Shock. Feeling inferior.
Those are the first negative feelings I felt during my first few months in Dubai. I am a registered nurse in the Philippines. I have two years experience in our city’s government health institution. I could say that I am a happy-go-lucky person. I don’t entertain problems. I treat them as challenges. My friends kept on asking me why I came to Dubai. They were telling me that I don’t need to. Our family has a 24 year old business already in the Philippines. I could be helping them grow the business. But there is something inside of me that keeps telling me to “go”. The reason? Well, personal reasons. I was running away from an old romance. Enough. Move on. 🙂
I was 25 years old when I decided to come to Dubai. I told myself I will be a nurse in Dubai but due to lack of preparation, I came unprepared. I don’t have a DHA license for me to practice my profession here in the UAE. But still, I kept applying to big hospitals hoping they would consider me to have them in their team and later on acquire my DHA license. I even got a salary offer of 12,000 AED as a Delivery Nurse in Abu Dhabi. But things turned out pretty bad. I admit. I came unprepared. I didn’t even authenticate my documents or the so-called “RED RIBBON”. It was a battle for me.
I have no choice but to get other jobs. I applied in Event Management. I applied in Sales. I applied in Government sectors. I also applied in Gulf News to be a feature writer. But I wasn’t lucky to find a good job with a good salary in that case. They would offer me 1,500 AED and worse — a salary as low as 1,000 AED. What was that all about? Is it because of my nationality? Hmm. I’ll have to find that one out.
When the time came that my 1 month visa is near expiration, I cried. I cried so hard. I called my mother in the Philippines. I called my cousin to find me a work. I asked her if she has contacts here in the UAE. She was working before here in the UAE for 7 years — that’s why. I kept crying until there was no more tears to shed. A day after my dramatic moment– I got a call from an Indian guy based on his accent. I was scheduled for an interview. At first I was hesitant to come to the interview because they were telling me to meet them at Starbucks in Burjuman. But, I have to take a risk. How will I know if I won’t go? To make the story short, I went there and it turned out pretty good. After an hour of going home from that interview, I received a message from my “employer” that I was hired to be an Office Administrator.
From hospitals to corporate world– what a turn over. Life is a ferris wheel. Indeed. But that is okay for me. I was a National Champion in Literary Feature Writing in the Philippines. I can be in front of the computer. I could write. I have a good command of English. I could not be mistaken as a Pinoy with my American accent. I was an asset to my company. I think I’ll just simply be an “office woman” but not. They say Filipinos here are jack of all trades. You do things that are not included in your scope of work. Pero wala silang reklamo na maririnig sa atin. Innate na kasi sa atin ang pagiging matulungin at matiisin. (Hoping for a salary increase this year! Ahaha)
Months have passed and living in Dubai is somewhat different from what I have lived in the Philippines made me realize that life is meant to be appreciated. I am spending what I just need to spend. You cannot spend half of your monthly income in just one blink of an eye or else you’ll end up with nothing. In short, I knew the value of money. I don’t value money so much but I know how to be thrifty which is not in my “personality” before.
Every time I go to malls, I always keep in mind of my “times twelve rule.” Conversion. I admit I still do convert until now. In that way, I could save my money! Hahaha!
So, my question is… Is it because of our nationality that Filipinos are not being paid well in the UAE? How do they look at us? Well, I now know the answer and I think only Kabayans who are here in the UAE can testify to the answer to my question. Mind boggling. Good thing: Kabayans are hospitable and has a fun-loving persona according to my Indian friend. Mabuti na lang at bumawi si kabayan sa pagiging masayahin at positibo.
I am still new here. I am almost on my first year here in Dubai. Loving the place and the independence Dubai has given me. I know I have lots of things to experience and I am open to those things that might have to change my perception about that one question in my mind.