Warning: Long entry. Random ramblings.
Unlike some of my colleagues, I never planned on taking up higher studies. I was content with a Bachelor’s Degree and the jobs I managed to land on with that as my only armour.
What I sure planned on doing was to travel. Work, save, travel. On repeat. I wanted to see the world. I always had that nagging feeling to get out and explore.
So when the opportunity to study in the UK via a scholarship program landed on my lap, I instantly grabbed it.
The only hesitation I had was when I realized I had to leave the job I’ve grown to love. That meant the end of creative brainstorm sessions, fashion and beauty events, and of course, full-time pay checks.
THE IRONY OF IT
It’s a good thing I have other sources of income and I can work here in the UK for a certain number of hours per week. I won’t be earning as much as I used to but enough to get me by. One of the few things I’ve learned from trying to fit in everything I can into one suitcase is that I don’t really need a lot to survive.
It makes me smile when I think of the irony of it. Before, I used to enjoy acquiring things — clothes, watches, jewellery, and the like. But while I was packing my stuff, the more things I saw, the more I felt stressed! My mother was right. To live simply is to be free. Free from the pressure of society to follow trends. Free from my own propensity to spend more than necessary. For my Mama, good relations with people and experience will make one go farther than a new pair of shiny stilettos. And she’s right.
I’m writing this exactly 10 days after I’ve arrived in London. I have been wearing stuff on repeat. I have learned to wash my own clothes. I have survived commuting with a heavy suitcase and a carry-on bag. I have embraced the single-digit weather. I have somehow accepted the change. And I haven’t bought anything unnecessary (i.e. more clothes, watches, shoes, and jewellery).
Now, more than ever, I am grateful for the kind of life my parents have given me back in Manila. Now that I am starting over in a new country, I’ve come to realize how hard it is to do something as simple as settling. I now have a renewed sense of respect for my father who has unselfishly provided for me and my brother, come what may. I now have a deeper understanding of the wise words my mother and my grandmother have both been telling me since forever! Save for the rainy days. Be simple and practical. Be kind to others. Never feel entitled to anything. Work hard and pray hard.
In Manila, we often complain about our work, the traffic, and the small stuff. We forget that we are lucky to have drivers and house helpers to assist us with everything else. Sometimes people get annoyed with waiters not realizing that it’s a blessing they don’t need to serve themselves in restaurants. Here in the UK, most establishments are self-service. And you have to clean your own table. We often complain about our small condos not knowing that in places like London, a 40 square meter flat is already considered a huge house, even for the middle-class. Those are some of the few thoughts that have been going on in my head while I’m inside the Underground Tube here in London, with a huge bag in tow and nobody to help me carry it.
Yes, the value of the pound is still greater than that of the peso. But there are little life luxuries that one enjoys in Manila that would cost a fortune here. And those are the things that I wished I valued more when I was at home. Point is, this experience, although I’ve only been here for 10 days, has given me a new perspective. I think it has made me appreciate the simplest of things and the core essence of life.
I only have to be away for a year and a half. I still don’t know what will happen after my MBA. But I plan to live in THE NOW. And right now, I will do what I came out here to do: Study well, work hard, and bask in the experience.
Before I share the beautiful places I’ve been to here in London so far, I would like to thank each and everyone who has wished me well and helped me get here.
My family– Thank you for allowing me to explore this side of the world. I love you, including Kobe, of course! 🙂
My colleagues– I miss working with you. I love that you always look out for me. I appreciate the random Facebook messages.
My friends– Sorry I would have to miss a few parties but you are free to visit and stay with me here.
My pseudo-moms/ninangs/ates (you know who you are)- I know that you have been praying for me. I will maximize the time and will always keep you posted! 🙂
My travel buddy Rhona– thank you for doing this with me. I love how you have a plan for everything while I just kind of go where the wind takes me. Yes, I can and will survive without you but it’s not going to be as organized and cheap as we are getting by now! LOL
To the Cool Detour Readers – I know there are only 3 of you out there but 3 is enough to make me feel like I’m not alone whenever I write something in here.
To the “influencers”(Steph L., Terri J., Nicole A.) – You have made this detour possible. Thank you for leading the way.
To those who have unselfishly welcomed us (Kuya Bryan, Ate Gerlie, Kuya Abel, Kuya Chad, the London Baranggays, Tita Ofie, Ate Jeng)- Thank you for bearing with us and our huge luggages. We owe whatever will come out of this experience to all of you.
Hey, I am not being dramatic, okay?! 🙂 I’m writing this with tremendous excitement and zest for life!
This is going to be another cool detour. I am, after all, in Cool Britannia! 😉
Country: United Kingdom
Currency: Great Britain Pound (GBP)
Exchange Rate: 68 GBP = 1 PHP
Type of government: Parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch [A king or queen is the head of state, and a prime minister is the head of government. The people vote in elections for Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent them.]
Hotels we stayed at: The Santiago Residence [with bonus babies Brent and Blake! :)] In Peterborough, we stayed at Clark’s Guest Inn owned by Sir James 🙂
Rhona and I might live in Peterborough, an hour away from London via train. It’s a nice community with a huge Cathedral, an inviting town plaza with fountains, and a river filled with lovely swans. It’s a far cry from busy and fast-paced London.
Since London will be quite far from our house, we decided to go to the tourist spots on our first week already. Before we started walking (We walked miles and miles that day!), we met-up with Steph. She’s the one who told us about the program. If any of you out there is interested in studying in the UK, shoot me an email at email@example.com or leave your email address on the comment box below. 🙂
[Waiting for the 116 Bus]
The walking commenced from one end of the River Thames to the other. Along the way, we saw the famous London Bridge and Tower of London (seen from afar). We plan to go back for a better view of the Tower of London. Note the difference. London Bridge is way older and not as grand as the Tower of London.
[No.1 London Bridge]
[One side of the Tower of London taken from the London Bridge]
[I like this ad.]
[Along Queen’s Walk]
[Blue Eagle the King!!! One Big Fight!!! hahahaha]
Needless to say, it was a packed day for us. We saved more than a hundred pounds by walking from end to end. But it was all worth it!
Spice up your life,