Wed, 02/15/2012 - 10:02am

A Home Away from Home



Jing's BlogBy Jing Labios


Regina has been a home away from home for my family in the past 4 years.   Leaving our families and friends in the Philippines is one of the biggest decisions we made in our life as a family. It was a leap of faith.  It was terrifying starting a life in a place extremely unfamiliar to us, with a 6-month-old baby and two other kids tagging along, with no guaranteed jobs or a place to stay.  But my husband and I have that calmness and assurance in our hearts that somebody up there will be looking after us.

Our stay here boosts a lot of firsts.  First airplane ride, first taste of snow, first apartment with living area bigger than our whole apartment back home, more salads and bread less rice and seafood, cleaner air, greener surroundings, and lots and lots of space.  The first few weeks here felt like we were in a deserted place.  Every time I look outside the window I would wonder where the people were because from where we came from we would wake up to the hustle and bustle in the streets, that is, if you get enough sleep from the neighbours’ partying or conversations (which we could clearly hear from our bedroom).

But the greatest adjustment as a family is living on our own without our relatives and friends to assists us in an environment with diverse cultures. I believe, as any other migrant families would probably agree, the struggle would be keeping the family together and coping with a different lifestyle and way of life.  I remember our first year when I didn’t want to leave my daughter with a babysitter or place her in a daycare because I didn’t agree with the amount of independence given to children here even at a young age.  Nor did I let my two boys sleepover to a friend’s house till they were 12.

However, after a couple of years of meeting new people and learning about the area, I realized that Regina is a great place to raise a family.  Regina has lots of family-friendly places and activities to go to and be involved with. Cost of living is reasonable and within reach for starting families like us.  And I don’t have to worry about the safety and security of my kids as I used to. Support groups also played a significant role in having an open perspective towards our new environment.  Our church community has been our family since we came. Having a group to share our joys and sorrows is vital in making it through each day.   Being part of KinderBuzz made me feel more at home, too.  Doing things I love and used to do makes me more comfortable.  The resources I get from the website as a parent helps me become more involved and familiar with Regina.

The kids adjusted pretty well.  They made lots of friends, enjoyed every experience they encounter each day, and appreciated what they have now because they know how blessed we are just to be here.  

Adjusting to a new living environment can be a difficult thing but if one goes into it with an open mind and a trusting heart, then the experience will be a positive one.  We don’t have to compromise our values.   It is a matter of embracing what we believe is good for the family and yet keeping the values we deem precious.  I couldn’t think of any other place for my family than being here in Regina.