Today marks my first year in Abu Dhabi, well, technically, I landed yesterday but my life in Abu Dhabi didn’t start until the day after, which is today – exactly a year ago.
I packed my bags and left all the comforts that a home has to offer to fulfill one of my dreams. As a person who loves travelling, I’ve always dreamed of being an expat – to work and live in a different country and meet a variety of multi-cultured people.
I’ve always been independent – I’ve moved to a different city for college and stayed after graduation for work. Technically, I’ve only been visiting my hometown since 2007. I’ve made a life in my second home, Cebu City, a metropolis in the Philippines. I find myself saying “Cebu” when someone asks me which city I’m from in the Philippines and always add the fact that my hometown is a tinier city called Ormoc.
And even though I’ve had enough training of being far away from my parents, it didn’t made adjusting easier for me. When I landed, I only knew of two people in the city and we didn’t even meet until weeks and months after. I came here bare and raw, with nothing but my bag filled with hopes and promises of growth and self-discovery.
Abu Dhabi has been a gracious host. It has given me some worthwhile experiences and has afforded me memories I wouldn’t trade anything for. I have met people from around the globe and my knowledge on culture continues to expands. I work with diverse nationalities with very different culture and yet, we find ourselves together working to reach the same goal.
I’ve seen things happening in Abu Dhabi that would never happened anywhere else in the world. Amazing architectural beauties that fills the heart of the city, I’ve taken glimpses of new luxuries I couldn’t have even imagined. There’s always a Ladies Night somewhere where we could drink cocktails and dance all night long.
And mostly, I’ve learned to appreciate the rich Islamic culture of this country. I’m glad that I have gotten myself more acquainted with Islam and how it is an integral part of every day life here. If I have any questions about it, I only ask my Muslim friends and they’re happy to talk to me about their faith.
I am glad that I took the opportunity to work here. It might not be rainbows and sunshines all the time, and it might have been difficult when I didn’t have a physical support system but I’ve grown. I might not be able to point what’s different about me, but I know somehow I am. I think differently, I might talk differently now, I might even have new habits, and this is part of growing up. I’ve met people here that I’ll always cherish.
Have my hopes been fulfilled? Not everything, but it’s a continuous process. I might not find everything that I wanted here, but I definitely found something. I’m not entirely sure if my goal to self-discovery has been successful, but I know this journey has pushed me in so many ways.
It’s been a year since I haven’t been home. I’ve missed birthdays, family trips, get togethers, Christmas and New Year but it made me stronger. I’m planning to go home on May and I cannot wait to hug my family, my friends and my dogs! I’ve missed so many things from home, and I really cannot wait. 🙂