Saturday, January 6, 2018


I had this premonition tonight that I might not have a reason to go back to Fort Dodge. Fort Dodge, the place where I started my life in the United States.  My first job.  My first apartment.  I met my husband there.  We got married there.  And I met Flora there.  I am not fond of the place itself.  It has no oriental store.  It has a mall that is slowly and painfully dying.  There is no Vietnamese restaurant.  But it holds a place in my heart.  Mainly because of Flora.  And I learned today, she passed away.  My heart is broken.  Flora, the lady who invited   me to church.  Who introduced me to pot roast and mashed potato dinners.  Who allowed me to use her car so I could get a driver's license.  Who invited me  to her family holiday get-togethers. Who treated me like a daughter. Who stood as a witness for me and my husband on our wedding day.   I knew someday that there is no reason to go back to Fort Dodge.  I never thought it would be this soon...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I am back

I plan to return to blogging.  Just an outlet for my thoughts.  My life is different now.  So much older.  But not really wiser.  I am now a mother of two.  A boy who's 6 and a girl who will be soon  16 month old.  I feel blessed.  I have a good husband.  A good home.  A good job.  The world has become more dangerous but I am not losing hope.  I still see bright future as long as presidency will stay on the Democratic side (Go Hillary!).  Oh well...Here I am again with my political rant.  I'll come back soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Big Jerk

This happened this morning....  I have not seen the patient or any of his family member.  I was scheduled to see this patient (for the first time) today.  It's after 9AM when I called...

Guy (I assume, a family member):  Hello.
Me:  Hello. My name is L.D.  I'm from Homecare Physical Therapy.  I'm scheduled to see Mr. JD today.  I would like to know if I could come to see him this afternoon?
Guy:  (Grumpy voice)  Scheduled to see him today?   The nurse will be here today.  You people call so much.  Everyone calls on the day of the visit instead of the night before.
Me:  I could see him another day if that would work better for you. 
Guy: (Angry voice)  Would you let me speak!?
S   I  L  E N  C  E
Me:  Go ahead..
Guy:  You need to talk to each other and not call us all the time.  We will just drop your agency and go to another agency.  What you're doing is harassment!
Me:  Oh my God! (in my brain: wow,  you're over-dramatic!)
Guy:  I would like to talk to your supervisor.  What is the number of your supervisor?
Me:  xxx-xxxx
Guy:  What is the suffix? 515?
Me:  Yes and you have to ask for...
And he hung up on me...

What an abusive jerk!   Unfortunately, my job involves dealing with these kind of people. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

First Day in America

What was your first day in your adopted country like?  This is mine...

My first day in America: It was April 10, 1997. Denton, TX. I was 23. I arrived with 8 other Filipinos to work as Physical Therapist. It was a rainy evening when we arrived. The coldest rain that I ever experienced. We stayed in a house that was the nicest house that I'd ever stayed in. I was impressed by the wall to wall carpet. The fireplace. Hot water from the faucet. The well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. Flavored rice. The 50 plus channels on TV. The almost empty street. And the American friendliness. After 2 months, I moved to Iowa. I was depressed at first because I felt like I was thrown in the middle of nowhere. My image of America prior to coming here was "big city" like New York or Chicago. I did not expect cornfields and small towns. I realized immediately the necessity of a car. I did not know how to drive. I was depressed for quite awhile but this place grew on me that when I returned to TX five years later, I missed Iowa so much that I decided to move back to stay. #firstdays

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Home is where the heart is...

It's been a while since I posted.   New Year.  New perspective, hopefully.

Last summer, we visited the Philippines.  It was my first homecoming in 16 years.  We just stayed for about 8 days.  It was short but sweet.  I was reunited with my two younger sisters, cousins and old friends.  I was a tourist in my own country.  People saw me differently.  I am older.  Everyone called me ate which means big sister.   Sixteen years ago, most people called me miss or  anak meaning child.

Our time in the Philippines was overloaded with activities and sight seeing tours.  We stayed in hotels because our childhood home was under renovation.  Our town has changed.  When I left, it was primarily rural with ample farmland, no treated water, no phone line, no fast food chain except for Dunkin Donuts which was fairly new then.  Now, it is a city.  The sad part is the infrastructure has not kept up with the demand.  The traffic is horrendous.  It used to take us only 15 minutes from our house to the town center.  Now, at least an hour.

Despite the traffic, heat, unsafe driving and Manila, we thoroughly enjoyed our homecoming.  We went to Taal Volcano, Villa Escudero, Boracay, Mall of Asia and Fort Santiago.  My friend compared our trip to the reality show Amazing Race.  It was intense with very little down time. 

It was strange coming back after living for so long in the US.  I noticed the heat more, the pollution more, the humidity, the traffic, the poverty.  My heart breaks for homeless people especially the children and street vendors.  I cannot say no to people.  I gave generous tips.   I feel guilty for having such a good life.  I did not cry when I left the first time but I cried this time.   I promised to return, soon.

Upon return to the States, everything felt more luxurious.  The carpet.  The wide road with very little traffic.  The central air conditioning.  But I was hit by depression which lasted for quite a while. 

I was ready to move back to the Philippines.  I missed my friends and family.   I studied this possibility for quite a while.  Maybe, Jason can teach.  I could teach.  Benji must attend Chinese school so he could be ready for the world economy.  Despite these grandiose ideas, reality still prevailed.   It is not ideal to raise a family in the Philippines for so many reasons.    However,  my husband and I agreed that maybe in retirement, we'll spend each winter in the Philippines, if we could afford it. 

Last week, I told my 4 year old,  "Benji, if it is only good in the Philippines, we could go home now."  Benji replied "What are you saying mommy?  We're already home."  Wise words from the mouth of babe....  But part of my heart remains in the Philippines...

Taken in Boracay

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I should not be writing about this but...

I cannot help myself.

This is the longest job I ever held in my life.  I jumped from one company to another in my earlier days.  I got tired of it.  That's the primary reason that  keeps me in my current job.

Logic says it's time for a change  but I just don't have the gut.  I work so long in this job that the only people that I could use as references are my current co-workers and boss.  They will not be happy with me leaving.  I know because one of my co-workers decided to leave after having a baby, my boss is not really that thrilled.

Why do I want to change?

1.  I am exposed to second hand smoking from clients.
2.  This is not an 8 hour job.  We have so many charting that working until late at night is very common.
3.  Vulnerability.  We enter stranger's home.
4.  No assistance available when patient is heavy lift...
5.  Driving during winters....
6.  Patient has more control of their time.  Many do not want to be seen certain times...during Price is Right, The Young and the Restless, etc...
7.  The price of gas....and cars....

Well at least I have a job....and it pays pretty well....  Someday, there will come a job that will be worth the change...We'll see.  Or just wait for retirement...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

This and That..

It's been a while since I posted.  Lots of things happened but I've been so busy with my work, garden and home stuff that I just don't have time to update this blog.  Writing in English is very taxing to me.  My grammar is not perfect and my words are limited.  Anyway, I will do my best on updating this blog.

First about my mother.  I haven't seen her for about 3 weeks now.  Benji now goes to daycare since March. It's been good so far.  My mother is tired of taking care of Benji.  I used her for Mondays only but she works evening shifts and sleeps late so she feels tired.  My mother is in her second childhood to say it kindly because I believe she has not left her childhood.   She stays really late at night because of internet dating.  She planned to meet her online  English boyfriend in London last April but  it did not happened although she had a ticket bought already.  She had  cold feet 5 days before the trip.  She told the boyfriend that she had heart attack (a lie) and this poor guy was unable to get his refund.  She also bought a ticket to go back to the Philippine for last March but her oath taking to get her citizenship certificate was postponed a month so she was not able to get her US passport before the trip.  

She never calls me unless she needs something.  I call her pretty often but I felt so unsatisfied with conversation.  We just don't have things to talk about, at least positively.  Usual conversations are pretty shallow and she hides a lot of things from me.  I am just too tired to care.   She treats her children who are here in the US as her enemies and her children in the Philippines as her allies. She causes division.   She is not capable of thinking critically or maternally and it is very frustrating.

So much for that.  We almost forgot our 13th year of wedding anniversary.  It's been 13 years!  I cannot believe it.  I told my husband,"Enough of this craziness!"  He just laughed.  I laughed too.  Marriage is such a strange thing.  Life will never be good without him...  

We are definitely going back to the Philippines at the end of August.  It is my 1st in 16 years and  my husband's first time ever...  For him, first time ever out of the country.  I am very excited.  In a way, I will be a tourist in my own country too.  We were too poor to travel when I was young so I haven't been on places that we are planning to go such as Boracay and Villa Escudero.  I am busy researching and booking for our hotels and activities.  We will only be staying for 7 days but I am really filling it up with activities.  My plan is to have a get-together one evening for friends, neighbors, relatives and families.  I sent people e-mail regarding their availability and recommendation but no one has responded yet.   Oh well, it's just my Americanization of planning ahead that gets me.

I admit I have some anxiety on going back, on dealing with Manila's crime and traffic.  I am anticipating some demands from my relatives too.  I have an image of us being held hostage or capsized and lost in the sea.  My husband insist of doing our will prior to our trip.  Yup, we need an Ativan.  But the big part of me is just  excited.  I asked my husband if he's excited, he said it hasn't sunk in yet.  Okay "sunk", "sunken", and "sank" are not allowed in our vocabulary until we're done with the trip. 

I just want to post a picture that makes me happy and strong....