Repatriation Blues

Repatriation that's what it's called. When you find yourself nodding at the quote above then yes, you have it too.

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. 

Expats Struggle with the Dark Side of Coming Home

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,

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  1. Hi Arni, I bumped into your blog just a few days ago and I can relate myself in your situation right now. I suggest you watch Xandra Rocha's something to chew on (channel 9) or be inspired with local designers out there to cheer you up :) I understand the struggle you're going thru right now, I stayed there for a year and I pity myself for not having a job or savings at all (we had to be under my parents roof just to survive) but the good thing is you'll have lots of time doing what you love to do (Painting, Crafts, or Design etc.) and living in the country will make you appreciate simple things more. Maybe a couple of months will'll get through that stage. And also prayers will help you along the way. :)

    1. Thanks so much, Christine. Your message is very reassuring. I'll check out that show on TV. I hope to see you once we're back here in Manila again in September. Just leaving for a few months to spend time with my in-laws for a short break. It's weird that while these feelings are starting to catch up on me, have to start all over again in France for a few months. Though I do think that it's bigger adjustment here in the Philippines, because it will be a permanent one and not just a vacation anymore. I nod in agreement with the power of prayers and that it is indeed a good idea to move for my daughter. I would love for her to grow up appreciating what she has and that real joy stems from simple things.

  2. I was just wondering today where you disappeared, haven't seen a new post of yours in some time :)

    1. Hi Dezzy, I was overwhelmed by running around for paper work. I need to chill and spend more time blogging. Blogging helps a lot.

  3. I'm sorry that you are having a hard time adjusting in our own country. I cannot say that I truly understand what you feel as I have not experienced what you did, in fact, I've yet to go on my first trip abroad in the latter part of the year. I do understand a little bit about running papers though, it's always so much hassle. I hope that you get to adjust soon and start enjoying your stay here. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm just an email away :)

    1. Hi Marge, thanks so much. I would love to meet you one day when we're back. I guess I pushed myself too hard and should take the cab more often too. What I truly love about our country are the nice people who are always willing to help and share. They're just doing their job and they try to make it easier despite the long process. I pray that the adjustment phase is shorter. I look forward to our life here. In my heart I know and feel it's the right decision to move here.

  4. Just catching up as I have only just returned home (from Dubai) I am sorry to hear that you have been finding it difficult to adjust but the list of tips above I'm sure will help. In fact these suggestions are useful in general not just to someone moving from one country to another!