Having foreign best friends
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez (The Freeman) - April 9, 2019 - 12:00am

I'm an introvert most of the time. I love to be alone but I have a few chosen friends whom I call my best friends (forever). They are those girls whom I have shared a big chunk of my life with since I was a kid and still have the same kind of closeness up to today. The only problem is they have all left the Philippines.

One of them is a nurse in the United Kingdom, another does the finances of a company in New Zealand, another is finishing her master's degree in music in Japan, and yet another is a Canadian citizen. There is no girl friend that I can call in the middle of the night without trying to figure out the timezone. I can't bring one girl to a spa session or a random night out like we used to before. They said it's part of adulting to find opportunities elsewhere, I say it's a failure of having an opportunity here.

While my friends are top-caliber at what they do, they find no fulfillment working in the country. They think that with what we have here is nothing compared to what they can earn abroad. In turn they leave their families and friends (case in point, me) to earn more money than they used to here. It's a win-win situation for them. The new experiences abroad plus the extra cash will forward them in the realm of millennials who are trying to figure out their way in this world.

But sometimes I wish this didn't have to happen. I get tired trying to squeeze myself into their busy schedule whenever they come home for a vacation. I feel like ushering new people in their own hometowns. It is a sickening thought to have Filipino friends who now think as foreigners. They have a new mindset that belittles what used to be part of them. I hate it, so badly.

Who is to blame for the brain drain? Year after year we are seeing young individuals looking for greener pastures abroad, be it for work or for school. Their country is left to operate on what has already been known with little to no room for improvement. The stakes are higher outside the country rather than working in the Philippines. I often ask myself why I'm still here. I might be blinded by the comforts of the life I am living, or by the thought that I can still contribute to this country's development.

Whatever it is, I hope that one day going abroad would not have to be an option for any individual. Don't get me wrong, going to school in another country is also a good thing. But you know, it feels different when we can be proud to say "hey, our country has the best schools in the region!" or "we have the best pay for workers." I don't know. It seems absurd, but we can all dream the impossible.

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