I was wondering why I suddenly broke down crying while I was walking along EDSA on my way to take the stairs of MRT Station in Quezon City. It was triggered by being sent back and forth to different government agencies just to register my daughter in the system after an entire week of endless struggles to obtain identity in my home country.
In a brief instant, I imagined myself and wished that I was confidently driving my own car along Sheikh Zayed Road instead. Here I was, feeling like an "invisible immigrant". Angry at myself for not knowing anything, feeling worthless due to loss of status, and feeling so lost and confused. As I verbalised my thoughts of driving in Dubai aloud, my husband thought I was being a pompous *ss and angrily replied,"You can purchase your own plane tickets back to Dubai as soon as we get home."
I am used to being out of my comfort zone but this sudden wave of emotions completely took me by surprise. When a friend who's also returning to the Philippines posted this article on her newsfeed, it gives meaning and understanding to the emotional experience.
10 Tips in Overcoming Homesickness of Expat Country and feeling less invisible
According to most articles about repatriation, it may take years to adjust but nothing stops us from starting today.
1. Reminiscing good 'ol days. Please pardon me for posting Travel Recaps of my so called glory days here. This explains it.
2. Connecting with expat friends back in Dubai I am grateful to Whatsapp and social media for the communication with expat friends back in Dubai. We still exchange recipes and stories regularly.
3. Connecting with other expats, balikbayan and former OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) who have returned. They offer advice and very good information in re-integration to society and business start-up tips.
4. Family support I am grateful for the support my family extended to me as they helped look after my daughter while we take care of administrative tasks. They offered valuable knowledge in finding my way around and getting things done.
5. Explore beautiful places in your home country I wish I have the budget and time to do this right now but whenever I see photos of my brother's trip to Calaguas, Camarines Norte and my sister's trip to Calatagan, Batangas, I am excited and look forward to living here.
6. Take up a hobby or an activity of interest I enjoy daily afternoon walks with my husband and daughter around the neighbourhood. Surprisingly, I enjoy morning trips to the vegetable market on my own.
7. Blog about it. Writing this post is such a great feeling.
8. Baby steps. It's okay if you don't get things done in your goals list. Our level of expectations may be higher than what reality might reveal. In Dubai I could have processed the same tasks within a day but I have to understand that each country has its own differences in processing things. Patience is our ally. It's okay if I don't get it done today.
9. Always watch out for the good in everything. Okay, I may have been sent to different agencies from north to south in one morning, but the people in the windows were very kind and accommodating. They were willing to help and made it easier than it would normally take. When I focus on the good people and good events, they outweigh the cons big time.
10. Be involved in a cause. This is one of my long term goals. I aspire to do something purposeful while I am living here.
This is it. I live here and no where else.
Love & light,