In the television series The Story of Us, we get a glimpse of the life of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) through the character of Tin played by Kim Chiu. But to help us further understand, here are things they really deal with on a daily basis:
1. Unfamiliarity. People may argue that an OFW has long been working in a foreign country. They may say it’s been months, years even. But there are still places, beliefs, customs, traditions that will always remain unfamiliar—sometimes, things that would even put them in uneasy situations.
Tin bracing herself for the new life she's about to face upon arriving at the airport to meet her long-estranged mother.
2. Cynicism. Trusting someone in a foreign place can both work to an OFW’s advantage and disadvantage. However, since everything is new and at times, strange, it is only understandable when they hold off on sharing their life with anyone until they can tell for sure who to trust.
Skeptic feels for when you're not entirely sure yet who to trust.
3. Fatigue. This has almost always been a given already but that can’t be stressed enough. While there’s a certain impression on an OFW leading a life with much “progress,” the extreme physical tiredness that goes with working two or more jobs just to make things happen will always be underrated.
Tin works doubletime as a housecleaner and a waitress just to send money to the Philippines.
4. Sadness. For an OFW, sadness is missing a special day of their loved ones—be it a graduation, birthday, or wedding. Sadness is also the constant worry over not being there with them physically.
Tin putting up with the sad feels of a long distance relationship with Macoy, played by Xian Lim.
5. Loneliness. This, however, is missing their loved ones on any given day. Loneliness is hoping the thousand miles between them and their families don’t exist so they can feel their warmth or simply share a simple prayer or meal together again.
Tin not letting loneliness get in the way. There's videocall these days, after all.
6. Fulfillment. Most possibly the best thing about working abroad is the sense of fulfillment the OFWs get despite dealing with all the things mentioned above—that sense of fulfillment knowing they can provide enough, or more than enough, so their families can live comfortably and enjoy a better quality of life, that sense of fulfillment knowing they are working for something meaningful like a bright future that just make all the sacrifices worth it.
That moment when you know you're able to pay for your sibling's medical operation, like Tin.
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Photograph screencapped from ABS-CBN Entertainment's Official Youtube Channel