4 years in Ghana! Who would have thought that I could get this far?
It has been a roller coaster ride. I’ve experienced extreme highs and lows. I’ve learned to stand on my own and I push myself outside my comfort zone.
I arrived in 2016 after my dad invited me to join him. He’s been working in Ghana for almost 20 years now. I was working at a 5-star hotel as a coordinator in Dubai, United Arab Emirates before that.
You might be thinking, this girl is crazy. Why leave Dubai for Ghana? Dubai is the best place to work if you’re in the hospitality business!
Funny enough, I’ve also thought of that myself. It took months before I kind of understand why I had to leave my very comfortable and promising life in Dubai.
I was working when I received a call from my dad that his boss from Ghana checked in with a friend, who is a hotelier, in the hotel I’m working with in Dubai. My dad told me to meet them and just say hi and introduce myself.
I cannot really remember how things escalated, but I end up having a chat with my dad’s boss and his friend. They were throwing questions on me and I’m also answering them. We were already in the middle of our conversation before it dawned on me that I was being interviewed. My dad had already given me a heads up that they might interview me, but I was not really expecting that it’s going to be in that scenario.
After the interview, I updated my parents on what transpired. I was not really expecting much because I have not really prepared for anything.
Weeks later, I received an offer letter from my dad’s boss’ friend’s company. They want me to join their organization immediately. I had mixed emotions. I have a promising career in Dubai and I’m hesitant to leave, but also the Ghana opportunity is something I wouldn’t want to miss.
As this is all happening, my Dubai colleague is filing for resignation because she’s getting married. Her soon to be husband wanted her to stay in Sri Lanka after their wedding. My former colleague was telling me that for years, she’s been convincing her soon to be husband to join her in Dubai, but he wouldn’t budge.
So I was like, I cannot resign now. My company needs my service. I told my parents about the situation at hand and I have to pass on the Ghana opportunity.
Days later, when I was riding a bus, I saw my colleague around the area I was staying in. I have not seen her in my area before. She entered the bus I was riding and sat beside me. She broke the news to me that her fiancé (then) finally agreed to come to Dubai and she doesn’t have to resign.
My heart leaped with joy! I know that it was God’s intervention. I immediately filed for my resignation and informed the Ghana company that I am joining them soon.
The challenge didn’t end there. I didn’t know that I had to wait for about a month before I could officially depart from Dubai because I need to sort out some papers. The Ghana company initially said that they couldn’t wait for me and if I can’t come immediately, then they would have to give the opportunity to someone else. I was asking for their consideration, and they gave it to me.
I vividly remember everything when first arrived in Ghana, like it was yesterday.
My dad picked me up from the airport. He was so excited! He hugged me and assisted me with my luggage. My eyes were puffy because I’ve been crying on the plane.
I looked around and I realized that Ghana is not too different from the Philippines. Their capital, Accra, is comparable to Quiapo.
My dad had to drop me to my new workplace, but before that, we passed by the mall. There were a lot of locals an only a handful of foreigners. I didn’t see any Asians at all. I felt my heart sank.
I was contemplating whether I have made the right decision. I immediately missed Dubai and its community. But there’s also a part of me saying that this is a blessing from God and if it’s that bad, my dad wouldn’t have managed to stay for that long.
For the next 6 months, I didn’t see anyone of my kind. I was the only Asian in the workplace. I am also the youngest member of the executive team.
I didn’t feel welcome. I’m paranoid that people were talking about me and that they were sabotaging me. I didn’t know anything about the culture. I didn’t understand their system. Every interaction is a confrontation. There was a constant struggle to prove that I am worthy of the position. Needless to say, it was hell. This left me crying every night.
I kept calling my parents and they keep on motivating me. They told me to give it some time. Everything will be fine. If by the end of my contract, I’m still not ok and I want to leave, then I could pack my bags and go. My Dubai company also assured me that they’ll welcome me with open arms in case I wanted to come back.
I dreaded going to work. I didn’t want to meet anybody. I didn’t even want to converse and entertain anyone. But it’s inevitable. I had to work with my colleagues and staff and engage with guests.
In my head, I’ll just do my job, make sure to set systems in place, contribute something to the company, and leave knowing that I have done my best. I’m fine without any friends, I’ll survive alone and I am only here to finish a task. I know who I am, I know where I am from and I know what I can do. I can conquer the world.
Eventually, I’m able to adjust and survived. Now, I’m celebrating my 4th anniversary!
I still face tremendous amounts of challenges alright, but I’ve learned how to deal with them better. I’m convinced that I was sent here to grow professionally as well as personally.
What’s next for me? I honestly don’t know. I’ll leave it up to God. I might still be here and celebrate my 5th work anniversary or there might be another divine intervention that would take me somewhere else. What I know is that I’m blessed to be able to reach this stage.