Life-Changing Realizations I Had In New Zealand (To My Fellow OFWs)

I’ve been in New Zealand since the 17th of September, and I’ve learned a lot of new things, been to different places, met various types of people and made life-changing decisions that I think seems inevitable.


I’m from the Philippines and living in New Zealand is an entirely different context from what I had in mind. I studied for two months, had a job as a nurse, volunteered in SPCA and started flatting. And that’s how I learned that there are necessary life-changing decisions that I have to consider, to get through this whole transition loop. So, I began asking myself and made to-do lists that’ll help my day to be more productive and my life interesting.


Sometimes, we get too excited in helping our family members that we tend to forget ourselves. When I got my first pay check, I sent a large portion of it to the Philippines. I forgot that I have bills to pay and needed money to put food on the table. So I became extra careful afterwards. I made sure to make a list of my groceries and budget my salary wisely before sending money overseas.


I’m not rude or disrespectful, but I can say that most of the people I met here regardless of their ethnicity are genuinely nice, maybe not all, but most of them. They’re big on courtesy, which is a pretty rare trait these days. I felt guilty, sometimes I even forget to say thank you when someone is opening a door for me. I’m a nurse, and I have met various kinds of individuals, the nice and the annoying ones, so I’m not sure what I look like when I talk to them. I got to work on smiling more and practice small talk.


One of the worst experiences I ever had when I arrived here, was that I couldn’t get a bus ride home. I got stranded in a bus hub at 9:00 in the evening, alone, and freezing. This happened because I offered to help someone in need by booking him an UBER using the app in my phone. I waited for one hour out in the cold because the guy’s address was far so I had to wait for him to arrive in his destination so I can re-book. Walking was not an option because my flat was miles away. I was so devastated that I started talking to myself “it’s okay you’ll get through this.”

There’ll be days where you will find yourself in a tight situation, and the only thing you can do is to take a deep breath and think. Another one was when my flatmate took the food that I’ve been saving for 4 days in the fridge right in front of me. I was so frustrated and speechless. It was my fault though, I didn’t put my name on it.

I realised it’s okay to be hurt, unprepared and disappointed, accept defeat but learn from it. No one can help you except yourself.


I need to accept that no one is ever too tough to face sorrow. When I decided to come to Dunedin, I made sure that I understand that there’ll be a major transformation in my life. I’ll be moving away from a lively and loud metro city, to a laid-back type of provincial living, so there’s going to be a bit of adjustment with some loneliness on the side, and a whole other heartbreaking emotional outbursts.


Not everyone you meet can be your best friend. There are a lot of us in here in Dunedin, but I know that there are some who will take advantage of me than help me which is annoying, to be honest. I’ve met lovely ones who always made sure that I get to eat, a shelter to sleep on and clothes to wear. So, there are good sheep and a few wolves in sheep’s clothing.

People indeed need help, but not everybody deserves it. Some are just using others to get what they want and leave them with nothing but frustration, anger and annoyance from the feeling of being used and abused.

And always pray, for courage, strength, wisdom and financial guidance.

Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways submit to him, and He will make my paths straight – Proverbs 3:5-6

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