Flying to Thailand was like entering a stadium where everyone’s singing the same song, while I sang a different one. Contrary to most of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) going here, I went here out of pure fun. No goals, no expectations, no standards; that was me.
I was a fresh graduate back then. Bringing just my nine-month work experience in a corporate world, I decided to take a leap in a foreign land. With its common phrase “you only live once”, I flew here because of my friends, and to make the most out of “being young and single”, as they always say. However, everything changed when I met different Filipino individuals, and see life’s different angles.
Meeting fellow young OFWs
Meeting different workers here in Phitsanulok, Thailand, had given me a new lease of life. A life with a rhythm to follow. At such a young age, these individuals and their shared struggles away from their families had opened my eyes to life’s reality. From that fresh graduate who just wants to experience the so-called youth’s madness, I had finally found my purpose of being an OFW.
As commonly known, life as an OFW is hard – it has been and it always will be. It’s hard to strive in a foreign land thousands of miles away from your comfort. I have been hearing how lucky I am to have flown and work in abroad at such a young age, and I really am. But, contrary to this belief, it is hard regardless of your age and life’s experiences. Indeed, life is really full of surprises as I have my own shared struggles as a young OFW.
Being a young OFW
It is quite common that one of the main struggles of an OFW is longing for your home. The hours of the night felt longer than daytime as you don’t have a choice but to end the day alone. As recognized by many, young OFWs are seen as happy-go-lucky ones as they are still in the first flush of adulting. Cliché as it sounds but there is no exact definition that can completely express the struggle of being apart from your home no matter what age. Being a young OFW is also tough as it has its own different dilemma.
As the famous quote says, “we’re only young once”. There is always a freedom to being young, and being a young OFW means giving up a part of it. It means giving up Christmas and New Year’s Eve with your family, once-in-a-lifetime class gatherings, and even just the ordinary days with your parents where you just sit and laugh at random things; and these are a big part of being young.
The rewards of living overseas
On the other hand, being a young OFW also has its respective rewards.
One of the rewards is meeting your own kind of people. New people who you never expect to make a huge impact in your life. As one of the few youths living in a distant province here in Thailand, I get the chance to cross paths with people who became my newfound brothers and sisters, my family away from home. Indeed, being an OFW will make you witness for yourself that the value of being a Makabayan will always prevail even in a foreign country.
“Being a young OFW is like taking an advanced step to one of life’s greatest battles, adulting. Coming to Thailand may only be out of my curiosity to experience youth, but I could truly say that when I leave this country, I have definitely gained something worth incomparable.”
Wrapping it up
Being a young OFW is like taking an advanced step to one of life’s greatest battles, adulting. Coming to Thailand may only be out of my curiosity to experience youth, but I could truly say that when I leave this country, I have definitely gained something worth incomparable.
I have seen life through the lens of these different OFWs that have been selflessly sacrificing for their family. It has been an overwhelming experience to have seen different people at different ages but is working with the same goal which is to help their family back home.
As the famous line goes, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. Indeed, my life began on a new different level when I decided to be one of this generation’s modern-day heroes.
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