The cool breeze that gently caresses my face and the numbing-cold weather as I walk pass through the Victorian brick houses made me realised that I am no longer in a scruffy bus of Davao Del Norte. Alas! I am finally in England! Dream Come True!!! How did I get here?
Two years ago, I was sitting in that small box in Villaggio Qatar until a certain realization kicked me in, “I really want for more and that I deserve better.” I wanted to widen my horizon, cultivate my skills and nurture my potentials. I wanted to flourish my capabilities as a person but I knew Qatar wouldn’t be able to provide that opportunity for me so I decided to leave and risk everything I had. That was really the toughest decision I’ve made. The bravest one too!
Leaving Qatar wasn’t so easy for me. I knew it would be very formidable for me to leave my job, my friends and my partner and go back to zero in Davao eventually live a simple life again. No more endless clubbing. No more orgasmic fancy dinners in many hotels. No more Thursday night gathering with my PLU’s friends. No more financial resources and most especially no more partner to cuddle up in bed and share nasty and silly jokes when everything turns mad and crazy. Lots of NO MORE! I am totally back to ZERO. However, my dedication to achieve more strongly drove my courage up its peak and brought me home. It was an emotional goodbye and I don’t want to think again how painful it was leaving the people I considered family and the place where I found myself, love and friendship. It was a nightmare.
Back in Davao I started to gather information how to get here. I am always fascinated with London, its people, culture, history and even the classy victorian style of architecture. I was totally clueless to where and when to start. Until I saw the greatest Coy on Facebook! (Coy is a student and turned Nurse in London. I never met Coy in person until now by the way). I asked him pertinent questions about the UK and he really bothered to answer me and taught me what to do. (God has someone there for you, who will help you and guide you. So don’t give up.)
With the ad rem data from Coy, I enrolled myself for IELTS and after three weeks I took the exam. It was a little bit early than what I expected and even my English tutors and reviewers told me to postpone it because according to them “I wasn’t ready.” And I should give myself some time to study further. “Getting a band score of 7 Teddy is no joke” said my instructor. His lack of trust on me never really discouraged my heart. I am a risk-taker so I pursued and took the exam and after 11 days, I got the result and Voila!! I passed it with flying colours! I even got the highest score in Writing Category among the exam takers! ( ok enough of bravado now and lets proceed….)
After passing IELTS, I immediately contacted the regulating body for nurses in the UK (NMC) and applied online. People say the first step is always the hardest and it’s true. The number of requirements from NMC is mind-blowing. It was very costly, time consuming and very stressful. Imagine yourself going back and forth to your college, then to the PRC then to the lawyers, to your employer and chase your superiors for their precious signatures! It was energy-draining and frustrating. It took me 6 months before I got the qualification letter from the UK saying I am able to work here. WOW!! Thanks to those who helped me. You know who you are! Just hit “LIKE” J
I had everything and ready to go to the UK but the question was HOW? The hiring for nurses had stopped and the only easiest way to get to the UK is through Tier 4 or “Student Visa”. I talked to David about it and he agreed to lend me a very huge amount just to start my student visa application. With the help of Coy again he referred me to a certain consultancy agency in the UK and that was it. Everything went fine and smooth, I paid the one-year tuition fee of my University and applied for the VISA only to get a big cold “REFUSAL” from the UK Embassy. My world stopped, I thought it would be the end of my dreams. I was very devastated. I cried buckets. I saw my dreams shattered right before my eyes. I was so depressed. I got sick and was hospitalized. Although the money I spent on that university was returned or refunded, I still hid myself from the people for about 5 months.
It was before the Christmas of 2012 that I had the courage to dream again. This time, NEW ZEALAND!! I said to myself “UK is not for me, maybe GOD has something good for me somewhere.” So I started to sort out my New Zealand requirements with the help of my friend Remay and Rohaze. They are both nurses in New Zealand now by the way. I spent fortune for NZ again. It took me longer this time. NZ has a complex and comprehensive way of assessing your documents. They are thorough and very strict so my waiting time was longer and agonizing.
I never dreamt of coming to the UK ever again until a Facebook friend Ariel “Yeng” from Doha (I haven’t met him in person too), he messaged me and tagged me to a Facebook post about the hiring of nurses for UK. He told me to just try since I have the qualifications. I said to myself “Yeahhh right, another offer, another nonsense, another frustrations.” But I emailed the email address posted there and surprisingly after 2 days, a woman from the UK rang me and interviewed me on the phone for 10 minutes then told me I qualified for the personal interview in Shangrila Hotel Makati. I was like “WHAT” that quick?
I prayed hard and asked the Lord to guide me. I was waiting for my NZ decision letter that time and here’s another UK opportunity knocking on my door. I went to my interview well prepared. The first set of the interview was the written exam. I prepared myself for it. I reviewed and read a lot and my hardwork paid off, I only got one mistake in that exam! And I could still remember the difficult question, “What artery that carries deoxygenated blood away from the heart” I spent more time on this question but I still got the wrong answer!! Oh shame!! Well nobody is perfect. Right?
Furthermore, the second phase of the interview process came and there were two English men sitting next to me. They are the employers. The Head Of Nursing and my future superior, my boss. I sat there comfortably, confidently and very optimistic. They then started throwing questions at me. Situational questions mostly. Although I prepared for it but I have to admit it was terrifying but prayers, faith, confidence, personality and knowledge will get you there. I answered the questions with facts and dignity. I could see in their eyes that they were very impressed and happy. They gave me the job right after the interview and told me “You really gave us a fantastic interview Teddy and we are very happy to offer you the position and we are looking forward to work with you.” When they said that, I did nothing but covered my mouth and said “Really?” “Serious?” and they said, “Yes! Congratulations”. They escorted me out of the room and told me to wait for the processing of my VISA! WOW!!
Time flew so fast. I got the UK job and I got the NZ decision letter too but I chose the UK of course. So here I am now. There were many hiccups along the way to here but I stayed strong and motivated. The visa refusal was a blessing in disguise for me. If it was approved, I could have still paying for my university now and work under limited hours then being paid poorly.
God is amazing, the refusal was his one way of saying “Teddy, I have something great for you. Please be patient and wait.” Indeed, this whole UK job and free schooling is something great and amazing. The overflowing of blessings from the Lord is something I will cherish forever. Its true, great and amazing things come to those who wait.
God’s timing is perfect! It is never too early but never too late. Dreamers should dream big and have a lot of patience and perseverance. Never lose hope and continue to fight for your dreams. It maybe not clear now but as long as you keep on moving I’m sure you will see the light that will guide you there. Never ever hurt people just to get your way to the top. The true meaning of success is not on how far you get but how many people you inspired along the way. I know, I am still on my way in developing this opportunity and I promised the Lord to do everything under his name. Without Him I am nothing.
PS: Thank you to all who helped me in this whole process of chasing my dreams! God bless you all!!!