When does your colleague become friends? When does friends become family? Is it really hard to be away from home? How to live away from our loved ones? Most of these questions can be answered by an OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers).
I was an OFW for so long in one of the most beautiful countries that has a lot of economic opportunities, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE is one of the biggest milestones in my life. I worked there in a hospital-based laboratory with a lot of different nationalities such as Egyptians, Indians, Sudanese, Arabics, and Filipinos. Working with different races and beliefs wasn’t easy as they said we all have our differences but as the saying goes “We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.” We do fight at work because of misunderstandings and disagreements but outside the hospital we are all good though different races and from being colleagues we all became friends. We hangouts, chat, and party together we shared stories and problems and from being friends we became family. A family that is always there with each other especially in sharing and providing emotional support that we needed most.
It is not easy to be apart from our loved ones. Leaving our family and loved ones to work abroad is a bitter feeling that has been swallowed by most of the OFW. Living miles away from home needs to be firm and decisive in every way to endure the feeling of the so-called homesick. However, in spite of the sadness and loneliness somehow there is joy. The chats and calls from our family back home makes us happy. The gatherings with our friends in the UAE every occasion made us feel at home.
Living in the UAE with my extended family is much unforgettable because of our never-ending stories and laughter. One of the lessons I experienced there was to have an open mind to people that are different than you, our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.
By: Jessa Lora Ocampo