Being a first-time expatriate coming to Saudi Arabia, my journey has started with the sadness of leaving my family back in my home.Travelling in altitude of thirty-five to forty thousand feet while crossing the five thousand miles,my mind was occupied with lots of encircling thoughts that made me quite thrilled and at the same time nervous of what would be the life overseas await for me.
Coming from a different country, it was quite difficult for me to spend the daily life filled with big surprises of adjustment and flexibility most especially during the early days, weeks and months of my stay. Living away from family brought the feeling of uncertainty, misgiving, and anxiety that disturbed me every night before my bed, which seemed to be a very long night of solitude.
I’ve got the dilemma of doubting my strength in breaking the shadow of homesickness. Spending times amidst of this arid land is an acid test to pass that every migrant worker has to undergo. Battling the big challenges of living away from home caused by homesickness is survival of the fittest. To overcome boredom is threading the eye of the needle which is growing high in the long stretched of empty hours during weekend. I wished to set the time of the clock and literary pull the hours only to complete my journey. These things that happened everyday felt me strange and nearly sunk me in feeling of loneliness and isolation. No matter how tough the man can be, even the strongest men come to a certain point of becoming weak and have no option but to nearly weep (at least).
I was lucky to have my supportive family back home who kept me inspired to handle these things during my most troubled times. And when I’vegot able to tune up myself with the new environment and have realized the rare opportunity given to me to work in a world renowned and reputable company, I have able to get my feet back to the right track. My life has started to become meaningful and rewarding with the experience I have acquired while working here, an experience that I will cherish when I decided to go home and depart this place for good.
For all first-time expatriates who are experiencing the same feeling that I’d been through, like me you can get over from this burden. When times come you are becoming vulnerable, think the love of your family that will furnish the strength you need. Look at the blessings of being independent rather than the pain of being alone. The opportunity, group of new friends, and experience are the things that shape our personality and signify our existence. And sooner or later, you will find this splendid, serene and poetic place as your second home.
The life of working expatriates in foreign country like Saudi Arabia is always unique experience and challenging. Learn to evolve your natural mechanism to adapt to your new environment, be open-minded, and love to live the simple life to make your temporary migration an interesting and productive. When time comes you have to depart this place for good, surely there will be some tears to shed in your eyes. And soon, all these things will become a warm and fond memory in your thinning profile to look back.
By Alex V. Villamayor
October 18, 2014