13 August 2010

Going abroad: for better and for worse?

All my bags are packed?

Lots have been said and written and discussed about Pinoys going abroad. As OFWs and as immigrants, and many other categories. Why do I specifically mention OFWs and immigrants? I have become conscious when to use each word when one time I went to visit one province in the Philippines. It was my first time there and I met one of the VIPs of that province. She said that they have a lot of people from there who have gone abroad, and some of them have come back to invest in some businesses like hotels, restaurants and the like. So I replied that it is good that the OFWs think of investing their hard-earned money. And she corrected me. She adamantly said, “No! They are not OFWs. They are immigrants!” She said it in a way that you would think an OFW was inferior to an immigrant. I did not know how to respond to it so I just let it be, and stored the information for use later. Such as now.

So whether a Pinoy goes abroad as an OFW or as an immigrant, the fact remains that he/she has gone abroad, has left the country, for better or for worse. Well I hope that it will be for the better, for both the one who left and the ones left behind. But we also know that there are worse things that do happen, if not to the one going abroad, then to the ones left behind in the Philippines. Eventually some OFWs decide to migrate and stay permanently in another country, and bring their families to stay with them. But there are countries that do not allow this, so the OFW remains in that country as a mere working person, with a renewable work permit, and remains there until retirement, unless he/she migrates to another country or goes back to the Philippines for good.   

We all know about the better stuff. Like a higher salary, better standard of living, better transport system, better environment, higher quality goods, better lifestyle. It gets much better if one can bring his/her own family and there are schools for their children, and the spouse could also work. But what about the worse things that happen to us when we are abroad, or to our loved ones left behind?

There are just so many we can think of, but only a few that can be written here. Being away from family, missing the growing up years of the children, missing the growing old years of our parents, not being there when loved ones need us most, missing memorable moments such as birthdays, graduations, weddings, and many other milestones in their lives. Worst yet is for children to be a bit aloof to parents who are abroad. Or for a loved one especially a parent to pass away without you by his/her side. It just hurts not to be there. Just because we are far away and could not leave the workplace immediately, or could not leave at all due to other circumstances.
Am I ready to go?

The foreign workplace itself can also be hell for some OFWs.

Some worse things happening in the homefront could include a son or a daughter who grows up spoiled and expects to have everything, growing up without responsibility, squandering everything thinking that dad or mom will be sending money soon anyway, the remaining spouse giving in to temptation in the absence of his/her spouse, being cheated by others esp. those who know there is a regular allotment of dollars, being blamed when things at home are not going so well. These could be signs that there is a need to spend time with the family for a while to talk things out.

And yet many are still going abroad. The hopes and dreams of a better life, for the whole family, drive everybody to keep going, despite the worse things that could be experienced while abroad.

So what do we do then to avoid all these pitfalls? One of the most helpful things is to always keep communicating with each other. It is much better now with all the high technology available, so better invest in a good program or equipment which can help in making family members feel you are just close to them, just a click or phone call away. Frequent communication with real time video and voice is the best. But for those less tech savvy esp with older parents, regularly calling them brings happiness and a feeling of worth to them, knowing that their daughter or son, despite miles and miles away, still remembers and loves them, much more than just sending money and material things. And never mind that sometimes they complain about each other or about a sibling or something, they are just making “lambing”.

Sending greetings cards and letters is also good to keep the relationship warm among loved ones. Remembering birthdays and anniversaries is important to us Pinoys.

For families with growing children, the house should be filled with photos of the loved one who is abroad. The children should be constantly reminded of him/her so that when he/she comes home, the kids would not feel strange and be aloof towards the returning parent. The children would just feel they know him/her personally. This really works!

It is good that there are employers who provide paid vacations for their expat employees. But what about those who are not fortunate enough to have this kind of employer? Then you really have to seriously save for that much awaited vacation. Even if it is just for a couple of weeks, it is still worth it. Be updated of some promotional offers to reduce the cost of traveling. Or maybe if it is possible, let your loved ones come over to visit you abroad. That will be a treat but it would cost a lot of money. So you just have to consider and balance your options and costs.

Spiritually, praying for each other and together really helps in making things better. Praying gives one an inner peace, knowing that God has heard your prayers and this gives you the peace and assurance that He is in control. At the end of the day, there are things that are just beyond us, and we can only entrust them to Him who knows all things and can do all things.

These are just a few of the things to help in making things better, instead of worse, when one goes abroad, and leaves family behind. Whatever happens, it is important to remember the happy memories that have been created together, and to keep building up on them, so family ties will remain strong. At the same time not losing sight of the hopes and dreams that drove one to go to another country, so he/she can help in making life better today and in the future, for the family and the whole community.
Walking hand in hand - growing together!

"Strengthening the OFW Families: Stronger Homes for a Stronger Nation."


 "Pagtibayin ang Pamilyang OFW: Mas Matibay na Tahanan Para sa Mas Matibay na Bayan" 

If you like this blog entry, please vote for Nominee #13 at
http://www.pinoyblogawards.com/p/vote-here.html

Visit PEBA website to read more entries. 

40 comments:

The Pope said...

"For families with growing children, the house should be filled with photos of the loved one who is abroad."

Thank you for reminding our kababayan of the importance displaying family pictures family members photos in their house rooms, it really have a positive effect in keeping the family relationship alive.

And thank you for supporting and joining PEBA 2010.

God bless you and your family.

Carnation said...

Hi Pope, thanks for your comments...hopefully when family members go abroad it will not be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'...

God bless to all Pinoy OFW families.

Unnamed Psalmist said...

"Praying gives one an inner peace, knowing that God has heard your prayers and this gives you the peace and assurance that He is in control."

This is the part most I like!

God Bless po! More Power!

Carnation said...

hi unnamed psalmist, salamat ... prayer is the blood of a believer's life. God bless din.

Yellow Bells said...

"remember the happy memories that have been created and to keep building up on them"

an optimistic view is a good way not to feel sad and it helps a lot when one is feeling down so go on and remember the good times and when the long wait is over, an OFW can share another happy moment with loves ones!

good luck to us! cheers

Carnation said...

hi yellow bells, yes really need to fill up our emotional banks for withdrawals during times of sadness and loneliness...all the best to us indeed

Unnamed Psalmist said...

Hi! Carla and Arlene both of you have a wonder inspiring thought :) God Bless Us All!

rrjm said...

I think the important thing is not to forget why you went abroad in the first place.

If OFWs keep this in mind it may help them go through all the trials and avoid the temptations.

Carnation said...

rrjm, that's right...always be reminded of the real purpose...there are of course many who succeed so we hope we can all learn from them. thanks for the visit and comment.

gayette said...

nice one .. i always enjoy your posts

Carnation said...

hi gayette, salamat...ingat ka dyan lagi.

daisy said...

hi ate jigsz!
i'm always a fan of your writing! though this is my first time to comment, i've always find time to read your previous blogs. keep blessing others through your writing...i am!

linda nietes said...

The multi-faceted OFW story has been retold many times and the accompanying tragedies that occur to a lot of OFWs are like broken records that are played over and over again. And yet, nobody learns lessons from all these stories. I just hope that P-Noy will set up a stronger OFW Commission that will really look into the interests of OFWs. Your blog is great because it offers some solutions that will continue the bond between those who left and those left behind. I also like the role of prayers in our everyday lives, whether we are OFWs or not. A strong spiritual base is important to create a strong
moral person and being away from home and the support of family and friends, this is an important aspect that should be nourished and your blog touches on this. I hope that readers of your blog will be able to read between the lines and realize that there is more that are unwritten but are really
oart of the underlying sentiments of your blog. Good luck and hope you will win in this contest!

NFB said...

Working abroad may be the best option for most of us, but sometimes the reward can be too costly. Children missing one of the parents or both are the most affected. But the good news is - when we let Him take control, everything just falls into place.

Dina said...

Jigz u really hit the bull's eye with your blog. Everything you wrote there happened to me. I couldnt negate a single word you wrote and could not even say better than what you said there. Well said. Good luck and God bless...

Anonymous said...

Hi Jigsz,

I remember many years ago when most Pinoys only knew two countries of destination - America and Saudi. America was for "magaling". Saudi was for the "workers".

Not much has changed in the mentality of many Pinoys.

I remember many years ago I was traveling with a group of Filipino scientists in an Asian country. A Filipina tried to strike a conversation with one of my companions but the latter stopped her by saying - "Hindi ako domestic ano!"

I dream of the day when many of our "educated" class behave like truly educated people.

God bless you always...

Jopac

Carnation said...

NFB you are right ... in our own human strength we can't do all things. We need the One who is all power, all mighty, all knowing.

Carnation said...

@dais, thanks for your encouragement always. Take care there

@tita, thanks also for your insights, they are very helpful.

Carnation said...

@dinz, let's keep going as God strengthens us. salamat sa pagbisita

@jopac, tumpak ka dyan! thnx & all d best sa iyong endeavour. update us pls!

Wenresti said...

hi jigsz,

nice article! i'm forwarding it to gladys.

-toto

Carnation said...

thanks, bro. toto...rgrds

Ching said...

Hi Ms. Jigz, very nice gid.

Blessed are those who had been given opportunities by the LORD to be able to work abroad and have a very good benefits and employer. But blessed still are those who were not given the chance and yet still had remained loyal to our LORD and with faith getting stronger.

Carnation said...

hi ms ching (cathy?), thanks sa comment ... God's blessings are everywhere if we only take time to think, look around, and give thanks

Desert Aquaforce said...

Hi Jigzs,

Very well written piece with great clarity and wisdom shared with simplicity about the OFW life's complexities.

I really like your take on the issue especially the part on spirituality... Yes prayer is the most potent instrument of action!

Wish you all the best!

Carnation said...

hi bong, thanks...regards

fil said...

Carnation, I believe you have written well the life issue of OFWs. Thank you for sharing the information.

Carnation said...

filcon, you are welcome...thanks for visiting

Dante said...

hi there carnation. dropped by and read your post - sort of returning the favor for visiting my blog. wish you good luck and more happy blogging days to us all. :)

Carnation said...

dante, salamat

coco, arlini, abby and borgy said...

very well said.

Carnation said...

hi there coco, arlini, abby and borgy, thanks for visiting.

Reymos said...

Nice entry and good luck! Very interesting point regarding the comparison between OFWs and immigrants. Both of them wanted to have a better future for their families.

Carnation said...

hi reymos, thx 4 visiting & support!

dondi045 said...

I am once an OFW. I never had any regrets as far as my experience is concerned. It was an opportunity that allowed me to see things in different perspective.
BTW thanks for the visit on my site.

Carnation said...

hi dondi, that's great to hear! it is indeed a great opportunity to widen one's horizons and to learn more about life, to grow and mature ... thanks also for visiting here!

BON said...

hi! =)

indeed! communication is the best tool for keeping OFW families united!

keep on smiling! ^^

BON
http://www.bonistation.com

vicpjr said...

Thanks Jigz for the post. I can relate. Good luck.

As an ex OFW, I would like to advise kababayans ... secure your future before your hard earned money goes to waste for a variety of reasons ... you went abroad to save money to provide a better future for the family, not to spend every penny of it to a lot more reasons ... ( i can help you on this. email me @ vbpeop10310715@yahoo.com )

Carnation said...

thanks vic, u r right. btw, pls don't 4get to vote for me for the 2nd round. pls go to this link: http://www.pinoyblogawards.com/2010/11/vote-here.html. thanks

LLCero said...

hi, jigsz. it's really a tough decision... for better or for worse...

Carnation said...

hi there ley, oo nga...how r u? thanks for visiting my blog!

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