December 08, 2016

Today marks my third year here in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and I can still remember it clearly the day I left home to try my luck in working abroad.

It was an impulsive decision.

After being terminated from my first job after graduation (I worked as a trading consultant for an international forex trading company for 6 months), I got so depressed to the point that I always blame myself for lack of experience and not reaching the KPIs for the job. All I wanted after graduation is to pay back my parents in raising me and my brother for  his help and assisting us on our finances by  landing in a good company and to have a well-paid job so I can give them a good life and provide all their needs but then I failed. It was a real heartbreak.  I know I gave my best to make it but I was not enough, my best was not enough for them to make me stay. I lost all the confidence I have, I lost the determination to work again and I always compare myself to my classmates and other schoolmates who were able to excel on their first job, I was really ashamed of myself and was also afraid of judgement from other people. I couldn’t find any courage to stand up again and to look for other job opportunities on my own country. And my last resort? It was to run away. I wanted to start anew, far away from my first heartbreak.

When my brother learned I got terminated from my job, he immediately asked me to arrange my documents as he wanted me to move to Dubai and stay with him and with my close cousin and to find  a good job abroad. I got very excited.  It is a great opportunity for me. There is a big chance of landing in a well paying company and I can make my dreams for my family come true again. Honestly, I did not want to work abroad but because of my current situation on that time I wanted to give it a try. I thought of it as an opportunity to regain myself. Even though I had hesitations and did not want to leave my parents, siblings and friends behind, I said yes and in less than a month, my documents had been finalized and finally my brother sent me the tickets for my flight.

And the day finally came, December 08, 2013.  It was a cold day and I was trembling inside (not sure if that was because of the weather or that was fear, fear of leaving and fear of what kind of life is ahead of me ). I was accompanied by my parents, my grandmother, my uncle and  my youngest brother to the airport. On our way, I managed to make it feel like a usual day. I’m just on my normal self and was not crying at all. For the past days until the day of my flight, I convinced myself that I shouldn’t show any hesitations on leaving, that I should be happy because not everyone was given an opportunity to work on a foreign land. I’m really sad inside and still unsure if I really wanted to leave.

When we reached at the airport and finally said our goodbyes, the air was totally filled with loneliness. It was indeed a dark hour for me. They were crying and I wanted to cry too but I did not shed any tears while I’m with them. I did not even look back to them as I walked towards the check in counter though I wanted to. I’m scared that if I did, I would tell them that I wanted to go back, that I really did not want to leave them and that my decision working abroad was a mistake on my part because it was just an excuse so I can walk away from my distress and failure. I continued walking and looked back only when they were already gone.

As I waited on the boarding gate, flashback starts. I remembered how happy our family were when we are always together; how I used to chat with my friends and laugh together at random stories. I remembered the chilly weather in our hometown, the sound of every car passing by, how birds sing every morning, the clicking and popping sound of beetles and cicadas even in the evening. I remembered how I used to look up at the sky, the beautiful sunrise and romantic sunset. At that point, I realized that I’m not only leaving the country but I’m leaving my life, the life that I used to have; everything will change from now on.

I can’t explain the mixed emotions I felt as I walked towards the airplane. Every step suddenly became so heavy and my legs and feet became numb as they stepped on the floor. Everything went in slow motion as I entered the airplane. I can hear some passengers crying and calling their loved ones; the aircraft seemed too small and dark. My seat was beside the window and immediately after I sat down, my heart and mind started to burst. My tears just started to flow and I could not make it stop. I wanted to stand up and return. I thought of becoming like a protagonist in every movie or TV series who in the last minute of boarding decided to return and not to leave. But then, I’m not on a movie or TV series that could easily change the plans. Regrets. What if I did not say yes to my brother? What if I tried applying for jobs in other companies in the city? What if I did not became ashamed of my self when I got terminated? What if I just stand up now and tell everyone I cannot make it. What if I could turn back time and rewrite my story?   Well, I cant. I’m in a real life situation who could not easily go back, with so many considerations before turning back (the finances involved, how my family specially my brother would react if I will not proceed, and again the judgment from other people that I may look coward to them and it is just shameful if I will waste the opportunity I have on my hand). I wished I can change the script of that moment but there are things and situations wherein you will be left with no option, there is no more turning back; I have to stay on the plane and so I did.

Yes. I made one of the biggest decision in my life, not the decision of leaving the country to work abroad but the decision of staying on the plane and having the courage to pursue and be responsible enough in every decision that I made. I corrected my impulsive decision by being accountable and being brave to face the consequences of every decisions I made, whether the consequences are good or bad. It was a great challenge for me but I did not falter. I may be wrong on the part that I always consider what other people may say about me but to be honest I do not care about them. I care for myself and of course for my family. Today I could not say that I made the right decision three years ago but on that very day, I succeeded in regaining myself and in believing in myself again. I won in bringing back the courage within me.

There were many challenges that happened to me in the last three years and still facing right now but no matter how hard it is, I always choose to be brave and confident about my self. With the help of my family, my friends and above all, our Almighty God I always have high hopes and faith.

I learned and still learning. No regrets after all.

-S.J.R.

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