I was looking at my passport and plane ticket bound to Singapore, it was 12:30 in the morning on the 9th of July 2015.
I looked so composed but deep within me were barrage of mixed emotions. There was excitement, there was fear and there was doubt but the most dominant feeling that time was extreme sadness. It was my first time to go abroad, to be called an overseas filipino worker, bagong bayani as they said.
Ah finally, I thought I will have the chance to give a better life for my family. I closed my eyes and thank God a dozen times that day and asked His guidance. I asked God for strength. And while I was away, I asked God to look over my family, my loved ones especially my youngest who was just sixteen months old then.
When I was lining up for check-in, the lady behind, asked me, "Miss, are you also going to Singapore?" I answered with a smile, "Yes" then she asked again, "a tourist?" Then her eyes looked at my backpack which was the only bag I have at that time. I said, "No, I will work there" after I answered her, I gave her the notion that I don't want to talk anymore. I was too busy minding my emotions.
When we got on the plane, a few minutes before take off, I heard many people talking to their loved ones with their endless goodbyes. I had no more phone that time, I left it at the agency. We were not allowed to bring our mobile phones. I settled myself as the plane got ready for take off I looked out of the window, I silently whispered, "goodbye my beloved, see you again after two years." My vision became blurry, I gave in to my emotions.... finally.
After almost 4 hours of flight the plane landed to our destination, Singapore, the City of Lions. For me, it was the city for my dreams.
After a gruesome week at the agency, my employer finally picked me up. When I saw her, I smiled the sweeteest wishing she could read my mind which was saying that time "thank you for picking me up from hell".
When we reached her home, her three kids greeted me warmly. The eldest was a ten year old boy, the second a nine year old girl and the youngest was a seven year old boy. I've seen them in the video interview at my agency in the Philippines before. Because of the warm welcome, I was very hopeful that things will be alright.
Leslie, the Filipina who was about to finish her contract and soon to leave was friendly enough. The next morning, she lend me her phone and let me talk to my husband. When I heard the familiar voice after two weeks being away from them, I burst into tears. I told him how my stay with the agency went and everything that had happened. But I told him, that I was ok, even though I knew I was not. I tried to sound so strong so he won't feel worried about me. I asked him about our kids and I told him how I missed them so much already. I was crying even after our conversation.
With no phone on hand, I took out my notebook from my agency. I made that my diary. Every night, I would write how my day went. Every night, I would cry while writing. My diary became my confidante from then on I decided to trust no one.
My employer got hold of all my important documents, my passport and my work permit. I had no holidays too. It was a nightmare. I was only thankful when my employer finally allowed me to have my phone after two months when I talked to her about how I miss my children. Homesickness was really killing me.
Fast forward, It was November 2015 when I decided to break my contract. Why? Aside from the tiring sixteen hours of work, I was also verbally abused by my employer's husband. Being raised from a home where respect is very important, I decided to stay away from people who would put me down and take away my self respect. I cannot fathom a total stanger to talk to me in such demeaning manner.
Yes, I chose self-worth rather than money, I chose self-worth rather my dreams for my family. I chose self-worth because I love myself and I believe that loving yourself first will bring you to happiness.
Much love and God bless! 💗
Original post, and for more of her blogs: https://www.pangyao.hk/blog/5f219c059132b200176eada2