If I was blogging in 1993, this would have been my post.

I just had a tinge of regret at fact that I wasn't blogging when I first came to the US. I don't think anyone was blogging or if blogging was invented yet. Just think of all the possibilities for postings, a goldmine. Each time one experiences change, there is bound to be endless bloggable materials from the experience.

Unfortunately for me, I may have written a few journal entries, whereabouts unknown. Mostly though I was sharing all these new experiences to my friends by writing them letters and sending them postcards. I moved to California from the Philippines in 1993.

It will be 20 years in February of 2013 that I have been away from the motherland and living in my second motherland, California. Sometimes, I feel nostalgic and try to recall all the changes brought by the move, but the years have been plenty between then and now and my brain cells have aged dramatically since; hence, very little do I remember about those experiences.

The difference with my move in comparison with the many blogs about changes in location that I read (mostly from fellow Pinoys moving/working outside the country) is that I moved to join my family. I already have a family support system in my new "motherland" and that I was expecting very few, if any, adjustments with my living conditions. I was the last one to come.

However, it was really tough getting started. Unlike the nurses that come to the US to work, I came without a job already in place. It was tough job hunting even then, and that was the time of plenty. My sis-in-law had many friends. One of them offered to give me a training position in her small mortgage firm, by doing small things like answering the phones, faxing, doing whatever needs to be done. Aside from the owner, there were 2 others that work there part-time. All of them Filipinos. She gave me $100 a week and I stayed for a few months, just so I have something to write in my resume. I don't think it helped, but it gave me something to do in those first few months here.

In the same company I met a younger woman, a few years older than I am who was renting the small office. She is a lawyer and studied law at San Beda College, which is just across from my alma mater, CEU. In all the time I was there, I only saw her with one client. I don't know how she managed to keep afloat. We bonded and often ate our lunch together. I sometimes am left alone in the office, welcoming people from banks. I got some mugs and cups and other freebies from banks.

But a $100 a week wasn't going to keep me alive, so I left. I was out of job for a few weeks, if my memory is correct. Then I saw this ad on the paper about a supervisory position in a manufacturing firm in Emeryville (just across the Bay Bridge from SF). My brother drove me to the appointment, I went to be interviewed and was told by the owner that I was overqualified for the position. But I told him I needed to start somewhere. And I wasn't picky.

And so I started to work in a factory - making suspenders (that you see on Home Depot) and ties. While I was hired as a supervisor, I first have to get trained in the stock room where I needed to familiarize myself with all the products we make and all the materials required to complete a product. In addition, I was to learn the entire process and it begins in the stock room. The stock room is manned/headed by the owner's wife. The owners are Eastern European and she's about my age and we got along well from the very beginning.

My first day on the job I was lugging heavy materials all day long (was good, I maintained a sexy figure, wink***) and making sure I was giving the production floor the right materials for the products we were making. I couldn't move a muscle when I got home. I remembered almost crying (wouldn't cry because I was still living with brother) as I raised my feet up against the wall and laid in bed, too tired to want dinner.

I survived that first day and the disappointment and heartbreak of the first paycheck (peanuts money I tell you) and learned to like my job and my co-workers. The workers were from different countries. At the peak of production, I was managing 32 people, can you believe that?

Since the factory was small and the owners were Catholic, we always had Good Friday off. Also we have two 1-week vacation/time off every year. The workers didn't get paid for vacation, but I did since I was supervisor. This is where I met my husband. He was handling the Shipping and Receiving Dept. He stayed in that job because it suited his school schedules. I stayed because I didn't feel like trying to job hunt again.

Eventually, we both found our situation wanting in so many levels. He was going to graduate soon and would be seeking good jobs, I wanted a medical insurance coverage - the company didn't think I deserved to get one or that they could not afford it, either way the answer was NO.

On one of those weeklong vacations my then boyfriend and I would apply for jobs, mostly county and gov't jobs. Then we get called to take exams - civil service exams. And so one of those jobs called and I interviewed for 2 different positions - one in Social Services and another in hospital (here). I chose the latter because it has parking space. And also when the Director interviewed me, he said I was overqualified. I managed to convince him that I needed the job and I won't leave him high and dry. Not sure if that is a good decision or not.

See I have way too much materials then to blog about. Now, look, this blog is suriving on a once-a-week post, pitiful, isn't it?


atticus said…
once a week post isn't bad.
ang hirap din pala ng pinagdaanan mo. glad you found the ex-boyfriend (now husband) when you did.
witsandnuts said…
I'm pleased to have learned more about you. I especially like entries like, I feel it connects us/ you to the readers in so many aspects - the hardships and kindness of life, relationships, road less traveled, etc. I smiled so big when you mentioned the parking space factored in your decision making. :)

Popular Posts