That Roller-coaster Ride Called 2017
2017 was a big year for our family. For Paolo and I, 2017 was the year where our prayer was answered - to be given an opportunity to build a new life in another country. Luckily, through my husband’s company, our family was given sponsorship to work and study here.
It was February 2017 when we first came into Sydney. With no family or relatives nearby, we were fortunate to have friends who helped us start our lives in this busy and very expensive city. For 2 weeks, our friends, Fenrich and Ria Williams accommodated us to their home. They helped us settle in New South Wales - drove us around for house inspections and help us find our apartment here. Along with our other friends (who are based in Sydney) they even helped us buy our home furniture and appliances - which very much eased our the process of us settling in.
While the idea migrating, moving in and living independently seemed very exciting, the reality was opposite of what we expected. Living abroad, far from our families, far from the comforts of our home was harder than we imagined. We have no choice but to do things on our own - cook, clean, wash the dishes, do the laundry, take care of the son and so on. It was something, to be honest, I was not ready to do.
I spent the first 6 months staying at home and taking care of our son, Leon. While being a SAHM was like a dream come true for me, it was actually harder than I thought. Aside from the fact that I had to learn to “domesticate” myself, I also had to learn to teach and discipline Leon. The latter was the harder cause it took us a while to learn each other’s antics. There were times I found myself crying - frustrated and not knowing what to do. Nakakabaliw pala pag ikaw lang mag-isa. However, fast forward, we finally found our rhythm and I’m proud to say that Leon finally learned to listen to us.
Then there’s this dilemma of single income source. Initially, The staying-at-home while the husband is at work set-up was working. However, there came a time that one income is not enough to sustain the expenses of the family. In the middle of the year, due to the changes of the visa regulation here in Australia, we were asked to apply for a permanent residency visa, which is requiring us to pay an amount of $14,000 - an amount which we do not have as of the meantime.
With our savings having been used to fund our initial (settling-in) expenses, raising that amount means affecting our liquidity here in Sydney. Willingly, I had to step up and help my husband bring in more money in the household. With the aim to not feel unproductive, I started doing freelance work and job hunting - which was really really challenging.
While health problems (iron levels getting really low) and job rejections became my low points for 2017, our biggest blow was Leon’s condition. Our move to Sydney indeed affected him physically, mentally and emotionally.
Emotionally, Leon had to adjust to the fact that his Wowa Rose, Nanay Juvy, Jaijai and Lola Mama are no longer around to spoil him or comfort him. Whenever he was on great emotional distress, he would look for them. Yet, as time goes by, he learned to accept the new setup and recognized his mom and dad’s authority.
Our migration took a blow on Leon’s health. Probably still adjusting to the germs and viruses in Australia, Leon had a terrifying seizure episode which tested my presence of mind. Barely 3 months in, I had to call 000 for the first time. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life- waiting for the ambulance team while Leon’s body shook uncontrollably. Luckily, we were cleared - it was just a febrile seizure - which the cause remained to unknown until this point.
Then there was this stressful, depressing and terrifying, 16-day confinement due to pneumonia. Due to mismanagement, Leon’s pneumonia developed a pleural effusion which required 2 procedures - pleural drain and lung surgery. It was the hardest 2, heartbreaking 2 weeks of our lives - to witness our precious only child be in so much pain. Until now, I am haunted by the images of him having an oxygen support, with tubes coming out from his body, of him breathing for his life. There are times that I still question myself - if I am doing the right thing for the family.
Our married life was challenged too, in fact. Just imagine the number of things we need to learn, the situations we need to adjust to — it all brought a toll to our relationship as well. We, have to unlearn a lot of habits and practices and start a new one. We had to learn to help each other, step up and do chores, no matter how tired or exhausted you were. This “initiative” thing took a while to develop but I am proud, we are proud that slowly, we have finally learned to delegate tasks and communicate.
2017 was indeed a rollercoaster ride for our family and while I’m weighing if it has been a good or a challenging year for us, It must be the latter. 2017 have given us an opportunity to build a good life for the family but it also showed us that good things come with a challenge too. 2017 may be tough, but I know that it gave us numerous lessons, lessons that helped stregthen us to achive a bigger and brighter 2018
xx, The Mommy Roves