Updated: Oct 29, 2022
by: Fadela Flordeliza
"Kung di dahil sa love life baka malamang sa malamang di ako makakaabot ng United Kingdom." I silently laughed because setting foot in England was just a childhood dream. I went on a holiday to visit someone, and since I have relatives in Wales, I might as well bond with them. I saw touristy spots and the famed castle, and finally, I had a glimpse of real-life snow. Awed by the lovely parks and the calming vibe of nature, I have noticed that nobody judged what I chose to wear everywhere I go. "Kung sa Pilipinas ako, may magtatanong kung saang binyag ako attend at bakit ganyan ang outfit ko". Then and there, I felt like I belonged!
Apart from the sceneries and unique experiences I had during my UK vacation, I certainly got inspired by the "bonggang" English accent. As I returned to the Middle East, I felt a strong drive to pursue a massive career goal... to work and live in the UK.
I revised for my English Exams while working on night shifts in the Operating Theatre. "Minsan napuputol pa ang aral kasi may Emergency Surgery. Ilang beses din ako bumagsak, kasi hirap na katawan ko mag aral after shift na walang tulog tapos I had to make my neurons work to for the english practice tests". One doctor even told me, "Hey, I heard you flunked your exam". Mangiyak- iyak ako sa sama ng loob sabay galit na sinabihan sya na, " If it is about work that's fine but if it's about my personal life, it is none of your business". I booked my exam in Leeds before filing my resignation,"BAHALA NA.. sabi ko sa sarili ko".
The Immigration held me for a while dahil umexit na ako sa Saudi but I was still technically employed because on a holiday naman ako, yun nga lang di ko na nirenew yung contract ko. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, "Lord if this is your will, malalampasan ko immigration. Nakalabas din ako ng airport harinawa and gumala".
I went to see my friend in Leeds, doon muna ako nag aral for a week before my exam but three days before my schedule, napaalis ako sa accommodation in the middle of winter. Luckily, I got help in booking an Airbnb near the exam center pero parang sinuntok sa sikmura yung baon ko eh pocket money ko pa yan sa Pinas. I prodded on, took my exam, and went off to Cardiff.
I went back to see my Tito and my wonderful family there, and did some sightseeing as usual and gumala sa outlet store. I saw a beautiful pair of Timberland boots with heels but I can’t risk shopping since my funds already had an accident during my first few days na lost yung luggage ko and the airbnb expenses. Every time napapadaan ako sa outlet na yun, hanggang tingin lang talaga ako sa boots. Sabi ko, "Di bale kapag UKRN na ako kaya ko na yang bilihin na hindi nasestress kung magkano".
One day, I received my English Exam Result and sumablay na naman writing ko na isang mark. I cried my heart out kasi ang unfair naman, ang layo layo na ng inabot ko tapos may sablay… balik Saudi na naman ba ako?
My Tita checked online kung may changes ba sa English Requirements and she discovered na I can retake only the bit kung saan ako bumagsak. I confirmed it with Nmc bago ako umuwi ng Pinas. I studied my ass off while I was there and Tito even got me my own study table para di na sana ako agad agad umuwi sa Pinas but since kasal ng kapatid ko napilitan akong umuwi.
I booked my writing exam in Makati a day before my brother’s wedding, umuwi ako ng Davao right after the exam. After a few days, I passed the exam. "Iyak ako ng iyak, ang laki ng gastos ko but it was well worth it. Akala ko madali nalang makabalik ng UK sabi ko in six months andon na ulit ako, namimiss ko na sina Tito".
Months dragged on and super delayed ng decision letter ko. It took 10 months before it was given to me. My funds were running low, but since I got offers from agencies, I was still optimistic and thought that by March "baka nasa UK na ako".
Covid came and literally stopped the world from moving. The processing of my application slowed down, and to make it worse, nurses were banned from leaving the country "kasi understaffed ang Pinas".
Nurses were pawns to health crisis that turned into a political agenda. I was thinking at the time, "If they were to force me to stay in Pinas, eh magmamatigas din akong di na magnurse di bale na". We rallied online to get our point across and exposed the system of abuse towards nurses. "Sa wakas, umabot din ako sa finish line at nakalabas ng bansa".
It took two years for me to come back to Wales. I was emotional because "this time wala na si Tita due to Covid". She was instrumental in keeping my spirits up when I was ready to give up my dreams of working here.
As I started working in the UK, a lot happened. I started as a senior carer in a Care Home before I passed OSCE and finally got my pin. It was tough learning the ropes of a new area and a steep learning curve for me. "Nalaman ko na ibang iba pala ang buhay ng nagtatrabaho dito compared nung tourist ako".
As I strolled again into the outlet store of McArthur Glen, I passed by Timberland and there it was, the "boots" I fancied a few years ago. Sabi ko dati, kapag bumalik ako sa shop na yun and binili ko ang boots, it meant na UKRN na ako.
It felt like a trip to memory lane na ginawa ko syang motivation, this time binili ko na ang boots na matagal ko nang gusto. Sa hinaba haba ng pinagdaanan ko, andito na ako opening doors. As I packed my luggage so I can go back to my area of assignment, I was finally able to say “goal met”.
About the author:
Fadela currently works as a nurse in a UK Care Home. A fun-loving person who loves to travel, mostly spends time in the gym in her free time and sometimes dabbles in writing when she's in the mood.