Maria's story

Maria at Trafalgar Square, London

It has been two years and three months since my family and I moved back to the UK after spending two and a half years in the Philippines. We now live in a comfortable London suburb with easy access to central London and the main tourist attractions. It is nice to have a choice of activities nearby, like trips to theatres and museums and nice restaurants.

Moving back to the UK was not a personal choice, my husband is originally from here and he was not yet prepared to leave the UK permanently, and my son wanted to finish his university here.

My first week in the UK was very emotional as I was not ready to leave my lifestyle in the Philippines behind. Saying goodbye to the lovely weather, food and my family and friends was very difficult. During the first few weeks in England we lived on takeaways and microwavable meals because I can hardly cook. Our house was also a mess because I’m what you would call ‘domestically challenged’. Those who are familiar with an Asian household set-up would understand my plight, I miss having household help. It took some time to adjust to my new life, but I’ve since learned to cope.

Maria at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Being an expat has taught me patience and I have come to appreciate the art of domesticity. One of the best experiences I have had from being an expat is experiencing a different culture and not to forget the crazy British weather. With Europe just on our doorstep, I get curious and have developed a desire to explore other countries, but it has also given me a whole load of reasons to be proud of my native country, the Philippines.

For anyone planning to move abroad, my advice would be to make sure you are mentally and emotionally prepared because you will be out of your comfort zone. And of course, understand the culture.

My family and I will definitely move back to my home country, the Philippines in the future. It will happen in the next five years, if not earlier. It's like the natural order of life, we will just wait for our son to finish his schooling.