Time flies. I'm a bit embarrassed sometimes when people asked how long I'd been in this country. My English grammar did not improve much. However, I am a different person from that younger, slimmer and ignorant person that I was.
Unrealistic expectations were gone. Gratefulness took its place. I came to accept that I am not in heaven but in a wonderful place where opportunities are still plentiful. Opportunity to improve myself and my life is what I cherish most.
Before leaving the Philippines, my colleagues and I were examined by a psychiatrist to determine our fitness in performing our job. I was told that my intelligence is above average which was good to know but I was also told that I will not survive in the United States because of my passive personality. That was a blow to the gut. What she said hounds me up to this very moment. However, I have more understanding of her "diagnosis." What she failed to tell me is that people are malleable; that we are products of our environment and experiences. Maybe she didn't know that because she is not familiar with the American Experience of self re-invention. I no longer dispute or work to disprove her. I know now that I can survive -- actually more than survive. I thrive in this wonderful country.
April 1997. Photo taken in dowtown Dallas with the people I came with.