Why let go?

“I am so heartbroken right now. I thought love is greater than distance (Love > Distance). But distance changed everything. Distance broke us apart. Upon knowing, there was no problem in the first place. I thought love conquers all. But our love is not enough. Now the best thing to do is to just let go. We didn’t survive the long distance relationship. I thought we would. When I left the Philippines, I have high hopes that we will make it. It’s not about choosing career over love or vice versa.” -Written on April 2018

-That beginning of a blog post has remained in my draft folder for 7 months. I needed an outlet that’s why I typed those words but had completely forgotten about them.

After 8 months, I am better. Less is the pain and there’s so much hope for the future.

How did I survive the breakup? When I had to decide on this, I lifted up everything to God. I completely held onto Him. I told God probably why the situation is very difficult for us is because maybe we are not meant for each other. And even if I do love the other person so much, I let go. No matter how painful the decision was, I let go. And firmly believed that everything happens for a reason. That I may not know then why we didn’t end up together, but hoping in the future, I will understand.

And how did I manage to maintain the no-contact-phase to be able to move on?  I was hoping the break will make us better individuals. That what we need is to grow apart. With a belief that if we are really meant to be, God will bring us back together. That’s why I let go and just let God.

As of this time, I haven’t completely moved on but I’m getting there. The fact that I’m in the Philippines doesn’t help in the situation. Still, I am letting go. And letting God. I realised that if I will exercise my ways, I might stumble again. “Na baka ako na lang pala ang may gusto. Baka hindi na pala gusto ni Lord.” My way is different from God’s ways that’s why I am letting go. I haven’t been so close to God ever and I think what I’m going through is God’s way to bring me closer to Him. I told myself to live my life in accordance to biblical ways and not on wordly standards anymore.

I want to have a deeper relationship with the Lord first before entering into another relationship. Hoping that I will end up with a Godly man in the future. I am now reading the bible and I can now understand the message unlike before that I couldn’t absorb what I was reading.

Leaving you with this bible verse.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

 

What is your “REASON”?

My father is an OFW for the longest time. In the past, he was always away working abroad to provide the financial needs of our family. His absence made a significant impact on myself and why I became the person that I am today. Growing up, I yearned for my parents to get to know me on a deeper level, but since they were very busy to provide for me along with my 5 other siblings our needs, it became almost impossible.

Financially, my parents were able to provide the basic needs of us and even sent us, their 6 children to good schools until college. Yes, we do have good jobs now but emotionally, something is lacking in us. Inside, we are broken.

I have felt that brokenness even when I was young. When I was a teenager, I made a promise to myself that if I will have my own family in the future, we will stay physically together in richer and poorer, in sickness and in health. Hence, I told myself that I’m not gonna settle abroad and in the Philippines is where I want to live. What the Youtuber Arvin Orubia has told in his vlog is true, he said, “I did not choose to be in this situation, but the situation chose me.” So I shouldn’t ignore this. If I will shut off this feeling, I will just continue to lie on myself.

Growing up, I have my cousins whose parents had stayed together in the country and seeing them, their parents were able to provide their needs and good education, and not only that, as a family, they are happy.

That is my “REASON” why I want to go back to the Philippines and settle there for good –why I only want simple things in life. Being a simple person that I am now, I do not long for material things. I dream of having my own family in the future, settling in the Philippines and to be physically there for them in every milestones in life.

Thus, on 2015, I found myself applying for an employment in London, England and was offered a job in nursing for a 3-year contract. After the 3-year contract, we have a choice if we would like to renew the contract for another 3 years and by the end of 2 contracts, we can already apply for a permanent residency in the UK.

My other colleagues are aiming for a permanent residency in the UK, but not me. My contract in the hospital will end on October 2019 and I have to think long and hard if I would want to renew it or not. I already have made my decision and it’s something that I want to keep to myself. Anyway, I still have 10 months to go before my contract ends.

Working abroad at the expense of being away from my family is no way of living for me. As what the life coach Chinkee Tan has said in his vlog, “No amount of success in your profession and career can compensate to a failure in your family.” I have to invest and prepare now for my future family.

If I will go back to the Philippines, people will raise their eyebrows once they hear about this decision. They will say, “Sayang naman. Ang daming tao sa Pilipinas na gusto mapunta sa position mo na yan, tapos ikaw, nandyan ka na, iiwan mo pa.”

Luckily, the only opinion that matters are my parents’ and they are 100% accepting of my decision. I did not hear of any panghihinayang from them.

In taking a big leap in life, people always have 2 fears.

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of what other people will say

I learned about this by watching the vlog of Bianca Gonzalez. As you noticed, one of my hobbies is watching inspirational vlogs.

I love the answer of Catriona Gray (Miss Philippines Universe 2018) in Bianca Gonzalez’ question on how to deal with fear of what other people will say.

She said, “I always reason with myself that, not everyone knows the length and depth of your personal journey, no one knows what you’ve been through, your experiences, so their judgement cast upon you, it’s just a shallow perspective, they don’t know what you’re fully capable of, so why would you take their judgment to define everything that you are.”

Working in the UK has provided me with big salary, the opportunity to travel, watch West End musicals, eat in the fancy restaurants and hotels and an opportunity for career growth. I know I don’t have my own family yet and that I should enjoy moments like these especially now that I’m still single but I think I am already past that stage of my life.

I am not a wanderlust, I do not wish to travel the world. Just a few countries and when I feel that I’m already happy and contented, I stop. Remember when I traveled to Australia on 2014 with my classmates, I did really enjoy that. I know my priorities now, and traveling is not my priority anymore but saving for my future is. As with one of my favourite bible verses, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “There is a time”. -For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Family commitment is real. At this age of mine, I can trade all those luxuries for family commitment. I remember, there were days of travel wherein I did not fully enjoy the experience because it is only me who can see the beautiful tourist spots. I told myself back then, I wish my loved ones are here so they can also see the wonderful sights that I was seeing.

Careerwise, I am already happy with what I’ve accomplished and I was able to reach my financial goals by working in England. The fears of other OFWs on why they haven’t decided to settle for good in the Philippines is because they are not yet ready financially.

But how much is enough?

As for me, it’s not much but I know it is enough. I also worry about the future, what will be my work after coming home, and how will I be able to pay the bills in the future, but there’s a strong voice deep in my heart that says, I will be fine.

God will provide. Eventhough the future is uncertain and scary, with my unshakeable faith to my Father in Heaven, I know I will be okay.

No matter what failure, heartbreak and mistakes I will encounter in life, knowing that I have an eternal Father in heaven who accepts me and has an unconditional love for me, I have nothing to worry.

You my readers, what is the REASON for doing what you are doing now? Please comment below.

What makes a good life?

I would like to share this conversation with my 91 y/o patient. She told me that she had survived the 1935 Quetta earthquake. How did she survive? Here’s her story.

Her father was serving in the military. Quetta, is the largest city in Pakistan, and at that time was under the British rule. One night, when she was sleeping, her dog named Sally kept biting and pulling her blanket. It seemed like Sally wanted her to follow her. She was wondering what it was.

And then her father told her, “Just follow her”. So she followed Sally and they went outside.

After few minutes, a strong earthquake happened and the whole building where she came from was totally destroyed and had fallen.

“My life was saved by Sally and at 91, I am still alive”, she said with a smile beaming at her face. I replied, “Wow, I couldn’t believe that you experienced that. And it’s true that animals can sense if a natural calamity will happen and your dog has saved your life. How old were you then?”

“I’m only 7 years old when that happened. I served in the military and my husband was a soldier in WWII. We were married for 54 years. My husband developed post traumatic stress disorder after serving in the war and I looked after him when he was ill. He’s not with me anymore, he left 10 years ago. It was a pretty good life, I served in the military and I had a wonderful marriage.”

I was touched by her story. How did our modern world ever got this complicated? Where in fact this is the best time to live? Before, they only have a simple life and what they only need to do was to thrive following the effects of war.

I remember another conversation before with my 103 y/o patient.

Patient: “Do you know how old am I?”

Me: “Yes! You’re already 103 years old! What’s your secret?”

Patient: “Have a job you love.” (Simple advice and yet so true.)

Me: “What was your job before?”

Patient: “I was a music teacher in London. And children from London were very behaved. I enjoyed my job then.”

 

Her advice must be true. Because work takes the majority of our time. And if your work is stressful, it would be easy for a person to develop a sickness or disease. Maybe having a job you love is one of the secrets to long life. And being simple and contented could be factors for a happy life. A life that is not in pursuit of money or power.

On being contented…

October 27, 2018 marks my 2nd year of working in London. Time flies so fast. The reason why I always say this is because I’m enjoying everything that London is offering me. It’s a great experience and I will always be grateful for the opportunity that was given to me.

I can still remember three years ago, I was just staring at the facebook flyer inviting nurses to work in the United Kingdom. I was still a nurse back then in a medical surgical ward in a tertiary hospital in Manila. I remember the anxiety I felt when I took the IELTS (International English Language Testing System)  which was so expensive. The price at that time was around Php 9,000 and I used my own savings to pay for this exam.

To be honest, I am enjoying the place too much because I know in my heart that there will come a time that I would have to go back to the Philippines. When? I don’t know. All I know is that Philippines will always be my home and I will be back.

I love me. I would never want to trade myself for another person’s life. I love everything about myself, my body, my family, my work, my scars (literally and figuratively) and I would never want to change anything. God made me who am I and planted me in a place where I am meant to be.

You will never ever hear this statement from me before.

This is far from me when I was in elementary, high school, college and in my early 20s. I have a lot of insecurities when I was young and there was a lot of things about myself that I want to be changed. I disliked my eyes, my legs, my knees, my navel, being flat chested, my feet, my hands, my hair because I was comparing myself to my classmates and friends.

I used to tell myself, “I wish I have this, I have that”. I was so harsh on myself before. Now I have reached contenment. I appreaciate and love myself.

This statement is said with all sincerity, “Everyone is beautiful in our own unique way and we shouldn’t compare the physical attributes of one person with another.” She is beautiful, you are also beautiful, everyone is beautiful.

I have nothing more to ask. I am happy with my life, it isn’t perfect, but enough. I am thankful to the Lord, for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and the change He has done in myself. I do not desire for travels, material things, more money or higher position anymore.

I have been attending the weekly sunday mass in St. Joseph’s church and the priest had repeatedly said in the homily not to compare yourself to other people and to be contented with what you are and what you have. He also mentioned to dream. He said, “You can dream whatever (said with all conviction, whateeeeever) you want, but do not do it at the expense of other people”. So true.

I was able to go to UK because I worked hard from it, not because a relative has helped me or someone I know from London helped to process the papers. In fact, I have an Auntie here in the UK and the only time she found out that I was here was when my sister posted a photo of my departure from NAIA. Probably because of my introvert personality, I was shy of letting other people know my goals and plans.

If I already have my own children in the future, I will tell them that they are free to choose whatever career they want to have in the future and to be able to reach for their dreams, they have to work hard for it (And I will be there behind their back). To never use other people to reach the top, but work hard to be there. And to always be kind and compassionate to other people – the greatest lesson from being a nurse. And never become materialistic and instead, invest on themselves and find joy in pursuing their passion by uplifting and inspiring other people. To not work for money but work because that’s what they love to do.

I don’t desire Louis Vuitton, Prada or Chanel bags. I don’t fancy diamonds or expensive travel vacations.

I love the simplicity of my dreams.

My dreams when I was young (innocent dreams) are still the same with my dreams now. It has never changed.

I have a non traditional mindset and most of the times, I find it discouraging when I tell my simple dreams to other people and all they say was, “Sayang naman” (what a waste). I am afraid of being judged and to spare myself from the negative comments I may receive, I just keep things to myself or pour them in this blog. I can really say that every person is unique. I have dreams that the people around me might not understand.

Now I know why I became a nurse. It is indeed a noble job. You will handle so many shitty things, you will have to answer so many complaints and even if your whole body and mind are dead tired, you find fulfillment in every smiles and thank you’s you will receive.

You will find joy in cleaning the wound of a patient who had a motorcycle accident and in giving analgesia and alleviating the pain of another patient. – My experience in my shift yesterday in A&E (Accient and Emergency) department of the hospital. It was my first time doing a bank shift (OT or overtime) in A&E and I did really enjoy working there. I will definitely book another shift in that area.

To sum this up, each of us has our own struggles and challenges in life. It doesn’t mean that others don’t have problems but because some people are just good at handling them.

That being said, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others.

Let’s be contented in where we are in our life right now and let’s enjoy the ride!

Changes…

Yesterday, I’ve finally decide to move out of the accommodation after 2 years of living here. Before, I have been firm with my decision of staying in this place and feeling contented with what I have. But things changed, my feeling had changed and I realised my life needs a change.

I will be moving out with my very close friend, Fe. We were on the same cohort (batch) deployed in London on October 2016. She’s really my best friend here and with the idea of moving in to a house, it would be her whom I would want to be with.

Before, the thought of moving in to a new house cringes me. Now I am excited! Eventhough it will still be on May 2019, in London, time goes by very fast because of the busyness of work and a lot activities that you can do.

In the last two years, I had shut down myself from the world. I travelled less, I did not go out more often with my friends as I was licking my broken heart on my own. Because that’s how I wanted it to be, I was taking it all in. I called my parents less often because I know that if they will ask how I’m feeling, emotionally, I wasn’t okay. But I have to say that I am alright for them not to worry about me.

Which is a hug mistake on my part. Everytime I call my parents in the Philippines and speak to my mother ’cause she’s the more talkative one, I always feel happy after the phone call.

Oh, this first heartbreak!

But no, I’m not moving out of the accommodation because I’m still heartbroken. I am moving out because I am now full to give my time, care, concern and love to my friends. ‘Cause the truth is, they are my family here.

Sometimes, you find happiness in your everyday when you give a part of yourself to people, may it be your time or effort to be there when they need you the most.

If you also noticed, I have not shared a lot about my feelings during the first days, weeks and months after the breakup. I shoved my thoughts away. I wasn’t ready to share at that time. And it’s not a healthy thing to do. That’s why after 7 months, it is only now that I am expressing how I really feel.

And this signals for a new beginning.

I am excited for a lot of things that I am planning to do in the next couple of months.

Thank you, Lord, for being my rock.

Creating A Vision Board

I have always read in the past that creating a dream board or vision board is essential if a person wants to reach her goals in life. And since I don’t have my own room in the Philippines, it is only here in London that I’ve decided to finally create my own vision board. At first, I labelled it as Dream Board, however, I kind of thought of changing it to Vision Board because if it’s a Dream Board, I don’t want goals to stay as “dreams”. I want to be able to attain those goals hence, I decided to change it to a Vision Board. The pictures here are what I visualise myself to have in the future. As what they say, print pictures or quotations in a place where you can see them when you wake up in the morning. It will serve as a reminder for yourself why you’re doing what you are doing now, the purpose of the sacrifices of being away from loved ones, the reason why you wake up early in the morning, and a motivation to go to work even if you feel like not going to.

 

Little by little, I have been incorporating “Minimalism” in my daily life. According to the website www.becomingminimalist.com,

“At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.”

It depends on every person how many goals she wants to place in the Vision Board. As I practiced minimalism, I only placed 6 pictures in my board. These pictures for me are the most important. I don’t want to place a lot of pictures because I don’t want to crowd my board which will only create noises in my vision and my mind. I want my board to be straightforward with only my top goals in it.

 

Here are the pictures I placed in my Vision Board.

1. Wedding picture

-This is an Instagram picture from the married couple Marika and Luigi Celdran. I am following this cute couple in Instagram and I love how simple their wedding was. I specifically loved the wedding dress of Marika because it is not the usual balloon type, it looks comfortable and light to wear which is exactly what I want in my wedding dress in the future. I only want a simple wedding in the future. I envision a relax, simple but elegant, with only the closest people attending the wedding.

 

2. Outside structure of a home

3. Minimalist living room area

3. Third floor garden 

-I got these 3 pictures from Bianca King’s Minimalism-inspired, Scandinavian home. Oh, I love Bianca King. I love her way of living a minimalist lifestyle, being mindful and her advocacy of caring for nature and the environment. I followed her on Instagram and subscribed on her YouTube Channel and blog. It is my dream of having a home when I have my own family in the future. Just like her, I also love decorating my space. Since I am an introvert, I value my personal space and coming home from a tiring work, my room serves as my sanctuary. When I was thinking of buying the townhouse, I originally want the end unit with the garden, but it was so expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it that’s why I let it go and purchased the inner unit (without the garden) hoping that in the future, I will just place plants in the entrance. But when I watched the house tour of Bianca King, she also has the inner unit of a townhouse, what she did, she transformed her 3rd floor to a mini garden, barbeque area, placed a sophisticated roof and outdoor furniture. It was beautiful! I’ve never thought of it. So, if there will be an excess fund in the future, I can also transform the third floor into a garden. What a great idea from Bianca King.

4. A family having a picnic in a public garden

-I took this picture of a happy family in Fulham secret garden. They’re so lovely! I think quality time like this with the family is more important than travelling or any material things. I want to do this when I have my own family in the future, doing activities to spend quality time together.

5. Good relationship with my own family

-This picture was taken when I went home to the Philippines on February of this year. This by far is our most complete attendance (except that my youngest brother can’t make it here) and our most enjoyed trip ever because of the activities we did in this place. We went to Minalungao National Park in Nueva Ecija, just 45 minutes travel from our home. Me, my siblings and nieces did several activities like Caving, climbing the 2000 steps mountain, doing the zipline and with our parents, we ate in the raft while sailing in the clear and clean water of the river. My mom and dad, my Ate Cathy, Kuya RJ, Kuya Reagan, Denmark, Weng and my nieces Jewel and Precious were here.

To more bonding time like this.

 

I created this vision board when I was nursing my broken heart at the first quarter of this year. At that time, I forgot about my goals and the very reason why I’m here in London. I remember waking up in the morning, I felt so sad and had no motivation to do things. I know I had to do something then. I made this Vision Board to remind myself not to feel sad about the breakup and that everything happens for a reason. True with the saying, “When God closes the door, he opens a window.” The best is yet to come. And great things are coming. I have the work that I love here in London, I was granted an employer-sponsored study in London South Bank University, I have the opportunity to travel once in a while and I learned life-changing lessons from that first heartbreak that I will never know and understand had I not experience it. It was painful but necessary.

 

So, that’s it. I didn’t expect that this post will end up a little emotional but that’s fine. I had moved forward and in a good place now.

 

Thank you for reading this post.

I hope you are inspired to create your own Vision Board. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Takeaway From Last Sunday’s Homily

Hello… Monday again, this is the start of another week. I want to share the message I received yesterday from attending the mass in St. Joseph’s Church, New Malden. I am supposed to attend a service in Hillsong Church with friends in central London yesterday but since I don’t feel fine and I was so tired from 3 consecutive long day shifts from Thursday to Saturday, I just decided to attend the mass in a nearby church and stay at home after and rest.

I noticed that I am drawn to St. Joseph’s Church wherever I am. When I was in Manila, I used to attend the mass in St. Joseph The Worker Parish in Balintawak, Quezon City. Here in London, I chose to attend St. Joseph’s Church in New Malden and when I travelled to Sicily, Italy, one of the old churches I found fascinating is San Giuseppe dei Teatini church in Palermo. I think it’s also St. Joseph Church (when translated to English), or I may be wrong. I asked the priest inside the church if it’s a St. Joseph Church and he said, yes.

I remember years before, my friend said that when you are praying for The One, you should pray for that person in St. Joseph’s Church. It is because Joseph is the husband of Mary, and he is the ideal foster father for Jesus. I am always praying for my The One, anywhere. But I think it is a coincidence that I get connected to the messages the priests are delivering through the homily in these churches.

St. Joseph The Worker Parish in Balintawak, Quezon City

St. Joseph’s Church in New Malden, London

San Giuseppe dei Teatini in Palermo, Italy

Yesterday, the priest in New Malden mentioned in his homily about the purpose of the creation of laws, ten commandments, and the policies governing our lives. He said that laws are created to protect ourselves and other people. For example, we all know that drunk driving is prohibited. This law is created to protect you and other people from the accident. “When you drink, do not drive, when you drive, do not drink”, he added. Another example is about one of the Ten Commandments which is, “Do not kill.” The priest said, you have your life, and I have my life, why are you gonna take away my life? The next one is about lying. When you lie, you break the trust of the other person that you will be honest at all times. He said these laws are created not to inhibit us from doing the things that we want to do but to protect ourselves and other people. Sometimes, we wonder why are they creating such laws or policies? But we also have to think why these laws are created in the first place.

It is for us….

It is to protect us and other people. Now I understand its purpose and it made me realised that with the small laws that is being implemented whether it be at my work, in my flat, in the road, etc., adhering to these are for our own sake.

Something we all need to ponder.

 

P.S. This post was written a week ago. All images are from google.com.

 

“Keep your heart clear and transparent and you will never be bound.” – Ryokan

 

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

I Booked A Flight Ticket To Italy

Just a quick blog post… I just wanna share something.

Earlier, I booked a flight to Sicily, Italy on the last of week of August. My relatives in Italy have been inviting me to visit them since I’m already living and working here in Europe.

Booking a flight in Italy has been so liberating for a lot of reasons. I have a constant battle with myself on whether to go there or not. I haven’t really travelled much since I arrived here in London. The only country that I’ve ever been to since I arrived in 2016 was in Paris, France which I travelled last year on my birthday. There’s a lot of things that’s holding me back. I was scared of the expenses, travelling alone, seeing my relatives on my father side for the first time, meeting them, there’s just a lot of fears. It is summer season in Europe, and with that, the price of flights tickets are expected to be high. Another thing that’s holding me back was the expensive flight tickets. But then, I won’t be able to go anywhere if I will keep thinking about the expenses and burning my savings. That’s why I still booked the flight even if the price is higher that usual. I just let go. Sometimes, the only thing that is necessary to do is to let go of all the worries. And after booking the flight, I felt so liberated. It is fearful to travel alone but at the same time, I felt so free knowing that I have a lot of things to learn with this experience. I felt like I’ve let go of the baggage that I’ve been carrying. It is true, fears and worries are crippling. I won’t be able to go anywhere if I have a lot of fears.

Yesterday, I’ve been wanting to relax and thinking of having a massage or a hair treatment. I always have a hair cut, hair treatment, manicure or pedicure in the Philippines when I’m feeling stressed. So yesterday, I went to Kingston Town Centre to have a hair treatment. I first went to Rush salon but their staff isn’t so accommodating and there’s no available time for me to have the treatment yesterday. Afterwards, I went to Toni & Guy Salon, but when the receptionist asked what I want to do with my hair, he just gave the price of the services and I feel that that’s not the salon that I was looking for. I was already feeling hopeless at that time, then I kept on walking in the market, when I saw another salon, I went inside and inquired and asked the price of Glossing. Then a man assisted me, answered all my questions, tried to explain what my hair needs, asked me to sit on the chair in front of the mirror and looked for the advice of the stylist on what she thinks my hair needs. And because of the kindness and rapport of the receptionist (Victor), even though the price is a bit expensive, I said yes, I wanna have the treatment now. Regarding the price, what can I do, I live in London, the prices of services here are expected to be really high.  Actually, the main reason why I want to have the hair treatment is because I want a scalp massage. I just want to be relaxed. Part of the services of Headquarters Hair Salon is scalp massage and neck massage. It was so relaxing. The staff are very kind and professional. The money spent is worth it.

These are the moments I learned a lot about surrendering, letting go, being present and enjoying the moment and not being too serious about the future.

*** The map of Italy was from google.com images.

My Quarter-Life Crisis Experience

Warning! This is an extremely long post.

According to Merideth Goldstein of The Boston Globe, the quarter-life crisis occurs in one’s twenties, after entering the “real world”. Oftentimes, feelings of being “lost, scared, lonely or confused” about what steps to take to transition properly into adulthood are felt by the individual going through this crisis. (Wikipedia)

When I was working in the Business Process Outsourcing in the Philippines back on 2014, I was enjoying my job then but at one point, I started to think if it’s really the job where I want to settle and retire. I was 24 years old. I was always on night shift and I thought that I do not have a life anymore. I go to work at night time and during my rest days, I only stayed at home to catch up with the lack of sleep. What if I get married, have children, I don’t want to work on night shifts when I already have a family, I want a normal day job (all I ever really wanted is to have a family of my own, be a housewife, take care of my future husband and children) and I won’t be able to do that if I’m working on night shifts. I just want a simple life when I have my own family. 

I tried to look for an office 9-5 job. I wanted a challenge, learn something new and somehow be promoted in the business industry. That’s when I decided to enter graduate school. I looked for several universities like De La Salle University-Taft (I even visited the campus to view it but I felt that it was not for me, it was so grand and posh). Instead, I chose University of Sto. Tomas (UST) – The Graduate School – because ever since college, I’ve always wanted to be a Thomasian. Being a probinsyana, my idealism of a college life has always been like in UST. But life has it’s own way of making things happen and I ended up studying in Chinese General Hospital College of Nursing (which I don’t regret, I wouldn’t be in London right now if I studied elsewhere). In studying nursing in Chinese Gen, I learned the value of studying hard to pass my exams, studying ever more after I have studied and studying the most after I had studied more and failed in the exam. I had spent sleepless night to review for my midterms, quizzes, moving exams, case presentation, etc. When everyone at home was already sleeping, I was still up and reading my ultra thick nursing books asking myself why am I doing this, I’m supposed to be enjoying my college life, this is not the college life that I was dreaming of when I was in high school in Nueva Ecija. And I have no choice but to go with the flow. Not knowing what the future is in store for me. Fast forward, 10 years after that, I didn’t know that all those hardwork will pay off. My siblings had seen my struggle to study, my parents did. I owe them a lot now that I am in London.

So going back in UST to study MBA (Masters in Business Administration), I was looking for inspiration and motivation to push me to finally enrol but I couldn’t find any, I was scared of the unknown. It took a while. I love reading magazines. It’s one of my sources of inspiration when I was a bit young. My older brother was a former layout artist of Enrich magazine and he brought home several copies of that magazine (thanks for that Kuya). The deciding factor that finally pushed me to enrol in The Graduate School was reading an article written by Amanda Balneg from Enrich magazine stating about how reading Paulo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist” had taught her to reach for her inner dreams. She stayed in her office job and every night after work, she goes to Instituto de Cervantes and studied Spanish language, applied for a scholarship in University of Salamanca in Spain and was granted the scholarship. That article inspired me and when I was randomly chatting with my teammate in Convergys, JJ, said that she had also read The Alchemist and she lent me the book. I was excited! Reading every pages of the book, I felt the lessons hit me hard and I read the book at the exact time I was looking for validation and a push to finally take a step towards achieving a change in my life. The Alchemist is about the story of a boy who left the town he grew up in to search for a treasure. And in searching for that treasure, he met a lot of people who had taught him the way of life, learned lessons and found true love along the way, reached for his destination not knowing that the treasure he was looking for was buried in his hometown.

After reading that book, I was so inspired and motivated and I finally decided to enroll in UST. I took the exam and paid my tuition fee from the money I saved every pay day at work. I had to choose 3 subjects, which I do not have an idea which from which. My gut feel says St. Thomas in Critical Thinking, Management of an Enterprise, and International Trade and Business. It was a very fun semester in UST The Graduate School. The only time in my life that I look forward to attending school. I had enjoyed every discussion and wrote on my notebook all the lessons in life that my professor was sharing which were making sense. And then in one of the subjects I had, I didn’t know that in International Trade and Business, my professor told us on the first day of class that we are going to Australia for the International trip. My parents paid for the 35% of the trip and I shouldered the rest from my savings. Though they did not require me to repay them, I returned the amount they gave for that trip when I was already here in the UK. Then the trip pushed through on the first week of March 2014. Because of that trip, Australia remained very close to my heart. I don’t know why but that country and continent became very special to me. Maybe because that’s my first trip outside the Philippines. Maybe because I was on a quarter-life crisis at that time and that trip gave me clarity on what I want to do in my life. Maybe because I thought that I may not be able to afford to go back in that beautiful country again in the future so might as well savor the moment. I was on a “turista” (tourist) mode at that time. I was in awe of that country.

It was an exposure trip. Travelling exposes a person to the beauty of the world. Travelling can be a gateway for a person to reach his goals. Australia was my first trip outside the Philippines. It was my first international trip. We went to Melbourne and Sydney. But what sets apart or changes everything was when I was in a river cruise in Circular Quay. It was a sunny day, I went up to the top part of the cruise to see the view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The view was magnificent! “Is it real? Am I really in Australia?”, I told myself. I only see this view in a post card, or in a travel book, or in the television. This has always been one of my dreams. I thought at that time, “Why did I give up on one of my dreams which is to experience living and working abroad, to be independent, to experience living on my own, to save for the future and in God’s time, marry a good man and have my own family.”

I couldn’t believe on the effect of that trip to myself. After I returned to the Philippines from that trip, I contemplated with the lessons and realizations I had when I was in Australia. I finally decided to go back to nursing. So I went to my Alma Mater, go to the Nursing Service Department, asked if there are nursing vacancies. Timing, at that time, there was a shortage of nurses in the hospital and there will be an orientation for the new batch of nurses to start the following week and they asked me if I would like to start on that date. I said, yeah, sure! I would love to. So I resigned in the BPO company and even if I do not want to, I did not continue my MBA and went back to concentrate to nursing. I was thinking, I can always go back and study MBA again in the future.

This was one of the events of my quarter-life crisis that led me to where I am now. There were still other things that happened in the early times like thinking of studying another degree, looking for universities (I even went to Bulacan State University (BSU) one time to inquire about getting a 2nd degree), applying for several jobs, opening my own business, etc., so many thoughts. It was mentally tiring. Because you will keep on thinking and figuring out what to do with your life. My quarter-life crisis lasted for almost 2 years. I know I’m over it when I figured out what to do in my life in terms of career, what path to take which is the road where I am right now. Now, I’m a little bit more relaxed about where life will take me.

Looking back, now I know why things happened. Why I had to stay up late studying my nursing books during college even if I don’t want to. It’s because that moment was the start of my preparation for this job in the UK. I couldn’t see myself doing any other jobs at this point in my life. Maybe, this is where I’m meant to be.

Until now, there are times when a thought of switching job or location has entered my mind multiple times, but I don’t want to think anymore. I just want to be in the present moment and be grateful of what I have. I wouldn’t be here if this is not for me. We are meant to be where we are right now.

To anyone who might stumble in this post thinking you are experiencing a quarter-life crisis, I know you feel lost in life not knowing where to go, I’ve been there. You will eventually figure it out. Don’t plan everything, let life unfolds on its own. You only need to do the first step towards your dreams or goals, and then God, the universe will take care of the rest. 

 

Guys, what is your experience of a quarter-life crisis? Please share it in the comment section below. 

 

***All pictures from the post were taken from google images.

What It’s Like To Work In NHS

Today marks the 70 years since the NHS (National Health Service) was established. The aim of the NHS is to provide free health care at the point of use for the people in the United Kingdom. I only joined NHS on October 2016 and it is only now that I had realized the importance and how great this service is for its people and for the employees. They said that NHS is the best health care system in the world. I have also learned that the average life expectancy in the United Kingdom is 81.5 years. I can personally attest to that. Since I am working in a medical ward in the hospital, the majority of our patients are aged 70 to 90 years old. UK has a high life expectancy. And they said it is because of the health care system of the country. Living in the United Kingdom for 1 year and 8 months now, I have seen a lot of good things about this country. In general, they eat healthy food, the air is clean and there’s no pollution. There’s a lot of choices for vegan food, gluten-free diet, etc. in the grocery and restaurants. There are options to add salad in the meals, and their dessert consists mainly of fresh fruits like satsuma (orange), pears, banana and yoghurt.

 

Things I like about NHS:

 

Equality

One of the values that they are promoting is equality in gender and in race. There is absolutely no judgment. No matter what your background is, where you’ve come from, you will be treated the same as with everyone else. United Kingdom is one of the most multi-cultured countries in the world. While watching the 2017 New Year celebration Fireworks display in London, the beginning was a statement “Welcome to London!” said in different languages. United Kingdom acknowledges the contribution of other nationalities in the services of its people.

Justice

This is an ethical principle that was discussed to us in college. Justice is healthcare for everyone. Justice is equal and fair distribution of resources. And I must say, the resources are distributed to its people and the cost are shared by everyone through the tax that we are paying.

Free health care system

One thing that amazes me in working in NHS is the free health care system provided to its people. From the time a patient is seen by ambulance at home and brought to the hospital in the A&E (Accident and Emergency) department, transferred to AAU (Acute Assessment Unit) and zoned to a specific ward, jug of water is provided, tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes are served during teatime, menus are given for lunch and supper and choices are offered for breakfast, all the medication tablets, intravenous (IV) medications, inhalers, wound dressings, doctor’s rounds, nursing care, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, etc., if needed, throughout the whole hospitalisation are completely free. Upon discharge, depending on the condition, ambulance transport is being booked to send the patient home, TTO (To Take Out medications or the medications that the patient will need to take at home) are also being supplied for 2 weeks.

There’s also free diagnostic procedures like MRI, CT scan, PET Scan, Xray, etc., procedures like liver biopsy, chest drain insertion and for cancer patients, the chemotherapy is free and if surgery is indicated, it is also free. There’s the social services that provides the equipment at home if necessary like the sarasteady, commode or hoist for bedbound patients that will be discharge in their own home. It’s a holistic approach because if the patient will be discharged in the community that needs help, he can be referred to district nurse or alcohol support group, etc. I am wondering how rich this country is, to be able to provide a free health care to its people and the legal residents of the UK. It’s true, it’s an envy of the world. There are pros and cons of having a free health care, but this is the same as the pros and cons of all the things in life. We cannot disregard the fact of the benefit it is giving to the patients and for us workers.

 

Working in the NHS has given me a great experience and opened my eyes in the realities of life. That life is so much different for the people living in the first world country compared to people in the third world countries. This opened my eyes to the reality, from someone who grew up in a third world country, we can continue to hope that we can head to the direction of growth. That there is hope for my own country to improve. From this experience, I can cultivate the wonderful things that they are doing and maybe, when the time is right, I can go back to my home country and bring the wonderful ideas I learned from the West.

As an employee of NHS, it has given me good compensation, work-life balance, good trainings and opportunity to study that is sponsored by the employer, a lot of learnings encountered everyday at work that I can share to our colleagues, co-workers and student nurses.

 

There is so much realisations about life in itself that I am pondering even until now.

 

P.S. All pictures are taken from google.com images.