Friday, July 31, 2009

On love and education

Learning is a continuous process. It is like loving someone. We should never stop doing both. We can learn from our daily interaction with other people, from watching TV and from reading, we even learn from our small children, but the most important thing that we should learn is the lesson from our mistakes.

I was 28 years old when I graduated college which I thought I won't be able to achieve but through perseverance, hard work and spiced with faith in God, I made it. Although I already have a job, I still want to further my education so I can have a part time job like teaching one or two subjects in school. Being the bread winner of the family I have to make more income so I'd be able to send my siblings to school. So I work on daytime and goes to school at night. There's no time for love sabi nga nila.

I was busy with my thesis writing (September 2002) when I met this guy from Asian Matchmaker site (Thank you very much Ruth). The student assistant in our office, Ms. Ruth Interno, told me to make a profile in that site but I just laughed and told her that I am so busy. She told me that she's gonna make me one and I said "Okay" thinking that she was just kidding but I was wrong. She really made me one and even posted a picture of me, so I went with the flow and added some description of myself there.

On the last day of my free trial 7th day), I had this feeling that I have to check my account, so I did and sure enough there's one message waiting for me. It was like a frantic message saying "Please send me an email to this email add". So that's what I did and I learned that his free trial was expiring in minutes before he found my profile.

From then on our communication started - emails and calls several times a day. That inspired me to continue with my thesis which I was about to give up that time. After three months of courtship, I finally gave him my big YES (t'was new years eve)! I asked God for a sign before I accepted him, I said that if he calls me on NY eve, he's the one... and he did.

Three months after that he came to see me (March 2003), it was during my graduation, yessssssss my masters degree.. Whoa that was tough! He was my escort when I went up the stage to get my diploma. Thanks God I made it! And thanks to my dear husband John who supported me all the way (financially, emotionally, and spiritually).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's now or Never

So there I was, a high school graduate. What kind of job can I get with my HS diploma? I won't be able to go to College because there 's no way and means. I took the College Entrance test in Bicol University but I did not get the result because I didn't submit my NCEE result(National Coll. Entrance Exam). Why not? Because I had to help my parents. My siblings are getting big and with a minimal income that my parents had, they can no longer afford to send all of them to school so I have to find a job.

So right after my graduation, my cousin Elsa took me in Nabua Camarines Sur where she and her sister work, it was a big grocery store. They recommended me to their boss, got a two week job for observation, she liked my performance and I got hired. The salary is not bad, it was enough for me to help my family. I worked there for a couple of years and then decided to left and go to Manila instead. I wasn't sure to what job I was gonna get in Manila and I ended up working on a small store In Baliuag Bulacan. Salary was too small so after a year, I decided to go back to my former job.

While working there for the second time, I met this tall, dark and ... ahem...a very nice and friendly guy, DN. He was only there for a summer job, we became friends and later on, I learned that he is my boss' nephew. So of course when he told me that he want to court on me I said no. I'm afraid that my boss would fire me if she learn about it. But the guy was so persistent, so after months and months of kakulitan and suyuan, I gave up and said Yes. So true enough when my boss learned about it, she told her sister( my bf's mom) about it and his family told me he's better off without me. They told me that I was not the right woman for their son.

Well I can't blame them, Chinese clans do always want their kids to marry Chinese kids too. Though I love the guy, I told him its better for us to part ways because I don't want to lose my job, that my family needs me. He disagree of course, he told me that I have to leave my job and enroll to college instead. I said, "What the heck are you thinking?" My savings wasn't good enough to support my school expenses. Then he told me to just enroll and apply as a working student.

Though unsure of my decision, I took his advise and enrolled in Divine Word College of Legazpi. I did not tell my parents that I enrolled in College but I told them that I would not be able to send money for a while because I got fired from my job. But they learned about it when I ran into a student who is from my place, so she told my parents about it. So then, the envious people in our place are spreading rumors about me that I have a sugar daddy as they call it who supports my finances. My parents was devastated about the rumors but I told them to just let them talk about it because I wasn't doing anything wrong.

When my freshman year was almost over and my savings was almost empty too, spent most of it for tuition fees, boarding house rental and food. Summer vacation came and I took the examination for working students. When the result came, I was so disappointed because I was not on the list of those who qualified.

I cried and cried and said that my dream was over until one day...I went to school to get a transcript so I can apply for a job in Legazpi and I saw my name on the board requesting me to see the Guidance Counselor. I was concerned and worried at first because I thought I did something wrong. But I was delighted when the Guidance Counselor asked me if I am still interested to work as a student assistant. I excitedly said "YES MA'AM!" After I heard the good news, I went to the chapel and thanked God for always taking care of me. Going out the school gate I had a very big smile on my face.

So I enrolled again and worked as SA (student assistant) in Finance Office. As a working student, our tuition fees are free (up to 21 units), and we have monthly allowance. Though my TF were free, I still couldn't go on because I don't have savings anymore for board and lodging. When my savings was almost gone, God took care of me again. Fr. Baby Joaquin, my boss in Finance Office asked me if I want to live in the father's quarter because they need a replacement for an SA who got sick and went home (thanks to you Joseph).

By living there, I was receiving two allowances which I used to help my parents and pay for the extra units I was taking and miscellaneous fees. I took all summer classes so I finished my course with one semester ahead of my batch mates (I was also an academic achiever for two consecutive semesters-yohooooo!). So during the last semester of my course I was already working in my alma mater as the secretary in the Student Affairs Office.

Thanks a lot to the SVD priests (Fr. Alex, Fr. Eli Yyance, Fr. Mike Padua, the late Fr. Joe and most especially Fr Babes who guided and supported me all the way). I can't thank you enough for all the great deeds you've done for me, for molding me to be a better person and for all the wisdom you've imparted in me. I thanked DN too for encouraging me to reach my goal.

It was tough but I managed to get through it. I admit that there were times where I doubted my decision but I never lost hope. You just have to believe in yourself, set a goal, put your mind to it and work hard, have faith in God (don't ever let go of Him), use the criticism you get from people who don't believe in you as a positive tool and I assure you, you will succeed. That was exactly what I did. GOD always provides everything that we need we just have to do our part.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Great Miracle

Two years after I graduated in elementary another tragedy struck our lives. It was November 1987, my three months old sister Lyn was suffering from Asthma, so Mama and I had to rushed her to the hospital. That day, the weather condition was bad because of the typhoon Sisang, the sea was already wavy, the gushing wind was strong and rain was pouring heavily.

That night, the worst nightmare happened. The roofs of the hospital was tearing apart, the glass on the window were breaking, thunder and lightning was terrifying. We had to transfer from one room to another, it was horrible. After the storm we've learned that we lost everything back home, our house was wiped away by a tidal wave. But we're still thankful that all of us are alive.

Papa said that they had a horrifying night too, the four of them (my 2 brothers and a sister and him)we're not able to evacuate soon so when the tidal wave came they held hand in hand just to escape the powerful water. He said that he thought that was it for all of them. But God is so great, they managed to hold on to a tree and stayed there for hours and hours until the typhoon was over. What a tragedy and yet a miracle! We lost everything, the only thing we had were the clothes on our body.

We started anew, Papa built us a shanty to live in for a while out of the woods and stuff we found at the seashore. We don't have food to eat, the local government gave us ration of rice but it was limited. Not enough for a big family so Mama had to cook it with lots of water (we called it lugaw) to make it plenty enough to feed us all. Eight months had passed and it was enrollment time. I asked my parents if i can enroll to high school but they hesitated due to the fact that we don't have stable income that will support my studies. So I said, OK.. But without my parents knowledge I sneaked out and enrolled myself.

When Mama sent me in town for some errands, I went with my friends who enrolled in a comprehensive high school but I didn't enroll there because I can't afford to pay the miscellaneous fees. So I went with my other friend to another school which is a vocational one, this school was just beginning their operation so the fees are minimal. I think I only paid 10 pesos. So I got enrolled, I was worried in telling my parents. How can I afford to buy my school things, my uniform,the rent for the boarding house and my food?

Whew, it was so tough but I can assure you that God always watches over and take care of us all the time. My friend whom I went to enroll was the answer to all my questions. She told me that her half sister who lives nearby the school was needing a housemaid. So I asked my friend if she can introduce me to her sister and tell her my situation. Luckily she agreed to pay for my stuff in exchange with my services to them. When I told my parents about it they're happy though still worried but I assured them that I will take care of my needs.

On my Sophomore year I met this teacher from Legazpi City (Mrs. Arizala - thanks Madam!), she was newly transferred to our school and she asked me if i would be willing to live in a boarding house where she lives. I took the opportunity because she and her daughter were the only ones I would have to serve compared to the big family i was living with. But she had to transfer to another school again at the end of my junior year, so i was in a big dilemma again.

Our Supply Officer Mrs. Venus, offered a lending hands to help me finish my schooling (I thank God so much!). My entire high school days was spent with just going to school and work. I was so determined for my goal that I set aside most of my teenager life. On weekends that I don't have school, I always look for a day work or two just to earn some money for my projects. Its either doing someone else's laundry or pulling off weeds on a rice field.

During summer vacations, I go to Ligao Albay and have seasonal jobs like planting rice and picking tomatoes or beans. Before summer ends, I already bought not only my school things but also my sibling's school supplies. I wasn't born smart but I think because of my perseverance and hard work, I graduated with honors. I thank God for all the blessings He had given me especially the people who helped me, the people who don't believe in me - saying that I won't achieve anything because my school wasn't a popular one, and my parents who stood by me and supported my dreams.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quagmire of Poverty

Growing up with a big family is fun, but when the source of income is very limited its so hard.. I grew up in a very poor family, with 8 siblings and self-employed parents. Our life in Ligao Albay (my father's hometown) was good. Rice field is the main source of income and we lived decently from it. Our hardship in life started when a tragedy struck us. Papa got involved in trouble that led us to moved in Mama's hometown in Donsol Sorsogon. From then on our lives were a misery.

The only source of income there is fishing but since Papa don't have any experience about it, it was so hard. We struggled so much. Papa kinda lost his will to work, he got hooked up in drinking alcohol so much. Mama have to do something and help Papa go on with our living. Mama cooks variety of snacks made from different root crops like cassava, sweet potatoes (kamote as we call it), and bananas. I helped by selling them to houses in our neighborhood.

I graduated in Elementary doing the same kind of stuff in order to get by. Growing up with such kind of living made me build dreams. Dreams that so impossible to reach but I told myself that I have to do something so I won't have to endure the same path of poverty. I know that if I believe in myself, have faith in God and keep on going on, I can make a difference.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Meet our Brothers

Here are our bothers..

My late brother Andy (died at 38)..

Since my father was not around anymore when my I got married, my brother was the one who sent me to John in the church.

Here's my brother Rick (29), he is working in Cavite as a driver. Has one son to his girlfriend Marnie. Rick is a loving and sweet brother and very honest too. Rick did not finish high school because he wanted to work so he could help my parents when I was still in college. The picture was taken during my wedding day with our sister Yheng.
This is Nick (18). When I left five years ago, he was still a kid and when I came back I was stunned because he was so tall and a man already. He stopped going to high school when he was in second year and then went to Manila to work. He discovered that finding a job without a high school diploma is so hard so he asked us if we could send him again to school. Now he is back to school.
Nick and my youngest sister Mae.
Here he is now... He is very close to our late brother so he grieved so much when he died.
This is Dave (55), John's eldest brother. He is married to Michelle, has one daughter (Tina) and two sons Bryan and Lee. He is very good in fixing mechanical stuff. He owns an auto body shop.
This is Rick (52), yup we both have a brother named Rick. Rick is married to Jillian, has a daughter (Erica) who is trying to get into acting in Hollywood. She played a role into a musical/Broadway movie called.... ahhhh I can't remember..
John had a brother named Harold who died six years ago from excessive drinking. He fell from the stairs of the basement at Dad's house while he was drunk.

John and I shared the same experiences in losing someone. My late brother and father died due to alcohol and John's brother Harold died because of alcohol too.

Thanks for dropping by once again friends!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Missing Them... Terribly!

I don't know if it's just a hormonal change but I am deeply in pain thinking that my eldest brother is gone, that I would never see him anymore in this world. During my late brother's wake, I kept and tried my very best not to show my emotion because I wanted to be strong for my mother, my sister in law and her kids, and for my siblings. Although deep inside my heart was bleeding and wanted to scream.

It's when we came back here that I let go of my emotion, of what I feel, and just cried it out on my husband's shoulder. It's been almost a month since he died but I am still in denial of the whole truth. Every time I think of late brother and father, I feel like a thousand knives are going in and out of my heart.

I did not know that the ride he gave me during our visit last March will be my last ride with him. Please Lord, give me strength to carry on and accept the truth that he is now with You!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Meet my sisters

I have five sisters and I am the oldest. As I was growing up, I showed my sister how to beat the poverty by doing something to improve our lives. But I guess, my example was not good enough because they just simply gave up their education.

Next to me is my sister Roselda (33 years old), she has three children now. Her husband is working as a maintenance guy in TESDA. We asked my sister to live with Mama before because her husband is not taking care of her and the kids very good. He has vices (drinking, and gambling) and he only give limited amount to his family. My heart was crushed when she decided to take the kids back to Manila to live with her husband. She became so skinny again. But I can't blame her because she is thinking of her children growing up without their Dad on their sight.

Next is Rebecca (31) and has three kids also. Her husband don't have a permanent job so she is constantly complaining about her life situation to me. I keet telling her that it's the life she chose. I hate to see my siblings suffer but my resources is also limited, I don't have a job and we are supporting my Mother and sending two of my younger sibs to school.This is Rosemarie (24), we called her Yheng. I sent her in college but she decided to stop and just look for work. She never find a job when she went to Manila but instead she got pregnant and the father of her son did not want to take any responsibility. So she went home to have her baby at my Mom's house. I was devastated by the choices she made but there's nothing I can do but to understand her situation.
This is Lyn (22), my husband and I wanted to send her to College after she graduated HS but she did not want to. She has now a daughter and a baby on the way. I am just glad that her husband is a nice guy and has a permanent job that can support her and the baby.
This is Mae, she's our youngest. She turned 16 last month and is now attending college. When my father died, she was only ten years old then. My late brother became her father figure when papa died so she took it so hard when my brother died too. She grieved so much and passed out several times during my brother's wake and burial.
These photos were taken before I left going to States. With my sisters Roselda and kids, Lyn, Mae, Becca and kids.

With Yheng, Lyn, Mae, our two nieces and our dog Budik.
With Mae and Lyn. Don't they look like twins?
Latest photo of us sa tambayan hehehe..

With Mae and Lyn when I was still working in school. We went to Dheo Indika resort in Tabaco Albay with the student leaders.
Thanks for taking time to read my boring life guys!

Happy Mommy Moments

Every moment that we spend with our children is precious. Be it a not-so-perfect day to fun-filled day, it is still a blessing that we experience as a Mom.

Here are my happy moments with my little burritos! Enjoy the photos and thanks for commenting!

Thanks to all the Mommies who shared this fun to me!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Eldest Sibs

Here are our eldest siblings.

Crystal is John's eldest siblings and only sister. We called her Chris. Chris and I shared the same month on birthdays (June). She is in her late fifty's, she is older than my mother. I remember one time when she accompanied me to Rylie's Pedia, the doctor asked if she is my mother-in-law which I felt very bad.

Chris is sort of a Jack of all trades. She is a nurse, a carpenter, a painter, a tailor, gardener, a builder, landscaper, a great cook, and a lot more. She loves animals, she has a cat, 6 dogs then (only three now), a lizard, fishes, birds. She is a purpose driven person, when she put her mind to it, she would really do it. Just like when she built her swimming pool at the back of her house. I wouldn't dare doing it lol but she did. She had a son (deceased) and a daughter. Her daughter Jen was close to my age so when I first came to the States, we clicked right away, thanks Jen.

Here are the photos we took when I introduced John to our relatives in Ligao, Albay. My late brother lived there when he got married until my father died and I asked him to move to my mother's house.I bought this carabao for my brother because he used to be a caretaker of a rice field in Ligao and he needed it to plow the field. When they moved to Donsol, he let his father-in-law took care of the carabao. After a year, my brother decided to sell it in order that he can buy a motorcycle which is against his father-in-law's will. To make the story short, he bought that motorcycle and eventually cost his life.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters Honey Roseanne (11), Rhia Mae (9), and Briel (5 months). I hope and pray that my husband and I would be able to financially support them. Whew, life is so tough!

My brother was my confidante. He taught me a lot of things when we were growing up. Sure we had arguments but he and I were very close. He even knew things about me that my own father did not. I would forever be grateful that I had a loving brother like you manoy. I love you and may you rest in peace with the Lord.

Sorry guys, I am tearful here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meet our parents

The photos below are our parents.

According to my parents, my father's family did not want mama as his wife because mama came from a very poor family and his family was a little bit well off. But my father fought for their love. Mama was very young when her and my father start living together, my father was 18 and my mother was 17. They had my late brother when Mama was 18 years old.

My father passed away two weeks before John and I's civil wedding (He was only 51 years old then). He was so excited for our wedding, he celebrated and drunk too much alcohol and died. I just wish that he is still alive but I am sure that wherever he is right now, he is happy with the presence of our Creator. I love you Papa.

The picture below was taken when they first got together.

These are John's parents. His Mom died a year before I finally migrated to the mighty US of A. But I was able to communicate with her through letters and phone call. When I arrived at John's neighborhood, the neighbors already knew me because his Mom showed my picture to everyone. John's Dad is a veteran of WW2 and I am so blessed to have a very kind and loving in-laws in a foreign land. I never had any issues with them, they are all nice to me.

The photo below was taken at the back porch of Dad's house with my mother-in-laws sister Romaine and her husband.(John's parents are the ones in red and gray tops).This photo was taken during John's first visit (March 2003), Papa was still alive then. In this picture, my brother Nick was still a kid so when I came home for the first time I was shocked that he is already a man lol..Thanks guys for dropping by and welcome to our lives! Please leave your url if you want to exchange link through the comment section.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome to my new blog.

Through this blog, you will be able to know me more as I share all about our clan. So please tune in. The title was inspired of from the movie "We were soldiers". There is a scene there where Lt. Colonel Moore asked his wife "I can hear you laughing all the way in here" and Mrs. Moore said "I'm not laughing I'm marveling."

So join us in our marvelous journey!

It's been..

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