Quite some time has passed since I last updated here. I’ve always kept a journal and often written down my thoughts, but for some reason, I’ve been hesitant to post some of the more personal stories here on my blog. (I know, it goes against the whole point of this being an online diary.)
Well, I guess I’m ready to share a bit of an updated version of my backstory with you now…
The pandemic was a major factor. For almost two years, we were subject to quarantine regulations. Things like lockdowns, restricting children’s access to the outdoors, sending only one adult out at a time to do basic errands like grocery shopping, and requiring official permission to travel beyond our immediate area were all experiences for us. The worst part is that my kids had to attend two years of school entirely online. Because I believe they deserve more than just being stuck inside our home, I decided to let them out. They must interact with other children. They must get more exposure to the outside world. So, Rhys and I have talked it over, and we agree. That being said, the choice to migrate has been made. (Not to mention, I dislike the new government. Sorry not sorry.)
To cut a long story short, on August 2nd, we touched down in Australia. We rented a house that we found online before coming here. Sorted our car as well. I enrolled Lexi and Noah in school and kindy, respectively, three weeks after we got here. In addition, Rhys had to leave for work again three weeks after we got there.
How challenging were our initial days?
Our first few days here were just like being on holiday. We came during the winter and we’re still getting used to the cold temperatures, which we had never before encountered in the Philippines. We spent a lot of quality time together as a family and made some wonderful memories. To make the house feel more like a home, we did a lot of shopping. Since our rental home came fully furnished, all we needed were a few personal touches to make it feel like home. Our home may be old, but we couldn’t ask for a better spot, being so close to so many beautiful beaches. How challenging was it? It wasn’t until my husband left us to go back to work that I realized it.
For two months, my husband’s mother stayed with us to provide companionship and assistance with driving the kids to and from school and running errands. We have a lot to be thankful for, especially her. For the first two months, I drove with my Philippine license since I had not yet received my Australian license. I had to get used to driving in a manner that differs from what I’m used to in my home country.
To be honest, I was miserable and homesick the entire time my husband was away for work. There were a lot of things and people I missed. I just didn’t feel at home here. We moved here with nothing but a few suitcases full of clothes, leaving behind a brand-new home and a comfortable resting place with all the perks I need. Before we moved here, I had easy access to my loved ones whenever I wanted or needed them. A caretaker and helper who are more than happy to assist me with any task I ask for. And now here I am, in this foreign land, with no familiar faces to turn to for comfort and support. I cried in private because I missed home. But you know what kept me going? It’s my kids. I see how much they enjoy the beautiful nature and the clean environment we have now—not to mention the amazing free beaches and parks everywhere. I can tell that they enjoy going to school and spending time with their peers. Their happiness radiates off of me. And this is exactly what I can’t give them at home. As a mother, this is what completes me.
In my third month in Queensland, I was able to acquire my driver’s license by passing the state’s driving exam. My two younger sisters were also granted temporary visas with my help. To God be the glory! Truth be told, I’ll miss having someone around to help out when my husband goes back to work and my mother-in-law leaves. (She is a twenty-hour drive away.) Indeed, the prayers of the faithful are heard and answered by God. When I asked my two sisters if they could come over to help me out in the beginning, they readily agreed because they both work and go to school online. It’s been exactly three months and 23 days since I first arrived in Australia. And here I am, very happy and satisfied. All the prayers that have been answered and all the doors that have opened, I have been thankful for. At this point, I am still in the process of settling in, but so far, it has been everything I could have hoped for and more. As a full-time mom to my two active children, my days now fly by. My daily activities would require a separate article if I were to describe them. There are still lots of plans and prayers for the near future, and I pray that I can soon write about my success.
SIX important learnings to share:
1. DO NOT GIVE UP! THE FIRST STEPS ARE USUALLY THE MOST CHALLENGING. Making a fresh start is not only challenging but also quite scary. For the sake of raising my children, I left my home and comfortable lifestyle behind. When my husband is gone for weeks at a time for work, I feel like a single mom. But please understand that he is a wonderful provider and the best husband a woman could ask for. While at home, he takes a very active role in everything. So once again, yes, it is very difficult to begin something from scratch without any assurance. Every morning, I have to put on my brave mummy face if I want to get through the day and ensure that tomorrow is even better than today. And it works. They would have been miserable if I had given up. Keep in mind that no one ever achieved their goals by giving up early. Recently, I’ve made an effort to get out more, mingle with others, and generally enjoy life. In fact, I was able to locate and connect with my church family, and everyone there is awesome.
2. THE GOD I WORSHIP IS GOOD AND FAITHFUL. Every time I’m faced with difficult circumstances, I draw strength from my faith. Not one prayer that I can think of has ever gone unanswered. May it be a yes, a no, or a wait. Just recently, I received an immediate answer to my prayer. Whenever feelings of loneliness overcame me, I would break down in prayer. I asked the Lord to grant my wish by having my loved ones come to see me during the first few days of my relocation, and it happened. The response was an instant affirmation. My parents and two sisters had their visas processed and approved in two weeks, at which point I was able to book their plane tickets. Who would have thought? Every opportunity our family has been given is a blessing, for which we are eternally grateful to God. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
3. STRETCH YOUR HEART. One of the things that have been weighing on me is the fear that I won’t be able to find supportive relationships like the ones I’ve had back home. There’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining quality friendships, which is why I never expect it to happen overnight. While this may be true, I know that I will never be able to establish roots in this community or make new friends unless I am willing to open my heart to others. Yes, it will never be simple or quick, but I must be willing to grow and allow wonderful new people into my heart. As I make new ones, I can always hold on to the old ones. I just gotta be brave to stretch my heart and my ability to love.
4. THE QUALITY OF ONE’S LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE QUANTITY OF IT. You can’t even begin to fathom how many great pieces of clothing, shoes, bags, and household items we had to leave behind in order to make the move to Australia. The few pieces of clothing we brought with us were all we had with us when we landed. I’m not materialistic or a social climber, but those who know me well understand that I take pride in my appearance. It’s nothing major, but it helps me feel a bit more confident to face the day. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it’s not the size of my house or the quality of my clothes that matters most. The present is all that really matters. The most important part is being together as a family. It’s the happiness we feel together and the time we spend having a good laugh. What we do and where we go together. This is what will last forever. The memories we make and the people who mean the most to us are more important.
5. HOME IS NOT A PLACE, IT IS A FEELING OF BEING LOVED AND SECURE. I don’t know about you, but when my husband and I take our children somewhere, we instantly feel at home. I feel safe. I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. We have always loved traveling, and every place we go to and enjoy together feels like home to me.
6. I AM BLESSED AND FAVORED. I SHALL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL. Everything that has been given to me and my loved ones, from opportunities to the love we have received, I count as a blessing. I recognize that our situation is far from ideal, but it is better than I ever dared hope for. In spite of the inevitable ups and downs, I vow to always approach life with an attitude of gratitude.
THANKS FOR READING! SENDING YOU MUCH LOVE. GOD BLESS! xoxo