Ten (10) Years, 10 Lessons (as an OFW)

10 years 10 Lessons as an OFW - iamjmkayne.com.png

UAE Life in 10 (Pictures from L-R ) 2008: My first night in Abu Dhabi. Me and Ate Ann – she’s the cousin who brought me in UAE. 2010 – Darrelle & I in my first CFC-FFL Family Day. Me and my ETSDC cap (my first company). 2012 – Me in the Sales & Marketing Dept. of ETSDC. 2011 – With my first sets of Households and Sisters in Christ (SFL) Ate Amie, Ate Ash & Ate Lou. 2011 – the first SFL brothers and sisters representatives from Abu Dhabi – Empowered Conference in Sharjah. 2015 – ADNOC-NDC UAE National Day celebration. 2017 – Ate Amie’s birthday with the Marvels.

 

Ten (10) Years, 10 Lessons as an OFW

Disclaimer: All opinions are personal and I don’t generalize all. It’s what I learned and that I notice them too often that it definitely left a mark into this OFW life.

This is my first passport bucketlist : To have my first passport stamped before it expires. lol 🤣🤣🤣

 

So, I took my passport in 2005 without any intention of an international travel… only to have one solid ID on my belt whenever a government company would require. But at the back on my mind, I told myself – I want it stamped before it expires. Bucket-list checked! 

First passport stamp 2008 - iamjmkayne.com.jpg

This is another post to celebrate my 10 years in the UAE and as an OFW –  I’d like to share the ten (10) of the many lessons learned in my first decade as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)

Related: Abu Dhabi 30 Places to visit. (Anniversary month post)

 

Here’s my lesson learned. “10 for 10”.

 

One: Homesickness is Real

On my very first month right after arriving Abu Dhabi UAE in September 2008, I did encounter my first homesick moment. Didn’t expect that its real. I thought I was okay and that its only a word. But – – – bang! I found myself crying in my sleep. Today, it’s been a decade and some episodes of such moment still find me.  A weak point for all OFWs indeed. #TheresNoPlaceLikeHome #HomeIsHome

 

 

Two: OFW Life Looks Nice but it’s NOT 

Social Media POST vs. REALITY

Most of the time Social media will post nothing but good stuffs. As an OFW we have this “pride” to show our food trips, travel here and there… but rarely our struggles. (hats off those who are real!) What happens when we show the “good kuno/ abundant life daw” is that people back home (not all though) tend to believe that money is as easy as 1-2-3. When we go home during our vacation – we seemed to be tagged as walking banks. When in “fact” #WhatsOnOurMind at week 2 or 3 is – “we want to go back”! hahah #relateka if you know what I mean… (ni hubas na! lol)

Sorry to break this – we may get times 12/13 or 15 of our currency – but we also spend the country’s currency which basically almost similar or more to what we spend if we are in Pinas. So to some (not to all) – because I knew of some families who just keep on asking this and that and this and that – and the list continues . . . – PLEASE! Be considerate! 

Also, ask how are you? – he/she may answer I’m good/okay – but stay sensitive and listen (or read since its mostly through FB messenger) . . . a little care goes a long way. Plus a THANK YOU whenever you receive the allotment for the month will also bring us a smile. 🙂 #NagpapakatotooLang #BeTrulySensitive #ALittleCareALittleLove

 

 

Three: Filipinos’ Crab Mentality

This may sound negative, but indeed that mentality is evident in a place that requires survival. For 10 years I have seen this mentality inside and outside a Filipino community at work (both here in UAE and even in the Philippines). Sadly it is worst in the international playing fields. Again – it’s not for all. I still find kind hearted ones.

Another encounter with this “crab mentality” thought is when you walk into a high-end store in the the malls – and Ate/Kuya Kabayan is the sales person – they tend to greet only the foreigners. Showing off their best smiles and greetings. But if you are a kabayan – it seemed like you don’t exist 🙁 . Sad! A personal experience that Kokobear and I had was when we went to a steak restaurant – when the server puts us on the waiting list but entertained the foreigner who came late. (ooppps – no they didn’t have reservations). And yes we argued and called the manager. I hope it serves as a lesson.

Up to this day, I still experience it. But somehow I have been a little considerate. Patience and understanding will still come handy. 🙂 Of course lots of prayer on the side too! #LordForgiveMe #AskAreYouOkayKuyaOrAte? 

 

 

 

Four: Family is always a Priority

At the end of the day, family will always be a priority. To be honest, there is a security in my heart that no matter how far I am with them – love and trust is there. Personally I only chat with them most of the time. A good morning, how are you and a few pictures sharing.  True I have been busy with community life – but never ever did I forget to raise them in my prayers and in my heart they are my top priority. After all being an OFW started because I want to help my family. #ILoveYouTheBELTS #ILoveYouKokobear

 

 

Five: Kabayan is Single (daw)

Another top of the list sadly OFW life reality. . . There’s been quiet a big number of broken families because Kabayan (both male/female) is “single daw”. It’s hard to identify who is who. It’s hard to trust and it’s hard to “kalas” once you are deeply in love. Judging them will not make us better… I guess it is all up to that person’s conscience and integrity on how he/she brings himself or herself in the public. 

A sad story in fact is I have known a few people who is inside the community (religious/church based) that claims to be one – but they aren’t.  I have to mention though that I appreciate them being inside the community – because somehow a part of them knows that they need constant reminder of God’s teachings. I hope that with God’s grace and the Holy Spirit will enlighten them.

 


Dear Kabayan,

Your wife/husband and children are waiting for you. Show up and be honest. Have faith that with God, all temptations will be broken. Stay close with Him. God bless! – JM


 

 

Six: Leaving home for the —nth time – is always 💔 heartbreaking

Ten years means nine or eight times of opportunity to be back home (for a month’s vacation) and every single time is heartbreaking. It never cease to end… You shed tears whenever its time to say our goodbyes. Even while typing this part of the post makes me teary eyed. It’s always a hard time. But we keep on fighting, we keep on surviving. Thank Lord for that! This is hats off to all other OFWs who have gone long more than me, I know how you feel. #IFeelYou #ThatFeeling #AirportJitters

 

 

 

Seven: A Community will help you get through tough times

I realized that not all people are meant for community life. Some realize that they need it a bit later, some tried and stopped. Some tried, stop, tried again and stayed. As for me, a year later when I arrived in Abu Dhabi – I know I am meant for this community life. Nine years later – with God’s grace I am still here. The Lord has kept me grounded by ebing a part of this beautiful group of diverse lovable & unlovable creatures 😀 . Community lifeagain is not an easy journey. This is where your Loving God and Loving they neighbor following thy commandments are bring tested! When all has been said and done – I still find myself in this community of sinners claiming to be better. Being inside the community doesn’t mean you are a saint – in fact it means you are a sinner – willing to change for God. And through all the hardship – it made me appreciate life that CFFL has given me people, teachings and encounters with God worth keeping and sharing. #CommunityLifeIsLove #ItsMoreFun #TrueChristianTestIsHere

 

 

Eight: Love life can come in many shapes & forms 💚

Love often is defined for family & to someone special. But being away from home and being an OFW + being a part of God’s community through CFFL, I found out that love comes in many forms and shapes. Love for family, love for your GG (God’s Gift: husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend) is just the base. In my part a new found love has grown too. Love for my FAITH, love for neighbors (including strangers!), love for what actually matters)

*Love for faith – If I didn’t join the community, I guess I will be swayed with another religion. Not knowing exactly which is which. But with this eye-opener – I am solid and secure with God and with where I am as a Catholic.

*Love for neighbors – Second greatest commandment. Practices, tested and survived! Not claiming to be perfect – but hey I know I have become better… What  I am practicing now too is – loving strangers & the poor (not just materially but those of spirit). They too are God’s people!

#LoveWhatMatters #TheOtherFacesOfLove

 

 

 

Nine: Patience is tested with Patience

When you pray to God, Lord – please give me patience for my work, for my boss, for my workmates etc… God is actually answering you! He answers you with more test on patience! This realization just came in to me in 2015. When I was tested to the highest level and realize that I shouldn’t pray that my ____ change. With God’s grace – my ___ didn’t change, instead I did! #IkawTalagaLord! #PatiencePaMore #LovePaMore #TestPaMore

 

 

Ten: God is never away.

No explanation needed. Amen-Amen to this! He is with me. He is with us at all times and anywhere. Everywhere!

Jeremiah 29-13 - iamjmkayne.com

 

Related Story: My first blog entry as OFW.

 

What about you?
Are you an OFW?
Which of these lessons resonate so well to you?
Any other additional lessons? Feel free to share it in the comments…

 

JM Kayne, signing in on my 10th year here in the UAE!

 

God bless us all,

 

JM SIGNATURE-black - iamjmkayne.com

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Fear of Losing Jobs

As many of you know, I am an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) – one of the so called “Bagong Bayani”. I am in Abu Dhabi UAE for the past 8 years and 2 months (never thought I’d go this far…) Like many OFW I have gone through the ups and downs of this life which many of the people in the Philippines especially those who haven’t been abroad don’t know, understand and realize. 
 
It pains me to hear and see family, friends and relatives (or even Facebook friends who are not that close) thinking that someone who is abroad is “rich”, that money is effortlessly gained. That if “naka-abroad ka datu na ka!!!” I think it is because of what most of the OFWs image shows on social media: pictures of the luxurious “kuno” lifestyle, posting food (like feast), beautiful buildings, and gatherings – all smiles and as if life is a bed of roses! Not known to others (or actually knows – but people just play is cool and somehow stays into that illusion that OFWs are = to lots of money) – life outside the country is never easy.

 
*   I remember a friend who wholeheartedly wears her heart on Facebook expressing her disappointments to the people who think that way, especially in her case when she married a foreigner. I feel for her! A sad reality every Juan/Juana abroad has to face.  

 

*      Another colleague gets pressured by her family of buying the latest plasma TV and never even bothers to say thank you for the 32 inches she sent home!  

 

*      A friend whose family thinks he is a bank… asking money after money, week after week.

Want hear more? If you have an OFW family member/friend it’s your time to show some concerns. Ask how he/she is… Of course most of us would just say we’re okay, we don’t want to burden the people in our life and worry about us.
 

Dear Fellow OFWs,

This open letter is to encourage you to tell the truth and be open to your family with your struggles. Let them understand what life is.

 

Dear Friends and Family (of OFWs),

Don’t just think about money – be human enough to care and love those people, who are away from you, you don’t know what they’ve been through. (If you’re not one of them, ignore this letter. If you are guilty – please try to be kind)

 
*  *  *

This year the Emirates are hit with another crisis after 2008 recession.  The bread and butter of this country – the major field is affected which means the Oil & Gas industry. 2016 is indeed a shaky year for Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other Emirates, news of laying off, termination here and there are the major talks. My own company is not exempted, there has been numerous of expats affected with this crisis and with the threat of Emiritazation of the government companies.  

List after list comes and as an expat, I have that premonition that my time will come.
 
Month after month, names after names, position after position, friends after friends – have received their “love letter”.   

Somehow I was at peace. Inside me is the thought that God determines when my time will come. Hearsays heard that my name was on the list earlier this June but haven’t received the letter yet. So I conditioned my mind that one day I will have it. 

So, NDC celebrated the 45h UAE National Day on 29th November and in the midst of this celebration, I received a call from the Employee Relations – HR, never thought IT was the line! There is really that time in our life that even when you conditioned your mind that something’s gonna happen – – –  but when the situation is really at hand, there is that hunch in your heart that says “opppps!”  

No! Don’t get me wrong – It was not shocked… I was something like “uh! – hmm – ok .. moment” . . . my thoughts are battling whether to be happy or sad!


To some of you who know my “NDC work life” – you would understand that I will be happy because of not being able to go through the “Loving thy Neighbor” episodes at work – which actually makes me sin… and if I stay longer I might do the un-doable (MUST NOT – do as a Christian) 

To anyone, the FEAR of LOSING a JOB is something not to be happy with. Of course, financially, it would disable me from doing whatever activity that requires money – simply because our adult life tagged it as a “NEED”! 

But why? Why am I not sad? Actually, I even got excited! Let me tell you some of the reasons:

1.    2016 closes a door (last working day is on 29th Dec), which makes me excited what 2017 has in store for me.
2.    I will now stop the Loving Thy Neighbor episodes (Basically this should go first! )
3.    It gives me a month to go back home and spend time with family (although I’ll be apart with Koko for a while) – which is the reason I have kept this post until now because I’d like to surprise them!!!
4.     Finally, #InMyHeart is PEACE. A peace that makes me trusts God that nothing happens without a reason. In fact, the moment I received my letter – if I could write on Facebook’s “What’s on your mind” status – I’d say “Answered Prayer”

So, why am I writing this?


 
Sorry, my introduction (about OFWs) was quite longer than my main body on this blog. What I want to say is that OFW (and even others who are working) has this “FEAR OF LOSING OUR JOBS” special mention to OFWs because of the visa woes, going through immigration problems, processing documents, to do this and that, flight tickets, exit moments, monetary back-up – – – etc. etc. . .  but I say: 
*Think of it as a door closed by God because he has better and bigger doors to open including windows even 🙂 .* 
Psalms 9:10 says “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” 

As of today, I am JOBLESS, but I”ll never gonna feel down –  I claim that God has right timing and plans. I keep holding on.


I will keep you track what happens next . . . 

This is my last blog post from NDC computer.  
Thank you NDC, it has been a great 4 years+!

JM signing off for 2016. Ciao!
God bless!

I ♥ CEBU (Vacation Year 2)

This vacation is almost over.
I am happy and I am sad. Both feelings are now mixing here in my mind & heart.

 

HAPPY.
Because I was able to accomplish the list I have made. I was able to meet my GEOS Family, UC friends, UC ESL Pipers, The Angels, Mitch, High School buddies Gemma & Jackie and more. And of course a time with MY FAMILY!


My sincerest apology to my section R Family for not having a time to meet you guys… next year I will try! ^^


Happy because I was able to accomplish the 2 major things I wanted to do for this vacation. That is to get my D-SPED diploma + TOR & to study TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).


My D-SPED document processing went very well. Just one day in one click. Not like last year. Then another day to take the documents and mission accomplished!


TEFL was one easy thing, but I realized something… I told myself “so, this is how it feels to be an ESL/EFL student” …kk J


I spent my Lolo’s 88th birthday, Christmas, New Year, Angels Joy & Cathy Oenni’s bday and Sinulog! I thought it was only 3 but a long list of celebration!


SAD.
Coz I realize a month is too short and that while riding the jeepney I found myself day dreaming… deep thoughts about being home. The different feelings, mood, the different sense of belongingness seems to tell me something…


And it all falls when one early morning; I found my mom on my bed… trying to wake me up, singing a song and in a few seconds started to cry … L  I asked and she said… with a very deep sigh : Haaaaayyy~ another one year TT.TT tears my heart seeing Mama cry. It’s like a part of me wants to stay. I know I can, but I also have to go. Life goes on.


Then I start to think… I hate Goodbyes!!!


But then I know it’s a temporary goodbye, as My Elle says “it’s not Goodbye, it’s see you next year.”


Well …. up to date it is 3 days left and I will be off to my second home, Abu Dhabi again. I am looking forward for the new challenges at work, for the services that God has planned for me this year through my community – CFC-FFL and of course to be back to the arm of my Kokobear! 🙂


Lord, I rest you all the days of my life this 2011. May you bless me, my family & friends all the way. Amen.
 


xoxoxo ^^
JULIE MAE Kayne
January 2011
A dinner with my GEOS Angels!