Did you turn out to be that person you imagine you were going to be, say 10 years ago?

 ImageWell, I didn’t. Let me explain. From this date, ten years ago would be 2003. I was 17 and halfway done with my degree in IT.

 

I wasn’t clearly sure what I wanted to be but I know I would be BIG ten years later from that time. Coming from a family who struggle every day, I always dreamed to get out of that desolation. I pictured myself as a strong, independent, and a single woman who stays on top of her game. I would be sitting on my desk and working on my work stuff from 9 to 5, and coming home to my apartment and chill for the night. It wasn’t that big of a dream, but for me that was the DREAM.

 

And so what happened, you ask? It does not seem like I would need some kind of divine intervention to put this “dream” to fruition, so how come?

 

Until now, I do not know. I try to rewind my life ten years back but it seems like these memories are all in haze. Ten years back feels like a thousand years past.

 

So what did I end up to be after ten years? Here I am, a 27-year-old married woman and a stay-at-home mom- trying to steal some time to write about this crap while my baby is sleeping and the husband is at work. I have no job, no money of my own. I don’t sit on my office desk but I work 24-7 everyday. No apartment and would only be chilling once the child has passed out.

 

Did I have any regrets? Well, there are a few. Sometimes I wish I were still working so I could be helping out with the finances. I wish I could buy stuff that I want without having to ask my husband. But all these regrets are nothing compared to all the blessings that I have right now. For one, I have the most wonderful husband in the world. He is working hard to support us so I don’t have to. And God blessed us with a beautiful, smart little guy who means the world to me. Not all mothers are given the chance to see their child grow every day and witness all their firsts, but I did. I would give up any thing that I have for my family.

 

So every time that I feel low and beaten because of all my unfulfilled dreams, I just try to focus on the fact that God put me where I am most effective, where I can do the most good, and where I can learn the most.

 

Anyway, I am only 27. It’s not the end of the world for me yet, I hope. And I know God is not finished with me yet. So I could still dream of what I wanted to be ten years from now, right? 🙂

 

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Blast from the Past

Dear WordPress,

Hindi ko alam kung paano uumpisahan ang artikulong ito. (Naks, Tagalog kung Tagalog ang peg ko ngayon.) Naisip ko lang na magsulat sa iyo(or magblog) tungkol sa mga memoryang sumasagi sagi sa aking isipan out of nowhere. Naranasan mo na ba yun, yung may ginagawa ka tapos bigla na lang may sumisingit sa isipan mong memory from the past. Ako madalas. Lalo na yung mga moments nung kabataan ko.

Minsan, habang pinapatulog ko ang anak ko sa hapon, bigla na lang sasagi yung alaala ng Nanay ko. Naalala ko kapag masakit ang ngipin ko noong bata ako, magdidikdik siya ng bawang at isasalpak sa butas ng bulok kong ngipin. Mabisa daw yun pangalis ng kirot. Mahirap lang kasi kami. Walang pambayad para magpabunot sa doktor o kung mamalasin kahit pambili ng Alaxan ,wala. Salat kami sa kahit anong karangyaan. Pero hindi kami mareklamo. Nasanay lang kami na magtiis. Kasi pinalaki naman kami ng mga magulang naming magtyaga lang sa buhay dahil hindi naman laging sa habang panahon eh mahirap kami. Ang saklap nga lang, kasi kung kelan medyo nakaranas na kami ng konting kaginhawaan, nawala naman yung mga magulang namin na gusto naming alayan ng pasasalamat.

 

Ginawa ko na rin itong artikulong ito para if ever matanda na ako, yun bang nagkakadiperensya na ang memorya ko, eh bibisitahin kita at nang maipaalala mo sa akin  ang mga bagay na ito. Siyempre, hindi naman natin maiiwasan na pag tanda natin, magiging busy na tayo sa pag aasikaso sa mga anak natin, asawa, trabaho at kung ano ano pa. Malamang yung mga karanasan natin nung bata pa tayo eh matatabunan na.

 

In no particular order itong mga memories na ito. Ang idea eh isulat kung ano mang memorya ang sumagi sa utak ko anumang oras. Hindi ko hahalukayin ang buong kabataan ko at ikwento ang lahat. Iuupdate na lang kita WordPress everytime na may gusto akong ikwento sayo.

 

  1. Minsan pag kumakain kami ng itlog for breakfast, naaalala ko nung bata kami madalas ako pabilhin ni nanay ng itlog sa tindahan.Minsan tatlo, minsan apat. Scrambled eggs ang luto ni Nanay. Kung may budget minsan may kamatis para mas may lasa. Hahatiin nya sa anim yung scrambled egg, pizza style. Tigiisang hiwa kaming magkakapatid. (Anim kaming magkakapatid) Yung bunso naming maliit mahina pa kumain kaya pag di nya naubos yung kanya, yun ang kakainin ni Nanay. Ganun siya kaselfless.
  2. Pag nakakakita ako ng Bagoong in sachet pack, wala pa yun nung kabataan ko. Naalala ko nung bata kami, sinasabawan naming yung bote ng bagoong isda para magkalasa at nang pwede pang maulam. Sasalain na lang para di sumama yung tinik sa kanin.
  3. Pag nakakakita ako ng electric ice shaver, naaalala ko yung Nanay ko noon nagtitinda ng halohalo para may pantawid kami sa araw araw. Halos mapasma ang kamay nya sa kakakuskos sa yelo sa tuwing may bibili ng halohalo. Minsan nasusugat pa siya pero hindi niya iniinda. Masaya na siyang makabenta ng 10 baso sa isang araw.Kinabukasan pupunta siya ng palengke para bumili uli ng rekado sa paninda niya.
  4. Pag nakikita ko yung anak ko na naglalaro ng mga laruan nya, naaalala ko nung mga bata kami, ang laruan namin mga ginupit na taong papel tapos dadamitan/bibihisan din namin ng ginupit na mga damit. Tapos gagawan namin ng bahay bahayan mula sa mga pinagpatong patong na cassette tapes. Yun ang mansion nila. Ang sarap mag imagine noon.
  5. Nung nakita ko yung beach/bay sa Pier sa San Francisco, naaalala ko nung bata kami nakatira kami malapit sa dagat. Halos araw araw kung maligo kami sa dagat. Aahon na lang kami pag nakita na namin si Nanay sa seashore may dalang pamalo. Lagot ang mga pwet namin. Pero madalas nakakatakbo kami at nasesave ang pwet sa mahabang pamalo. Minsan para payagan kaming maligo, idadahilan namin na mag-iis-is kami ng mga maiitim naming kaldero sa dagat. Ihahagod naming yung pwetan ng kaldero sa buhangin para numipis ang uling gawa ng kalan na kahoy. Nakaligo na kami, mapuputi pa mga kawali at kaldero namin.
  6. Minsan pag nahihirapan akong mag-alaga sa anak ko, kapag sobrang kulit na o kaya nagwawala, iniisip ko na lang kung paano pa kaya si Nanay sa amin noon, eh apat kaming magkakasunod. (1982,’83,’84,’85) Tapos dumagdag pa yung dalawa after six years (1991,1995). Kaya nireremind ko na lang sa sarili ko na huwag magreklamo. Dahil yung hirap ko sa anak ko ngayon eh wala pa sa kalingkingan sa hirap ng Nanay ko sa amin noon.
  7. Pag may nakakasabay akong malalaking truck habang nagdadrive, naaalala ko yung Tatay ko. Driver kasi siya sa Saudi noon. Halos sampung taon din namin siyang hindi nakasama kaya madalas yung Nanay ko lang nakekwento ko. Pero naaalala ko din siya kung paano kaya ang buhay niya sa Saudi noon na malayo sa amin habang nagmamaneho sa disyerto. Malamang malungkot. Gaya din siguro ng kalungkutan ko ngayon dito sa US. Pero magisa lang siya dun. Ako may pamilya na dito. Kaya malamang mas malungkot siya noon.
  8. Pag may nakikita akong mga batang pumapasok sa school dito, naaalala ko nung mga bata kami sabay sabay kami pumasok. Since magkakasunod kami pinanganak, para kaming hagdan. Grade1 to Grade 4, may Chico representative, hehe. Lagi namin problema nun pag recess kung paano hahatiin yung sampung piso na baon namin. Ang areglo ni Nanay pag walang barya, pupuntahan na lang nung unang nagrecess yung panganay sa classroom nila, tapos ibalik yung sukli. And so on.
  9. Pag naggogrocery kami dito sa US, puro malalaki yung shampoo/conditioner. Naalala ko nung bata kami madalas kami magaway na magkakapatid kapag hindi nagtira ng shampoo yung unang naligo.Kasi dapat ang isang sachet, paghatian ng dalawang ulo. Minsan tatlo. Feeling mayaman na kami kung nakaconditioner ang buhok namin.
  10. 10. Minsan pag chinecheck ko yung ulo ng asawa ko kung may puting buhok, naalala ko nung minsan pagdating ko galing elementary school kasi maaga ang uwian.Mga alas tres ng hapon at saktong walang pasok ang tatay ko sa trabaho, kinutuhan nya ako. Makuto yata ako noong bata. Ang sarap ng feeling hanggang ngayon hindi ko makalimutan. Tagal nya akong kinutuhan hanggang nakatulog na yata ako. Minsan nakakapagpaiyak pa rin sa akin yung alala na yun…

 

To be continued…

LOVE LETTER TO FILIPINOS By David H. Harwell, PhD

A sentimental open letter from an American teacher to the Filipino people.

I am writing to thank Filipinos for the way you have treated me here, and to pass on a lesson I learned from observing the differences between your culture and mine over the years.

I am an expatriate worker. I refer to myself as an OAW, an overseas American worker, as a bad joke. The work I do involves a lot of traveling and changing locations, and I do it alone, without family. I have been in 21 countries now, not including my own. It was fun at first. Now, many years later, I am getting tired. The Philippines remains my favorite country of all, though, and I’d like to tell you why before I have to go away again.

I have lived for short periods here, traveled here, and have family and friends here. My own family of origin in the United States is like that of many Americans—not much of a family. Americans do not stay very close to their families, geographically or emotionally, and that is a major mistake. I have long been looking for a home and a family, and the Philippines is the only place I have lived where people honestly seem to understand how important their families are.

I am American and hard-headed. I am a teacher, but it takes me a long time to learn some things. But I’ve been trying, and your culture has been patient in trying to teach me.

In the countries where I’ve lived and worked, all over the Middle East and Asia, it is Filipinos who do all the work and make everything happen. When I am working in a new company abroad, I seek out the Filipino staff when I need help getting something done, and done right. Your international reputation as employees is that you work hard, don’t complain, and are very capable. If all the Filipinos were to go home from the Middle East, the world would stop. Oil is the lifeblood of the world, but without Filipinos, the oil will not come from the ground, it will not be loaded onto the ships, and the ships will not sail. The offices that make the deals and collect the payments will not even open in the morning. The schools will not have teachers, and, of course, the hospitals will have no staff.

What I have seen, that many of you have not seen, is how your family members, the ones who are overseas Filipino workers, do not tell you much about how hard their lives actually are. OFWs are very often mistreated in other countries, at work and in their personal lives. You probably have not heard much about how they do all the work but are severely underpaid, because they know that the money they are earning must be sent home to you, who depend on them. The OFWs are very strong people, perhaps the strongest I have ever seen. They have their pictures taken in front of nice shops and locations to post on Facebook so that you won’t worry about them. But every Pinoy I have ever met abroad misses his/her family very, very much.

I often pity those of you who go to America. You see pictures of their houses and cars, but not what it took to get those things. We have nice things, too many things, in America, but we take on an incredible debt to get them, and the debt is lifelong. America’s economy is based on debt. Very rarely is a house, car, nice piece of clothing, electronic appliance, and often even food, paid for. We get them with credit, and this debt will take all of our lifetime to pay. That burden is true for anyone in America—the OFWs, those who are married to Americans, and the Americans themselves.

Most of us allow the American Dream to become the American Trap. Some of you who go there make it back home, but you give up most of your lives before you do. Some of you who go there learn the very bad American habits of wanting too many things in your hands, and the result is that you live only to work, instead of working only to live. The things we own actually own us. That is the great mistake we Americans make in our lives. We live only to work, and we work only to buy more things that we don’t need. We lose our lives in the process.

I have sometimes tried to explain it like this: In America, our hands are full, but our hearts are empty.

You have many problems here, I understand that. Americans worry about having new cars, Filipinos worry about having enough food to eat. That’s an enormous difference. But do not envy us, because we should learn something from you. What I see is that even when your hands are empty, your hearts remain full.

I have many privileges in the countries where I work, because I am an expat. I do not deserve these things, but I have them. However, in every country I visit, I see that you are there also, taking care of your families, friends, bosses, and coworkers first, and yourselves last. And you have always taken care of me, in this country and in every other place where I have been.

These are places where I have been very alone, very tired, very hungry, and very worried, but there have always been Filipinos in my offices, in the shops, in the restaurants, in the hospitals, everywhere, who smile at and take good care of me. I always try to let you know that I have lived and traveled in the Philippines and how much I like your country. I know that behind those smiles of yours, here and abroad, are many worries and problems.

Please know that at least one of us expats has seen what you do for others and understands that you have a story behind your smiles. Know that at least one of us admires you, respects you, and thanks you for your sacrifices. Salamat po. Ingat lagi. Mahal ko kayong lahat.

David H. Harwell, PhD, is a former professor and assistant dean in the United States who now travels and works abroad designing language training programs. He is a published author and a son of a retired news editor.

What I’ve Been Up to the Past Few Days

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Yes people, I am a 27-year-old woman who doesn’t know how to drive. Yet. Let me make it clear. Back in the Philippines where I came from, there is no dire need to learn how to drive. You can go places near or far without having to drive. Jeepneys, tricycles, buses, even pedicabs and horse carriages (in some places) are accessible. Plus, the cost of owning your own vehicle in addition to skyrocketing price of diesel/gasoline is just way too much for an average citizen like me.

My husband tried to tell me to enroll myself in a driving lesson couple months before we moved here in the States. I was hesitant to do it because: 1) I am scared of driving. 2) Philippines is one of the worst countries to drive in. 3) I thought paying 7000 pesos for the driving lesson is expensive 4) I don’t trust myself on the steering wheel because of my number one reason. And so, I didn’t do it.

So fast forwarding to now, I am here sitting in front of the wheel; left with no choice but to learn how to drive because I couldn’t go anywhere if I wouldn’t do it. I’d be stuck at home forever if I resist doing it. Sucks. But on the brighter side, I am kind of learning the basics now. And also driving gives me that feeling of liberation. I think I am close to conquering one of my many fears in life.

But… I don’t think I am ready to pass the driving test yet. Hubby has been teaching me for only a few days right now and I’m no prodigy. I need to drive and practice some more. I will let you guys know if I pass that test. Wish me luck and I hope no accidents. (Fingers crossed)

Happy Anniversary, My Love

Happy third to us babe! Thank you for coming into my life and putting up with my nagging and craziness for the past three years.

There is no pretending. I love you, and I will love you until I die. And if there is life after that, I’ll love you yet again.

Cheers to us!

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Daddy, I love you
For all that you do.
I’ll kiss you and hug you
Cause you love me, too.

Love,
-DJ

(P.S. OK, maybe DJ didn’t say that but I think thats what he wants you to know. Trust me, I can read his mind. Happy Father’s Day!- Mom)

Didn’t Get to Say My Goodbye

Image

I didn’t get to see you before you left,
Didn’t get to say my goodbyes,
Didn’t get to hug you and kiss you good night,
Didn’t get to tell you how much I was proud to have you as a father,
Didn’t get the chance to tell you I was sorry for being stupid sometimes,
You wont get a chance to see your grandchildren,
and I wont get the chance to say I love you one more time.
I wish I could have those chances,
but I am glad to have had the chance of having a father like you.
Thank you Dad!

 

Happy Father’s Day to my Tatay in heaven…

Baguio City, Philippines

Baguio City, Philippines

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