A yearly tradition I have on the blog is a special post where I list and thank those people who have been dear to me for the year that has passed. I’ve been writing this list since 2011.
[Here’s 7 years’ worth of the People of my Year series]
It’s no secret that I’ve written way too less blog posts the past year, took way too less photos, and even went on way too less trips. Year 2019 wasn’t exactly an easy year: I experienced overwhelming homesickness, many times I questioned my life decisions, and I even lost interest on things I was initially passionate about. I don’t know if these changes were caused by aging or by living in a totally different country than I’ve used to (Germany from Philippines), but I’m quite sure I’m a totally different person now. It feels weird, but there’s no other choice but to keep moving.
Another thing I’m sure of is that however different I may become, God still allows me to meet and be surrounded by people who help me get through all the changes and challenges. Out of all these people, I chose a few, the PEOPLE OF MY 2019, who have been my inspiration and strength to conquer the past 12 months.
Year 2019 gave me a legit taste of living away from home. Unlike in 2018 where I spent half the year in the Philippines and the other half in Germany, 2019 was spent mostly in German land. By August 2019, just a little over half the year, I was already crying to my boss telling her I want to go home. When my leave was approved, I booked a flight and surprised my family to a Christmas homecoming. Three months from now, I’m going home again to celebrate my birthday in the Philippines. Yes, homesickness is real. Believe me.
I recently met a number of overseas workers or expats, people not living in their homelands for one reason or another, and I couldn’t help but be in awe when they tell me they haven’t been home in 5,7, or 10 years! How on earth is that possible? I was barely two years away and I already cried my heart out.
I could never put into writing how difficult my and millions of other expats’ situations are, but to everyone stomaching the daily homesickness, you have my utmost respect.
On September 2019, I became a full-pledge nurse in Germany. I finally finished all the exams, rotations, and requirements to be worthy of the title. While I did most of the work, I couldn’t have done it the way I did without my awesome colleagues. Thank you for answering my often stupid questions, for deciphering my endorsement in broken German, and for all the patience.
I always tell my mom how I am the youngest staff in my station (patients often mistaken me as a student). And although my mom is miles away, I’m blessed to have colleagues who always look after me as if I’m one of their children.
A few months ago, I was very anxious working alone on a night shift. Imagine having very little hospital experience and not being able to speak fluent German then I’d be alone with more than 20 patients for 10-hour shifts. I was very scared but many of my colleagues gave me their personal numbers and told me I can call them anytime (anytime) during the night, in case I need help. Really, what have I done to deserve them?
I remember leaving my dream team at my last job in the Philippines before flying here. I prayed that hopefully, I found another team who’s just as pleasant as the last one. Thank you Lord for granting my prayer.
P.S. Most of my colleagues don’t speak English and though I’m not sure they’ll see this, I feel obliged to translate:
Im September 2019 wurde ich eine Gesundheits- und Krankenpflegerin in Deutschland. Ich bestand alle dafür notwendigen Prüfungen und erfüllte alle sonstigen Anforderungen die notwendig waren, um diesen Titel zu erhalten. Auch wenn ich dies am Ende durch eigene Anstrengung und Arbeit geschafft habe, hätte ich es ohne meine großartigen Kollegen nicht so machen können. Vielen Dank für die Beantwortung meiner oft dummen Fragen, für die Entschlüsselung meiner Übergabe in gebrochenem Deutsch und für all die Geduld.
Ich erzähle meiner Mutter immer, das ich die jüngste Mitarbeiterin auf meiner Station bin (Patienten halten mich oft für eine Studentin). Und obwohl meine Mutter kilometerweit entfernt ist, bin ich gesegnet, Kollegen zu haben, die sich immer um mich kümmern, als ob ich eines ihrer Kinder wäre.
Vor ein paar Monaten war ich sehr besorgt, allein in der Nachtschicht zu arbeiten. Stell dir vor, ich habe sehr wenig Erfahrung im Krankenhaus und kann kein fließendes Deutsch. Ich würde mit mehr als 20 Patienten während einer 10-Stunden-Schicht allein sein. Ich hatte große Angst, aber viele meiner Kollegen gaben mir ihre persönlichen Nummern und sagten mir, ich könne sie jederzeit, jederzeit, während der Nacht anrufen, falls ich Hilfe benötige. Wirklich, was habe ich getan, um das zu verdienen?
Ich erinnere mich, dass ich mein Traumteam bei meinem letzten Job auf den Philippinen verlassen habe, bevor ich hierher geflogen bin. Ich habe gehofft und gebetet, dass ich ein anderes Team finden würde, das genauso angenehm ist wie das letzte. Danke, Herr, dass du mein Gebet erhört hast.
I met Karsten and Doreen in 2018 in Octoberfest in Munich through Couchsurfing and we never stopped writing since then. Karsten visited me once in Stuttgart and I also spent a weekend with them in Berlin last year. They are a fun couple who inspires me to enjoy life. They are currently doing a world tour and writes me greetings from wherever part of the world they are.
I recently lack interest in travelling and would often stay at home and sleep during my free time. With friends like Karsten and Doreen, I hope I get infected with the same amount of energy they have and I get to enjoy life and travelling again. Here’s to a hopeful 2020!
Joy is a friend from the Philippines who also eventually flew here in Germany. She is fairly new here and still calls me Ma’am Peng. Though she is new, she’s adjusting way better and faster than I am. I believe it’s because of her innate positivity. For her, everything is beautiful, delicious, and amazing. I travelled with her to Paris and I wish I have the same enthusiasm that she has. She finds beauty in everything and is always grateful even in the smallest of things.
I guess one reason why I found 2019 to be a very stressful year is because I lack the positivity that Joy has. I am often dissatisfied with money, with the weather, with many things around me. I definitely need someone like Joy to remind me of the beautiful things I have in life and hopefully, this year would be easier for me.
One person who was with me the entire stressful 2019 was Jeanne. Like me, she also tried her luck in Germany by working here as a nurse. This girl is someone you can text in the middle of the night and you can be sure she will reply. She’s always willing to help and even finds it difficult to say ‘no’ to a friend or colleague.
It never occurred to me that we will be close friends, but she put up with my hardheadedness and before I know it, I text her day and night. I don’t easily open up with strangers but with her, I’ve loosened up and the rest is history.
Living in a foreign land is definitely easier with friends you can depend on, and luckily, I found one in her.
Jeanne’s Philippine version is my choirmate turned super close friend, Jamie. We’ve known each other since high school and have performed together in many stages. We grew up together and built a friendship that had surpassed time, and now, location.
Though we are miles apart, we communicate as if we’re just neighbors. Thank God for social media, we were able to keep in touch. Always ready to listen even to my non-sense problems, I couldn’t have survived 2019 without her listening ear. Maraming maraming salamat par.
Thank you everyone. I hope and pray that you, dear reader, had a number of people too, who have made your year pleasurable. Till next year’s list! 🙂