussion in our group, this model is evidence based and it has been proven effective with clinical research. Depending on the situation, it doesn’t mean that we have to use the whole model all the time. She said we may skip some, but the core thing is to empower the person who is distressed by allowing him to decide what he thinks should be the best decision. We should always seek the patient’s own solutions. This means that we empower and equip individual to recognise and manage their psychological distress. It is more about You (pertaining to the other person) and not Me (meaning myself). She also said that somehow, this lifts the burden in us, health care professionals, that we cannot always and all the time solve our patient’s problems, pain and struggles. We are not a superhero to solve these things and we can only do so much. One more thing that I really like about this model is the fact that whenever we are talking to a distressed individual, it is not always about giving advice. Sometimes, what they need is someone who empathises with them, understands them and listens to them without any judgement. The most important thing is holding back with advice and only make supportive comments. Listening to them means not having to fix or give advice to the other person because this is disempowering.

Saying “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright” is not therapeutic because the truth is, the other person is worried, saying this means you are shutting down the individual.

In my everyday work in the ward, I cannot always run the whole model if a relative or patient has to speak to me because the ward that I permanently work is really busy, but what I will do is to apply the core of the model.

I realized this is not only applicable to my work as a health care professional in the hospital but this is extremely helpful also when talking to a friend, a colleague, a family member who has a problem or to myself.

I believe in this model that’s why I am sharing it in my blog. To know more about Sage and Thyme, you may visit www.sageandthymetraining.org.uk

Pinky Promise

Pinky Promise

www.google.com

According to Wikipedia, pinky promise is the entwining of the pinkies of two people to signify that a promise has been made.

In every phase of our life, we will face a challenge.

This led me to a quote in my head about waiting. And that is, “Anything worth having is truly worthy waiting.” There is a time for everything. I have to wait for the right time to get married. Because it is also me who set the standards that, in the future when I get married, I promise myself that me and my future husband should be together after the wedding. I will be back. I will come home for good, definitely. But I need to wait for the right time. While waiting, I will study, acquire experiences, get myself ready and sufficient for when the times comes that I have to go back to the Philippines to settle for good, I am mentally, emotionally, physically and financially  ready and equipped to use my learnings in London to build a better life in the Philippines. I believe in my heart that there’s a lot of opportunities in my country. I will improve myself, build my confidence through speaking and remove my naivety that I still have even though I am already approaching my 30s. I know I have a lot of potentials, I just have to develop them and push myself to believe in myself.

I also need to remind myself when I’m feeling sad and homesick, “Think of what London and UK can offer you. It can be new and exciting experiences, it can be different insights about life you will acquire after travelling, it can be professional growth and expertise. There are hundreds of reasons to love what I do now and appreciate where I am right now.” Living independently to a different city teaches me to be more responsible knowing that I have the total liberty, enough money, freedom, unlimited and fast internet connection, exposure to good looking men and women, and with all these, it is knowing how to take responsibility for myself, sticking to my values and stopping myself from being tempted to life traps.

What will I do with the opportunity handed to me? I know I should use this to help and inspire others who are also dreaming in the small town, urban area or in their dark room at night. I have told myself, I don’t want to change. Living in a first world city, living a good life, sometimes it is inevitable to want to keep up with the trend and lifestyle. But I want to keep the simplicity in me.

That is my Pinky Promise. Before this, I have only done pinky promises when I was young. But looking back, these were the most honest, most sincere and most innocent promises we can ever give.

Watching “Zippos Circus”

After coming back from a vacation in the Philippines, I have told myself to be dedicated again to blogging because as an introvert, expressing myself through writing gives me so much joy. There are 3 things I bought in the store today to jumpstart blogging and they are: AA battery, extension cord, and light bulb. Yes, these are the 3 stuff that completed this going-back-to-blogging plan. I needed a AA battery to be used for my wireless mouse so that I can navigate the pointer easily. The light bulb is for the lamp that I requested from our exchange gift last Christmas. I needed a bedside lamp because if I am only using the ceiling light from my room, what happens is that whenever I study or write, I would always get sleepy because it is so dim. With the bedside lamp, it creates additional brightness making the environment conducive to writing. The extension cord is to be used to plug my bedside lamp. So, that’s it. Because of these 3 things, I am now back to blogging.

This is a very late post as this happened in June 2017. My first-time experience watching a circus has always been a topic I’d really want to share here on my blog.

When I was young, I used to watched cartoons on TV every morning on ABS-CBN channel 2. It was the time when I was still young and only need to attend the school in the afternoon so I usually watched TV in the morning. I stayed in our home in the province with my mother (my father was working abroad) and 2 younger brothers while 3 of my older siblings went to school. I remember watching the cartoons “The Dog of Flanders” and “Remi”. I can’t remember which one was it but one or few episodes was about a circus. That image still I can remember. From then on, I knew I wanted to see a real circus. So when I saw a flyer about Zippos Circus coming to Kingston Upon Thames for series of shows,  I asked my friend if she wanted to see the circus with me. She didn’t think twice and happily came with me.

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When we arrived, we saw a big tent that was set up in the Fairfield Recreational Park, my favourite part of town. There were a lot of trucks because that’s what the Zippos Circus do, they travel to different towns across the UK to perform. They stay in a specific place for a week and after the show, they move to another town. I thought this circus is exactly what I watched in the cartoons when I was young.

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Happy Vibe!

When we arrived, the circus was already starting. And the moment we stepped inside the tent, I’ve already felt the happy vibe and the feeling of being child and young at heart. Well, I’m still young but what I am saying is the feeling of being a 5-year-old watching and being amazed at acrobats, stunts, etc.

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We saw a popcorn and cotton candy stand. My friend and I looked at each other and laughed. We knew right away that we wanted to buy these kiddie snacks. So we bought 1 popcorn and  1 cotton candy and we shared. When we were taking pictures of our cotton candy, the circus host popped in to join. Haha. He also performed with birds doing tricks like basketball. Looking at him, it’s evident that he had been in a circus for most of his life.

Then we sat on our allotted seat, we were escorted inside by the member of the security. The show was very organized from the time we bought our ticket until the end of the show and when going out of the venue. A circus is indeed a happy place. I was there at the venue with a big smile on my face, being entertained and feeling the joy of a child. As what the circus host said after the show, “You are never too old to enjoy a circus.”

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This is one of the activities here in the UK that gave real joy in my life and a big smile on my face, a must watch show and a must have experience.

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A Conversation With An Uber Driver

Uber

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I arrived back on UK on February 16 from a 1 month holiday in the Philippines. This vacation was very productive. I was able to spend most of the time with my family, my father had an elective surgery and stayed with him during the confinement, met my high school friend, went for a trip to Iloilo, and most especially, Ryan and I were able to talk and we got back together on Valentine’s day. I realized that no matter what our differences are and the challenges our relationship are facing, I am willing to fight for our relationship because I love him.It was a total of 16-hour flight duration with Cathay Pacific from Manila to Hong Kong followed by a connecting flight from Hong Kong to London. It was very smooth from take off to landing and as much as I can remember, there was no turbulence throughout the whole flight. I arrived in London Healthrow airport at around 15.00 of February 16 and waited for more than an hour in the immigration because of the long queue. After getting my luggage, I booked for an uber to take me home to my flat in Kingston.

I had a very interesting conversation with the Uber driver during the whole trip. His name is Gershom from the country, Uganda. I learned from him that Uganda was a former British colony. He came in the country 16 years ago to work to support his family in Uganda. He is already on his 50s. He shared with me the hardships that he had to face and endure when he first set foot in the UK. He said there is no reason for him to bring his children to UK because he doesn’t want them to experience the hardships that he had gone through in the past. He was just working and working and couldn’t go home to Uganda because of the immigration policy to remain in the country so that he can continue to provide the needs of his family. By the grace of God, his two daughters had already finished college and are now working. He is planning to go back to Uganda this year to be with his family and settle in his home country for good. He said that everything is not about the money. His advice to me is not to lose my culture with the culture in the country where I am right now. He said that if you lose your culture, you are dead. You don’t have soul anymore. It was like, he is pertaining about the good values that is innate with us. Sometimes, what happens is that when we start to earn more, even if we are in denial, we also change and we may think highly of ourselves. This is a reminder to stay humble.

He also gave me wonderful advice about relationships. He said that being in a relationship will never become easy. Definitely, there will be trying times, multiple throughout our whole lifetime. If you are able to surpass one trial, then you’ve succeeded, but expect that you will encounter few more challenges in the future. That is one of the realities of life. He also told me not to give up if I experience problems in the relationship. Being in a long distance relationship is already a challenge. He said that I should be willing to fight for it if I really love the person. He gave me tips on how to make the other person feel loved even though we are far from each other such as calling just to say good morning and good night and no need for a long conversation, just make the person feel that you think of him. At the end of the trip, I shook his hand and thanked him for all the life lessons that he had shared with me. It can be that life is telling me something because Gershom is the 4th uber driver that appeared and I do not know why the first three bookings were dropped.

I had been constantly praying to give me wisdom with every decision that I will be making. Oftentimes, I do not know what decision to make because of too much noise from my head, my heart and from the people around me. What I have been constantly praying and asking is to hear His voice for me to be directed in the right path.

 

Purposeful 2018

Words to live by

Hello 2018! New year is all about setting up new goals for ourselves, may it be financial, travel, relationship or family. But before I dive in to the new year, first I wanna look back on my 2017.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a UKRN and work as a staff nurse in a hospital in London. Being independent and living in a different continent and country is unimaginable. Working in the UK is not just about travels and dream job. It sums up hardwork. If people only know what we have to endure at work. This does not reflect what people see in the posted pictures in Facebook and Instagram. So looking back…

What went well this year?

  1. I passed the examination to be enlisted in the register of qualified nurses in the UK on July 2017. Technically, now I am a registered nurse in the UK.
  2. I was able to adapt (and still learning)  in my new role as a nurse in the respiratory ward where I am permanent staff. I can honestly say that I do not fear or drag myself whenever I go to work unlike the feeling that I usually get for my shifts in the hospital in the Philippines. Which leads me to the next…
  3. I am more confident of myself, of who I am as a person and what I can do and at work in terms of my nursing skills, etc. This is not being complacent, I know I still have a lot of things to learn but in terms of my self worth, I am now certain that I am enough. Less are the times that I doubt myself.
  4. I was able to travel more. I went home to the Philippines on my own on October, traveled  to some parts of the UK (Greenwich, Brighton, Kent, Southampton, Stonehenge, Bath) and my first Euro tour in France on December. Traveling opens up my eyes to a lot of things this world has to offer. Amidst the negativity that we see in the news, this experience amazes me to the extent. I am able to see the true beauty of this world.
  5. The opportunity to love and be loved romantically. Sounds childish but before, I thought that being in a relationship is like a fairy tale. But now I realizes that it is not an altogether happy and loving times with the one you love. This entails patience, hardwork and understanding.
  6. I was able to start investing (not on disposable things), but mainly for my future. I have started paying for the downpayment of the townhouse that I bought. (This is the decision that scares me the most but the bravest one as well. I just took the leap of faith and trusted my instict.) I have an affinity to the thought of having my own house, from buying the furnitures to decorating to moving in, home is one of my excitements in life, one of the things that I look forward to. Having a house of my own is one of my dreams. The goal I am dreaming to achieve by working in the UK. I have also invested in the stock market from a percentage in my salary. I have decided to continue paying for my SSS contribution as an OFW. The premium is a bit expensive for OFWs because there’s no employer who pays the half of the premium unlike when we were still working in the Philippines.  Little by little, I am able to save. This becomes possible by doing bank shifts or ‘OT’ (overtime) at work.

What didn’t go well?

  1. I forgot my passion. For the past year, I dedicated the majority of my time working in the hospital that I set aside my hobbies and leisure activities. These were the activities I did to keep me sane when I had a very toxic work in the Philippines. These are blogging, going to the gym, attending self help workshops, serving in the community and church and reading self help books. Somewhere a long the way, I lost myself. I am not saying that nursing is not my passion. Being a nurse is my bread and butter and I love the work that I do. I think the correct term is, I thought I have lost my purpose. There were days where I don’t get excited to get up from the bed. I have lost the enthusiasm. The ‘me’ who loves to read self help books and Cosmo magazines before to get inspired. After reading, I am left nothing but with a burning desire in my heart.
  2. Since coming in the UK, I have missed a lot of important life events, like Christmas, New Year, birthdays, weddings of my friends, reunions and get together. It made me sad not to be able to share these events with my loved ones. But given this situation, whenever I feel sad, I just remind myself the very reason why I am here. There are things that I cannot control like living away from my loved ones. To be honest, I have lost contact with some of my friends. What I can control is going home whenever it’s possible. Which is exactly what I plan to do. Whenever I have annual leave, I made sure to go home and spend it with the people I love.
  3. My bf and I broke up before Christmas, though we’re still hurting, I am taking this break to reflect, to get to know myself even more and evaluating what I learned in this relationship to help me become a better person.

And lastly, what did I learn about myself?

  1. I learned that I am capable of loving and being loved in return and that everyone deserves this magical thing. I remember the quote of the priest about love in the workshop I have attended before. “Don’t forget to love fully, freely, faithfully and fruitfully.”
  2. Following my heart and trusting my guts and instinct because most of the time they are true. I have learned to trust life and let go of all my worries.
  3. I am keen to listen from other people’s advice because I know I can learn from them. Listening is learning.
  4. I have accepted myself that I am an introvert and not the life of a party. I am more of a listener than a speaker. This is uniquely me, I am enough.

Inspiration from this blog post came after watching Bianca Gonzalez’s vlog with guest, Arriane Serafico of ‘The Purposeful Creative’.

My theme for this year is #Purposeful2018. As me, living each day with a purpose.