Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Bend in the Road

I’ve reached my first bend in the road in this country the last week of October. Before then, it’s been a straight road for me since I came -  getting settled, acquainting myself with the highways and byways of the city, and formally studying the language and a little about the Swedish society in SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) school.  It was about seven months (three terms) of formal schooling. I finally completed the course by the third week of October.  After the language course, we students were encouraged to pursue further vocational training at Viva Komvux, which is the main provider of adult education in the municipality of Umeå in northern Sweden. Even those of us who have university education in our homeland may take such courses if we want to find jobs. Almost all of us cannot practice our professions here because the educational standard in our homeland cannot meet the higher standard here.  So we may end up taking more units at the university for a few years, or learning a vocation at Konvux for some months.

Choices, choices….

To study further means walking through the same straight road of schooling. And I have had enough of that. On the other hand, if I’d try to find a job, even just a humble one, I would be embarking on a new journey with some adventure. To study also means to receive a substantial amount of financial aid from the government, called "bidrag" or study aid, which one doesn’t need to pay back later. And one can also avail of a loan, which he would pay later when he has a job. But to work means to earn over three times as much as the study aid. And no study hassles.

I set my heart on finding a job first. But if it wouldn’t bear fruit, I may go to school again, even if it would incur discomfort. Honestly, I cringe over the thought of doing student’s lessons and homework. I have gotten rid of such things years ago, and if possible, I don’t want to have them back, not again. I'd rather work hard than sit in school for many hours a day, then at home again to study the lessons and do the homework.

Fortunately, a few days before our classes ended, I got a temporary part-time job offer from a cleaning company operated by a good friend. Sure, I grabbed the opportunity! I started right after our last days in school. And I like the work of going to different business enterprises and work for them.

That was my bend in the road. It was quite a change, an entirely new experience for me in my new home. Not that I haven’t tried such works before. It’s just something new for me here, to have a real job that will get me paid, and one that I also enjoy.  And I hope that I can keep this job even though it’s only part-time. At least I have something more to do besides my regular responsibilities. 

Gladly did I turn to this bend and joyfully will I keep on walking. And I know that as I move on, I’ll discover more things waiting somewhere, more opportunities, surprises, exciting adventures, or maybe new choices. I will also make it a point to gather little bits of happiness along the way, to find beauty in simple things, and at the same time, to leave a trail of sunshine that will warm the hearts of those who might wander in this same road.

And I will try to make each day and each step count.