It's Been A Year, Sydney
Would you believe that it has been a year since we migrated here in Sydney? I don't know what happened but just like that, we just completed our first 365 days living abroad. A lot of things happened, challenges overcame and lessons learned. We may have veered away from our adjustment phase but the feeling of being overwhelmed is still very much present. Now I finally understand what our fellow OFWs say, mahirap mamuhay sa ibang bansa. Yes, our income may seem big when you convert the dollars we earn to Philippine Peso, but living far away from your immediate family, living outside your comfort zone, having to juggle your work responsibilities, household duties and personal responsibilities on your own, without your usual help can be really exhausting.
While there were plenty of lessons we have learned the past year, I'd like to focus on the most important realization we had, moving here in Sydney - family and priorities.
Family. Our goal to give a better life for Leon and for ourselves was the main reason why we took the opportunity moving here. Simple - moving to Australia means Leon would have a better quality of life, get a better education, and be more independent. For us, we wanted to live here cause we wanted to experience a work-life balance that would allow us to work and provide for the family whilst not affecting the quality of time we spend with each other.
The initial plan for myself was to stay-at-home and take care of Leon. At first, I thought I was living my dream. I remember wishing for nothing else but to be a full-time mom. I was happy then, and very much fulfilled. I thought I was living my dream until reality made me realize that my husband was actually struggling to keep up with the finances. I started to feel guilty and useless. Yes, my husband's single income can indeed support our basic family needs but may not afford our savings or our long-term dreams. That's when we made a decision to change the set-up. With me working, I can now contribute a good amount of money to fund for things that matter to us - development of Leon's social skills, savings and have some extra to afford experiences.
Experiences. Paolo and I value quality (note, quality, not quantity) time - a lot. We consider experiences as our luxury, rather than shopping or designer brands. We love going outside, trying out new restaurants, visiting new places, trying out new things. For us, filling our hearts and our minds with beautiful memories is very important to our family. Having the capacity to do and afford this affects our joy and fulfillment in life. Me having a job allowed us to do this, and to experience more,
Our recent trip to Wollongong just made us more inspired. Being able to spend time with Leon, seeing him laugh, seeing us laugh while he laughs - it was one of the most beautiful feeling ever. That happiness radiates encourages us to do better. Hence, me finding a job was a win-win decision for us. It helped us greatly in our finances, it made us feel empowered an in control. It also allowed us to fund for Leon's (very expensive) daycare, which became very very beneficial for him. He is now more sociable, and more active. He now prefers to play, read books, interact, rather than be on gadgets all day - which we really appreciate.
Being here in Sydney enabled us to experience having a career yet be with your family at the same time. Paolo and I have normal 8.5-hour, Strict 8.5-hour jobs that require you to leave your desk the moment your shift ends. Though exhausted, we are able to go home and still be able to spend good quality time together. We get to set our priorities straight while trying to maintain a good work-life balance.
Hope you liked our photos from Wollongong! I'd like to share more, hopefully I could compose more blog posts soon.