Everyone of us have different life experiences growing up. Here’s mine:
I can say that if not with my determination to finish school, I won’t be able to find a good job. And if I did not have a good job, I won’t be able to help provide for my family’s daily needs. I am the eldest of four in the family. In the Filipino tradition, the eldest child looks after his or her younger siblings and is also responsible for the welfare of the whole family besides the parents.
Came from a family who lived in poverty, I motivated myself to pursue my studies and dreamed of someday I will be able to help my parents provide for the family. I won’t forget those times when I had to go to school wearing a pair of overly beaten shoes – mid-sole cracked with an old pair of white-turned-beige socks – with 2 pesos in my pocket for recess. In the province, it’s a whole-day class and we had to go home for lunch (some students had packed lunch) and come back at 1 P.M. for the afternoon classes.
On Saturdays, I work in one of the grocery stores in the market in town as extra helper. If grocery stores have enough helpers, I work as a dishwasher in a small canteen at the market. And when there’s no available spot in the canteen, my friend and neighbor will take me with him to work for an elementary teacher as a weekend helper at her house – doing the dishes, laundry, grating cassava for cassava cakes she makes to sell in school, tidying up clothes and ironing – in short, weekend housemaid. Earning 30 Pesos (less than a dollar of today’s conversion) for the whole day’s work in the grocery store or in a canteen or at the teacher’s house, I can buy a sachet of toothpaste, a small bar of bath soap, two sachets of shampoo, and a few school supplies. The rest I had to share with my sister who is in grade school at that time. My father’s earnings as a pedicab driver will provide for the food on the table. We did not have electricity and water supply. We had to do our laundry and bathing in the river.
It was a difficult life with lots of challenges. But with the help of prayers, hard work, and God’s guidance, my family and I are helping one another to overcome them.
It is summer vacation in the Philippines. But it is a summer class for my youngest sister who is in college. She was determined to take the summer class this year because she doesn’t want to be in the October graduating class. So she has to enroll summer classes for the first semester’s subjects. I am glad that my sister is very determined and diligent in schooling. We are proud of her studying hard and keeping the good grades.
Just two months ago she and her class went to Cebu for a training in a Psychiatric Institution. That means they dealt with patients who have mental incapacity. It was a two-week training so my sister had to pack a medium-sized luggage that she borrowed from our sibling. The she had to bring her laptop and few books and school supplies. I sent her funds that I thought would make it through the two-week stay in Cebu but I received an email from her saying that the she’s getting short on the budget. And it’s three more days until the end of the training. Because of the time difference between the Philippines and the USA which is about 12 hours, I immediately sent funds to my sister. Gladly, she got her allowance on time. My sister said the training went well. Their CI told them ahead of time to not get attached to their patients. They did lots of brainstorming after the duties.
This summer class’ subjects, she said, are necessary for Juniors like her so she won’t get tied up with so many requirements in her Senior year.
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Nothing compares to a peaceful and worry-free living. If given the chance, I would let my parents live here in Palm Beach Gardens CCRC. I think they will like it here because my father likes to play golf. And I want them to experience the serenity of living independently since they both have been working hard for our family.
I have a girl friend who lives in Florida and she said Palm Beach is really a nice place. It would be nice if my plan getting my parents here in the US will come into reality very soon.