Time flies— it’s been five years since I took a leap of faith and moved to Japan

Five years might seem short to some, especially when you compare it to those who’ve lived in Japan for a long time. But when I saw a post on Facebook reminding me of the day my husband and I arrived in Kansai five years ago to start a new life here, it really hit me. Time flies, doesn’t it?

Only fellow expatriates and Overseas Filipino Workers can truly grasp the depth of this journey. Living abroad, far from the embrace of one’s homeland, is no easy feat. In the words of Taylor Swift, ‘We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical.’ That sums it up perfectly. Life abroad isn’t always a bed of roses. Life here is a blend of happiness, freedom, confusion, and loneliness all at once. It’s a paradox—both trying and enchanting.

Within our Filipino culture, there lingers a misconception: that marrying a foreigner or residing abroad equates to boundless wealth and perpetual bliss. I’ll admit, I once harbored such notions in my youth. Yet, reality paints a different picture—one colored with challenges and complexities, not a utopian fantasy. Let’s break that stereotype together.

Thankfully. I must say, I feel truly blessed to have a comfortable life here in Japan. My husband’s income is average, but he’s embarked on a new business venture that I sincerely hope will thrive in the future. As for me, I’ve taken on the roles of a devoted homemaker and a supportive assistant at his company. When I first arrived, finding my place in the workforce was a challenge. I have a sense of pride and didn’t want to solely rely on my husband financially. Thus, I began doing freelance work from home. Thankfully, my husband is supportive and doesn’t pressure me to work if I don’t want to. While it would be easy to kick back, relax, and enjoy the simple pleasures of home life—doing chores, cooking, and binge-watching shows—my stubborn nature pushed me to pursue a career. Now, things have evolved. I’ve transitioned away from freelancing and embraced my dual role as a housewife and assistant. The pressure is minimal, except during peak seasons or busy months. And you know what? I actually enjoy working alongside my husband. It’s a unique dynamic that strengthens our bond as a couple.

Reflecting on the challenges of overcoming homesickness, language barriers, loneliness, and self-doubt, I often find myself wondering how I managed it all. There were certainly factors that helped along the way, but when I look back at the nights filled with tears, moments of frustration directed at my husband, and the constant questioning of my decisions, I’m amazed at my own resilience. I’m considering writing a separate post about how I coped with homesickness and loneliness, but if I were to highlight one crucial and effective strategy, it would undoubtedly be self-love.


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