The Year of Living Dangerously


In less than a week I will be saying goodbye to my family, my friends, my country, and all that I know so well.  Goodbye to the familiar food, sights, sounds, currency, routes, weather, and smells.

It won’t be the first time I’ve gone abroad to study. When I was in secondary school I was a YFU (Youth For Understanding) exchange student to Norway where I was hosted by several families. When I left the Philippines for Norway in 1996, the Internet was still a novelty in those parts of the world. Letters were sent through the post instead of through email, and I remember my father giving me $2500 as pocket money for one year. It was the most money I had ever had , and by the end of the year, I hadn’t  even spent all of it.

The wacky pose was already in Oslo but didn't become a phenomenon until much later. Hartvig-Nissen Skole, Oslo 1996
Spot the odd man out. Hartvig-Nissen Skole, Oslo 1996

Seventeen years later I am once again heading out into the great unknown, but this time on my own. After weeks of gathering the necessary paperwork I have taken all my savings, liquidated my investments, made a downpayment on the tuition fee, and bought a one-way ticket to Spain. I don’t have a place to stay when I arrive, and since my funds aren’t enough to cover living expenses, I plan to work in order to support myself during my studies.

This is a chronicle of my journey, a life experiment if you will, and perhaps, it may serve as a guide to any of you out there who dream of venturing outside your comfort zone. Of making mistakes, of falling flat, so many times that you become immune to the pain, and become very good at dusting yourself off.

See you out there.

For a theme song, I thought This Year from the Mountain Goats’ The Sunset Tree album would be appropriate.

5 thoughts on “The Year of Living Dangerously

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s