Every Overseas (Filipino) Worker has a sad story to tell. I am sure of it. There goes the cold and blood-freezing winters, endless empty deserts, haunted-house-looking or sardines-kind-of-cramped accommodations, and the lonely birthdays/Christmases/holidays. Each may have different versions and impact, but I think what remains constant is the fact that the moment we stepped into that plane was a start of a totally different life. And when I say different I meant that in all aspects of that cliché I could ever think of.
I do not even consider myself yet as a full pledged OFW as apparently I am not yet officially employed (hopefully getting there), but I have already had a fair share of sad stories. The efforts to survive on a daily basis with the fangs of this monster I'd like to call homesickness slowly biting into my skin are in itself a struggle. While it is true that I am homesick every single day, I was already prepared for this dilemma when I decided to leave and work in a different country. The harsher reality was not that actually, but the slow discovery of the truth that life goes on back home, and to feel a little out of place is inevitable.
I thank God that I do have a supportive family, partner and set of friends who update me from time to time through the wonders of modern technology. However, I guess all overseas workers would agree with me when I say that no matter fast your internet connection may be, or how highly defined your video calls can get, it still cannot erase the fact that you are actually not there, experiencing that particular moment, real time. There will always be that 'gap' between you and those important life events spent without you. The Christmas dinners and New Year celebrations which cannot be put on rewind which you only get to experience via skype (on a totally different time zone most of the time), or witnessing the birthday candles blown on parties you will never ever get to attend again, or having Friday night dates that cannot commence every single week simply because you and your partner are apart, or even joining the random dinners with friends on a newly discovered restaurant. All of these experiences will all just be has-beens, past tense, finished, done. And you, who were away, will never ever be a part of it. Truth is, most of these important milestones will happen and, though you are missed, will not actually require your actual presence for it to take place. The lives of the people you left will move on, and even if you are aware of it happening, no amount of gatherings every time you go home will ever be enough to replace the feeling of being physically there on a particular moment. They have a life back home and will continue to live it, and of course you also have your own, only that it is revolving on a totally different pace and realities.
In my case, while the Philippines will always be my home, I have started to also accept (though sadly) the fact that it is no longer where my life is. And this, my friends, is my very own version of the OFW sad story.