I’ve been very busy these past few months that I couldn’t even update my blog and my social media accounts. I may have still been able to update my IG and FB stories but I felt like I was away for quite some time from the social media world (at least when I was writing this blog) to focus on some important things. #adulting? LOL yes you can say that. I think we all have this phase in our lives where we choose to shutdown some parts of our system to give full attention to others. Speaking of IG stories, a lot have noticed the “sudden change” in my recent posts and I’m thankful to those who have shown concern by asking where we are now, what we do and how we have been lately. And of course, we’re so sorry to our close friends who we have never had the chance to meet before leaving. A lot of things happened so quickly recently and we chose to be private (at first) about this big change in our lives.
Why do I sound like we are some famous people who need to explain and update others of the latest happenings in our lives? LOL.
It’s not like that, of course. I just thought I need to do this so I can continuously blog about the things I want to share without having people to wonder where we are, what we do now and what I talk about. I have a very few readers, I know, but I love them and I want them to be aware. Somehow, this story might also help others to pursue their dreams or to be more inspired to do the things they like and to hold on to the things they desire because who knows you might get it sooner than you expected.
A Little Background
Only few of my closest friends know that I’ve been working since I was 17 years old. I started as a part time Online English Tutor when I started college and then became a Customer Support Specialist (call center agent) for some really memorable years then went back to being an English tutor again. All these while I was still studying. Though I had to stop for 2 years (as far as I can remember) to really focus on saving money so I can continue school. Things had become difficult that I had to help my parents to support my studies and also my siblings’. In 2015, I graduated from college (woohoo!). It’s 4 years later than my original batch mates. But who cares, right? I always believe that each of us has our own battles to fight and most of the time it’s our own self who we have to face this battle with. I learned not to compare myself to others so I can focus on achieving what really matters to me, not the competition, not even the time it takes to finish but only the fruit of this hard work – which was, at that time, was to make my parents proud. It was never for myself. It’s for them. But then I realized that my duty to make my parents proud should not stop when I finish school. It’s forever while I am breathing so I guessed, the fruit was really for myself so I can start giving more not only to my parents but also to other people who have been there for me and for us since then. Besides, this life is not only ours to own, it’s better shared.
The First Stop
Even though I don’t really care about the time it took me to graduate from college, I still worried I couldn’t fully show my potentials when I started working. At first, I was worried that because I stopped school, it’d be hard for me to look for a good job or maybe I could make it to interviews but my competitors would have so much experiences already or maybe they are also new grads but younger than me. At first, I felt really insecure about my age. I was thinking that my future colleagues who are in the same age as me would be my superior already. I feared to meet one of my original batch mates at work and he’d ask me why I graduated just now or started working late. I had always had this thinking but I didn’t look at it in a negative way. I didn’t allow it to put me down. For sure it’s not good to feel insecure but if it drives you to do better without hurting others, you’re only helping yourself. And soon this insecurity just went away together with my other worries when I started my first real job as a Software Test Automation Engineer. I needed to fully focus on my job and these worries would only block my way there so I realized that it’s better to completely set my goals straight and work hard for it.
The first few months at work had been challenging. I guess it’s the same for everyone who had their first job. There was a time I didn’t know what to do. It felt like I forgot all the things I learned from school. WTF is if-else statement, for loop, these data structures and algorithm. I was lost. I once asked myself if it was worth it to study for a long time and ended up not knowing what you did there when you sat down one of the chairs in the classroom and listened very carefully to your professor. But you know, I always believe that things, in general can really be challenging at first but soon enough you’ll get there. You may not be the best in everything but you can always be the best version of yourself once you overcome a really difficult obstacle. These challenges went on and on and it just made me stronger, inspired and determined. My colleagues back then had been really helpful in a lot of ways. It just gave me a lot reason to keep up and get better. And it was not only work, there’s a lot of play, too. I didn’t allow this dream of mine to take over my whole being. I always think that people need some sort of a breather, a leeway or a peek into the other side of this busy and hectic world. My first job was full of new learnings and really memorable days and nights. I’d take this very same path if I were to live another life just to meet these people again and to relive the experiences (and to meet Nico again – but this is another story LOL).
Second job, same position, was more of a more matured, more independent kind of experience. The people I met here are ones of the best I’ve met in my life. It was a turning point where I needed to be on my own as I was given a job I needed to do alone (at first) while their eyes were on me (at least from what I felt). It was a more serious job and really shaped me to where I am right now. Despite of the expectation they had of me, the people here were the warmest and friendliest. This just made it very difficult for me to leave. I would take them with me if I could. This is how they made me feel and they’re worth to keep forever. It’s just one year but the bond we had (or maybe they’ve had even before I came) was something I would like to keep over and over again with them and with my other friends. I always thought I had the best job and the best colleagues, enough to make me stay. It’s still true but you know this life is not only about having the best job or the best pay you can get. This is an adventure and when you’re in an adventure, you’ll always look forward to experience more and sometimes you have to risk whatever you have right now even though if it’s already the best you got so far. You won’t stop just because you have the best. You keep doing what you want even if it means you’ll be in a low point again because no matter how low it is, you can always stand up, rise up even higher than what you got before. Life is like this. They say, you have to learn to ride the waves.
Toughest Decision Ever
How did I know that it’s not for me?
Opportunity knocks only once, they say. Yes, right. But the question is, how many opportunities can knock your door. Let’s say, an opportunity has one chance to offer but have you thought how many opportunities can get in your way in this adventure? When I felt like I was ready for a bigger adventure, I started to look for a job abroad online. I was ready not because I wanted to leave this job or I was not happy at that time. I did it because I was so happy that I felt I can do a lot with this little experience. It was risky and very challenging. I got some rejections in the process but that didn’t stop me from trying until I got an offer. My first job offer abroad. The first opportunity that knocked. It’s somewhere in Asia but outside the Philippines. I was so surprised because I didn’t expect I’d be offered this really good job with very encouraging benefits. They value your personal time that they allow you to work anywhere. They’ll give you your own tools like laptop that you can use for work. You’ll get a lot of days off. Like it’s unlimited. The position required me to work on my own, using my own knowledge, on my own terms and would likely have to manage few people in the future. Sounds perfect. It was, indeed. But it’s not for me.
Because I felt it. I imagined myself doing what was expected of me after the final interview and I couldn’t continue. I was so glad and happy they trusted me but I don’t think I am the best person for the position. And so I declined. Yes, opportunity knocks only once but it doesn’t mean you’ll grab it every time it knocks your door. You can take a peek but think a hundred times before you let it enter completely. If you tend to give up some time after accepting it, it’s not only you who will suffer but also the company and the people who trusted you. You won’t like how it’ll make you feel so think long and wise.
After declining the offer, there were still nights where I thought if it was the right thing. You know, you’ve been waiting for it for a long time. It was your parents dream for you and it still is, at that time, but then you turned your back from it. I took a deep breath whenever I felt this way and tried to stand firm despite of my parents showing regrets why I didn’t take it. I became more eager to hold on to this dream because I didn’t want to disappoint them. Days had passed and I kept looking online. I even checked out some FB pages and groups related to job searching and postings. It was not a full time job hunting but I really spent a good amount of my time for it. Then came the day when I found this posting online with the same job description I had at that time and it’s located in Finland. I’ve dreamt of raising my children in a country where I can spend more time with them. It was really what encouraged me to apply since I haven’t really looked into what this company does when I saw it at first. But I totally fell in love with it as soon as I knew what the company is all about. I quickly imagined myself being part of this team where I can make a big contribution and help specific people especially in their healthcare while still doing what I want to do. Yes, it’s still in the software development field or IT but with a bigger scope. It’s not all about going to and living in other country this time, I have now a bigger purpose. My heart was whole when I took the exam and the interviews. Maybe this was what they saw before giving me the job offer. And I said yes immediately, without any hesitations because ever since the application started, I already knew that this is what I want. That’s the second opportunity that knocked and I let it enter, I welcomed it with joy and embrace every change it would bring to my life and my family’s.
The process had not been easy and it took a longer time than we expected before we were able to finally migrate as a family. There were times I worried that my employer would just give up on me since they had to wait for me for so long but they had been so patient and considerate in all ways. Our families have been supportive as well even though it was also hard for them so see us leave. The goodbyes were so sad (as always) and I could feel the loneliness in their eyes when they went with us in the airport. My mom kept telling me how I grew up beside them and this is the very first time I’d live far from them. My dad was still a tough-looking crybaby who had a lot of tips for us since he’d been in different countries for a long time. My brother and sister were also there. I was sad thinking I couldn’t be with them during the exciting days of their lives. Our other family, in Nico’s side, also showed their support and sent us good wishes. I made myself ready for this. I don’t want them to see me sad or crying. This is a happy start and I made it sure that they know that we are doing this not only for us but also for them.
Living The Opportunity That Once Knocked
It’s been the longest 20 hours of my life. The flight was peaceful and we landed safe. Finally, the day has come and it’s all worth it. There are still some adjustments for sure but we’re doing well. Skyler is now going to a daycare and Nico is working from home so he can look after Skyler after school. And me, I have great people around me that welcomed me and my family as soon as we got here. They never fail to amaze me every single work day. I’m still learning everything. Everyday is a new adventure. I don’t know if this bliss will continue for a long time and I’m not a fan of expecting that things will actually last. I just live and enjoy the life I have now and let’s see what happens after. We might come back to the Philippines or we might move to another place or country. We might change jobs or we might stay here forever. That, for sure, is something we don’t know yet. A lot of things will happen and we’re ready and confident we’ll get through it as a family. For now, we have discovered a lot of things in each other. It’s our first time alone since we became a family so I am excited for the new things to come for us. I still have so much to share so if you’re interested, send me a message or let’s have a chat. For sure, some of you have a lot to share as well.
And finally, to our friends who have been asking where we are now? We’re somewhere on earth living some great adventures of life.