Its been more than 20 years I’m an overseas filipina living in Geneva, Switzerland. My first few years was indeed the toughest that I have been through. I definitely suffered from homesick like anybody else who moved out from familiar places, families and love ones. I vividly recollect my though way back 1996 when I first arrive in GVA (Geneva International Airport) at the second phase of summer in Europe . I supposedly meet by a family friend but she was nowhere to be seen. I was on the verge of making a turnabout of my decision from coming here. While frantically searching to a dear friend of my mom from masses, I found myself eavesdropping. No matter how hard I tried to understand the words they used in addressing to one another, still its lame for me. I thought, my english is getting icky but wait…they don’t even speak english! They speak French! I was in the state of panic! How on earth am I suppose to survive in this country when I couldn’t understand a word of their language.
20 years later, I’m a registered nurse here in Geneva, Switzerland, I work in one of the biggest laboratory in Europe. I am a full time working mom and raising a two beautiful biracial kids. My french is good, and I was able assimilate my life where I live. So far so good…
Five years ago I was transferred to a new blood center where I am able to work directly with my fellow Filipina named Angie. Whenever the opportunity arise, we speak in our mother tongue Tagalog. Majority of our patients are french speaking , very seldom we have Filipinos coming here at work as a patients. Whenever one comes for a consultation, I speak tagalog straight away. Bit by bit, we started to have fews coming and they always asked for me or Angie for a very obvious reason…Filipinos feel they do not speak French well enough to express themselves fully and instead feel inhibited when speaking the language.Don’t get me wrong, I myself sometimes feel the same. Aside from unimaginable forbiddances , Filipinos are atrociously shy.
We have a small Filipino community here in Geneva but statistically speaking, we couldn’t get the accurate number of Filipinos working in Geneva , some are “unidentified” WFO, some are full time mother and some are just like me, a single full time working mom and others are deligently working gal . What make me proud of my fellow Filipinos and Filipinas here, they work so hard and they are genuinely appreciated.
Being away from home is not easy and we try to re-create a family outside our own families back home. Thats why I decided to do this blog for us, my fellow Filipinos here in Geneva to reconnect. To let our children learn and feel our culture. To help one another in our little way.
If by chance, this blog came across to your horizon and want to be part of Kumusta ka Kababayan, please do so. Hopefully, to hear from you soon.