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Away/From Home

I’ve been living in Holland for 9 months now for Cultural Exchange in Universiteit Leiden (Leiden University). Throughout my journey, the most common question I always get is whether I miss home and of course I do, especially Chicken Adobo! There’s no question about that. The thing is, abandoning everything you know is liberating.

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People say we need to step out of our comfort zone for a little while, but I think you should leap out of it. Living abroad gives you the chance to integrate with a different society and culture—not only experience the tourist-y parts but see how people live, eat local food, and widen your mind in ways you never thought possible. But it does have its downside: one big one that I had to deal with is homesickness.

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It is way harder than I thought! It forces me to grow. When I make mistakes, I am the only one accountable for them. And that forces me to either change, or push them under the rug only to have them bite me in the ass later. And times like that, I miss my family the most. I miss venting out to them. Now, I can’t just go home and cry in front of mommy to lessen the burden (and as a crybaby, I’m telling you it’s hard!) I remember calling them just so I can hear their voices, to the point when my aunt asked me to speak my mind even if my voice was shaking.

But beyond all these emotions, I ALWAYS REMIND MYSELF WHY I AM HERE. Always remembering why you’re abroad will aid the adaptation process and give you the drive to work through any difficult feelings you’re having. Because the best thing about home is that it will always be there as a security blanket. And no matter how far you venture, when you come back you’ll realize that in reality, not much has drastically changed. As my Mommy would always say: “…Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.” – Shannen Francisco

Away/from Home gives Filipinos overseas a space for them to share their stories about building a new life in a new country. Read about their experiences, good or bad, and remember that even if we’re in different parts of the world, the Philippines will always be our home.


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