Mirasol (Sol) De Guzman

I was recruited from the Philippines in 2000 as part of a 40 person batch. It was my first time leaving my family and going abroad. I was feeling really lonely, but at the same time excited because it was a new chapter for me. Before coming, there were two sets of exams and three sets of interviews. Once we passed those, which were given by the local agency, employers from the UK came to interview us. At the end of the day, you knew whether you got the job or not.

When we arrived, we were met by another Filipino nurse who was already working here. We felt welcomed and reassured that we were not on our own, and that somebody’s there to support us. The first two weeks, we had classes on speaking English, the way of life in England, and we were also taken to different parts of the country.

We discovered English food. Initially we bought food from Asian shops, but after a few weeks, we thought we might as well try the food here because imported food can be expensive. I used to watch Ready Steady Cook all the time, and that’s where it showed me what sort of food English people here eat, and that taught me how to cook, mostly from the local ingredients.

My young children stayed behind with my parents and my husband, who looked after them. We called each other often, but there was no Zoom, no Facetime then so I couldn’t see them. I missed them a lot and it was heartbreaking. There were moments that I questioned if it was the right decision to come over and leave them there. But then I thought I’m doing this so they could have a better future. After a few years, my children joined me and we were happy to be a family again.

My idea was to come and work for a few years, but I ended up staying here. I have been a staff nurse in Glenfield Hospital for about 15 years where I look after respiratory ward patients on the night shift. I enjoy looking after my patients. I enjoy talking to them about life here in England. Yes it’s a different country, it’s a different culture, but at the end of the day, it’s still nursing. And that’s what I love doing, and that’s why I’m still here, I’m still working.

We are quite happy living in Leicester. There are lots of choices, foodwise, there are lots of people that you meet outside work from different nationalities. It’s a multicultural society, and I feel like we as a family belong.