A lot of Filipinos think that life abroad is exciting, easy, and rich! After all, a lot of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) post about their trips to beautiful places around the world, delicious foods not sold in the Philippines, and the fun they are having in these places.
But behind their smiles and impressive posts, a lot of OFWs hide tears, heartaches, and tired bodies. And many of them had to work difficult menial jobs to support themselves before finally landing the job of their dreams!
Take for example Jao Jundam, a young Pinoy who recently shared his inspiring story as he celebrates his birthday in Australia. He now works in his dream job, gets to travel to many places around the world, and enjoys many delicious international cuisines. But before that happened, this young man experienced being a toilet cleaner, fish vendor, and so many other odd jobs just to survive in Australia!
“Board topnotcher ako sa Pilipinas at naging toilet cleaner ako sa Australia. And I’m proud of it,” he wrote in the now-viral Facebook post.
“A lot of people, especially in social media, think that I’m “lucky” to reach the position where I am now. They think everything was smooth and easy when I moved here. Of course, most of my posts are about me travelling the world, achieving goals in my acads & career, eating the best food the world can serve and smiling widely in front of the camera.”
But the young man detailed the hardships he experienced before reaching this wonderful point in his life.
“Little did they know that before I have started travelling the world, I have to walk for 1 hour in the freezing cold winter morning of Canberra just to work and sell fish in Belconnen market. Yes, I was also a fish vendor. I also have to fry “liempo” under the blazing hot summer of Canberra during its annual Noodle Markets. Yes, I was also a barbeque boy, and a waiter, and a personal care provider, and a cashier and many more. Haha! I have to endure the extremes of weather to earn enough money to help my family pay my expenses during my stay in Canberra.
Little did they know that before I have achieved my goals in finishing my Bachelors and Masters degree and landing a stable nursing job, I have to fail multiple times in Uni due to the culture shock I have experienced upon studying in Australia. I have even been accused of plagiarism which put my last semester in jeopardy. And as an “above average” student in the Philippines when it comes to academics, little did they know that my self-esteem went down the drain many times in a way that I have to drown myself just to get it back.
Little did they know that before I have eaten the yummiest food in the world, I have to be mindful of the number of meals I have to consume in a day. Back in Canberra, I have to cook 2 “ulams” which were often Sinigang and Tinola because they’re the easiest and cheapest to cook. Once I have cooked them, I separate them in containers of 3 a day so that it will suffice for a week. I also remember buying a $5.00 cake and slicing it in 7 so that I can only eat one slice/day. HAHA!
Lastly, little did they know that before I was able to smile widely in front of the camera again, many times, I have to look at myself in the mirror in tears while asking “Kaya ko pa ba?” But with every time I ask myself that question, I will always answer myself back saying “Kaya ko pa. Ako pa ba?””
Isn’t that truly inspiring? What netizens truly loved is that he did not feel ashamed of the difficult jobs he experienced before he was able to reach his dreams. A board topnotcher who became a toilet cleaner? He’s proud of it! Because it is part of his stepping stones to finally reach his dreams in life. Kudos, Jao!