Today marks my 2nd week here in the United Arab Emirates.
The only reason I haven’t written anything for so long since I arrived here is because I am still trying to make myself suitable with my new environment. This is the first time that I am moving out from the Philippines into overseas so the transition wasn’t that easy. Yesterday though, I was fortunate enough to gather some inspiration while I roamed by myself around the place that I am living in.
My sense of adventure has always been wild especially when I’m at a new place but for some strange reason I kind of take a step back in terms of doing fun and crazy new experiences. There are times when I’m trying so hard to learn and expose myself to the amazing things I’m seeing but in the end I’m sensing the lack of sparks. The only way that I know to complete the missing piece is by walking outside by myself and understand the place that I am in first hand.
My guard is on high alert because I have this general fear that an Arab might abduct me and does some horrible things to me. But like every traveler keeps on telling, the world is actually safer than we think if we try to personally walk through it rather than seeing or hearing it elsewhere. The people here are so nice and smiley and won’t definitely take us for granted.
I would always remember the time when I was walking at a pavement outside the park and navigating my way to the main entrance, there was this Arab kid who I thought was smiling to someone behind me but I realized it was me who he was smiling at because he extended his arm in front of me and wanted me to high five him. My heart immediately warmed and without a doubt, I completely let my guard down.
Entering the park finally allowed me to think of how different Philippines is. As I said I’ve never been outside my country so I don’t have a point of reference for comparison. United Arab of Emirates is a first-world country. I was hugely in awe when I toured the city of Dubai. Their mode of transportations will never be beaten by my country. Everything is in order and controlled by a card that each individual owns for a lifetime. Every public toilets is clean and huge. The malls aren’t just ordinary shopping centers — they can put massive aquarium, indoor ski resort, or huge ark if they want to. I learned the meaning of a third-world country by just being here and it made me feel sorry for the Philippines. To best compare, the park I saw was just a simple one in this place but if you brought it to the Philippines it would already be on the grand scale.
The sun was almost gone when I stepped at the center of the park. I sat at a bench on the far end in between two enormous soccer fields. I stared at the moon and within 5 seconds I cried two fat tears. I stopped denying to myself how much I missed home so bad. Being away from home can get a little depressing especially when I have truthfully built a solid comfort in it. I miss my room where I can stay all day and night long without worrying for a bit. I miss my town that I sometimes hate. I miss basically everything that I left behind. My morale was so low at that time and all I could think of was, “I am sincerely ready to go back home.”
And it felt like a humiliating defeat because I knew for a fact that I’ve been dreaming so hard to be here since my Junior Year in college. When I had my internship and my bosses asked me what position I wanted to have in the company, I told them it didn’t matter because I would be going to work in Dubai. Even in my review classes I was arrogant to keep telling people that whether I pass or fail the Board Exam, it wouldn’t matter because I would fly overseas. I rejected countless job offers in the Philippines.
I was ashamed of myself sitting there at the park under a bright moon. I thought to myself, “What the fuck was I thinking?” Life here is different and something I never imagined in my wildest dream. I pride myself at the thought that I am young, I am 21, and I want to do risky big moves in my life. I wanted to be known as someone who made bold moves and be applauded for that. But I assessed my situation and asked myself if I just instead made the biggest dumb move in life. Did I just came here way too early without any experience and in the worst wrong timing?
Aside from gathering perspective and understanding new culture, I am also learning how to be humble. I can’t predict my future. I can’t walk my daily life informing people, “Okay this is how big my life will be in few moments and you have to watch out for it.” I can’t wake up one day and find myself to be better than anyone in my generation. No great thing happens overnight. If I turn out to be nothing eventually then I guess I’ll have to live with the consequences. I’m not gonna promise myself anything now. Maybe I’ll stop overplaying life and just solemnly nod to whatever that’s coming after me.