Pangarap: So, Our Journey Begins
IF YOU MOVED TO BUILD A NEW LIFE, THEN START OFF RIGHT BY TRYING TO FIND A PLACE YOU CAN CALL HOME.
Many sob stories have been exchanged here and there about families who once lived so comfortably in their native country finding themselves living in humble, freezing basements or square holes called “room-for-rent spaces” in their newfound country.
But migrating puts reality right in front of you. Rather than pity yourself, look at it as being given the chance to live your life all over again, to make new choices, to face up to new challenges, to win new battles and gather new victories.
Looking for the place you can temporarily call your home is indeed a challenge. It requires patience and realistic assessments. Thanks to the internet, even from your home country you can start searching for possible apartments or rooms to rent. A friend from the country you are moving to can then physically check out the locations for you.
All you need is to learn is how to Google: Just type in “apartments for rent in (such and such location or city.)” You will actually find too many websites because renting out is really a big side source of income for established folks. They call it a “mortgage helper.” Some are able to pay their monthly mortgage amortization by simply renting out some parts of their houses—rooms, basements, ground floor or upper floor.
Your friend or relative can check out the place and give you feedback. This process will be even better if you can ask them to take pictures and “show you around” the house. The nice thing about being able to search through the internet is that the rental cost is almost always advertised, so you can filter your choices to only those you can afford.
The close-to-bus stop or close-to-amenities factor is not really as ticklish an issue because Canada, for example, has an efficient public transportation system. The areas are also well zoned so that there will be a school nearby, as well as a church, a mini mall, a walk-in clinic, a public library, just about the most basic services that you will need.
There is not much criteria that you can put up if you are doing it from far away, but you can always move to another place once you start getting acquainted with life in the new place. Ideally, try to find a place that will agree to a short-term lease, such as 6 months, to give you more leeway to move out sooner.
If getting a really comfortable home is not so easy because money is an issue, then it’s crucial that the home is filled with enough love, understanding and support for one another. Even if you have to live in a basement, the warmth of home can be felt with the unity and love of family. On the light side of things, even if the weather becomes too cold for comfort, the key is simply to be able to bundle up properly.
Finding a comfortable home is your first step to starting a new life. Migrating brings you face to face with reality and home is the best place to plan for it, strategize for it, savor it or simply chill out after a frustrating day of job hunting. You will also find that home is the best place to bring home the bacon when luck comes knocking and you feel you have made the right decision migrating.
YOU NEED A PHONE. THAT IS AS BASIC AS GETTING A JOB TO FEED YOUR STOMACH.
When we migrated, there was only one important first-step decision that was almost instinctive to me, that was to seek how I could get a phone line. Your cell phone might work through international roaming, but pretty soon you will realize that roaming is expensive and will not get you anywhere near your goals as a permanent resident.
As you settle, or perhaps even before you came over, the need to communicate or stay in touch with people you left behind will be there. That will be first stabilizing factor that will console you as you settle.
However, when things are turning out not in the way that you had imagined or wanted—especially with that first job becoming so elusive—you might find yourself slowly withdrawing from your past, unwilling to speak of the frustration you feel even to friends.
Then you will realize that the connections we are talking about here will focus on the need to spread yourself and gain more knowledge of what is going on around you in this new place that you have moved to. You must use your phone to call friends here to ask for job leads, to call companies regarding possible openings, and to receive invitations to parties where you can meet other people.
Do you need a landline or a mobile phone? A landline will always be cheaper than a mobile phone because it allows you unlimited access to local calls. If you have somebody in the family who can be efficient at taking calls while you are out job hunting or attending workshops, then a landline will be good enough while you are in a tight budget.
My first mistake was getting a mobile post-paid plan only to realize how expensive it ended up being and how little I needed it in the first months that we were here. Nothing beats quick-witted decision-making. Having realized that mistake, I had to compute how much more it would cost me to continue on with the plan against paying the penalty of terminating the contract. I opted out of the contract as soon as I could. I can always get a prepaid cell phone if the need calls for it.
However, if you are single or coming alone, and there is nobody to take calls for you at home, then you have two options: Either make sure your landline phone has a voicemail facility or an answering machine, or secure a mobile phone you can take with you anywhere you go. Since you will be waiting for some calls that may come from jobs you have applied for, make sure your recorded messages are as formal and polite as possible.
If you must buy a mobile phone, weigh very well which plan—whether post-paid or prepaid —will be most economical and efficient for you. Of course, the best is if you are living with a friend or relative or tenant who will allow you to use his landline phone to make some local calls from home. But you cannot expect that generosity every single day.
What could be irritating about some mobile phone systems is that incoming calls will be charged to your credits or to your plan. Certainly, you will not mind if the incoming call is what you expect or wanted, but think of the hundreds of telemarketers who can get hold of your number—no thanks to your phone company who sells your number for a song. That does happen.
When making calls for work or job postings, make sure you know what area codes are considered local to the phone you are using. Also seek out for these companies’ 1-800 numbers so that your calls will not be considered long-distance calls. Some efficient phone companies will warn you that you have dialled an out-of-area or international number, so that cautions you as to whether you should proceed with the call or not.
The need for communication can never be understated. While you need to scrimp, consider getting a phone as basic in your job search. Staying connected and reachable will improve your job of job hunting.
Nobody ever said that our journey, will be easy. But as I write and as you read, we share our strengths and we can hold to the promise that “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20.
Bolet is a marketing communications practitioner and dabbles in writing as a personal passion. She is author-publisher of the book: The Most Practical Immigrating and Job Hunting Survival Guide, proven simple steps to success without the fears and the doubts. The book is available in Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, the Reading Room and other online bookshops worldwide, and in National Book Store and Power Books in the Philippines. Please check out https://www.amazon.com/author/boletarevalo.