November 5, 2013 was the date of departure in my airline ticket to the United States. After 7 long years of waiting, my patience has finally paid off. Now exactly a year after, I look back at this amazing journey.
I met new friends that day. I met Len Peradilla, Joan Mateo and JB Reyes a day before departure. JB had the strong personality when I met him, he was practically complaining when I met him. He seemed to have planned everything about his new life while I had nothing in mind but anxiety. I mean I am happy and sad at the same time. I wasn’t even thinking about work or pay. I was just blank. Len, on the other hand, was the one who seemed eager to know us all. She emailed us all, introducing herself and asking questions. I didn’t have any in mind or I don’t exactly know what to ask. I was numb and felt like I just have to suck all the instructions for us. Joan was the quite one but to my surprise, she offered to take me to the place where I could buy scrubs at a reasonable price. I brought my old one but it wasn’t the official color of my workplace and we weren’t told early, it was upsetting me. But c’mon, it’s Manila and I am scared to go to places by myself. Joan sensed it probably and offered to buy 2 sets for me. That was very nice of her, even without me asking her.
And I swear, I felt instantly that I was with a good company.
The big day came, November 5 and we met all in the airport. It was heartbreaking to leave our families but it was exciting to think of the new place. I kept thinking TEXAS and it seemed surreal all the time. Joan was travelling with her husband, Ramil. Len and I was together all the time because Ramil seemed a serious person that we couldn’t get a conversation going. JB, was on his own world.
TOUCHDOWN UNITED STATES
We arrived in JFk airport in New York. The feeling was unexplainable thinking it was a place I only watched in movies. It seemed like a big deal, a big shot. When we stepped out of the plane, it was COLD. Then when we stepped to the airport, it was like everyone stopped and froze for a second… there was not a Filipino in sight but us. There were no even Asians. It was like we were in a different planet. They were taller, bigger and English speaking. Funny it may seem but it was what I felt.
Then we went to immigration area. It was like a scary moment when we know it didn’t have to. Then we kept noticing things around. There were no free carts for our luggages. We had to pay to get a cart. There was a station were ipads were free for everyone to use. There was a table designated to charge or gadgets. There were a lot of vending machines and even cellphones are in vending machines. There were a lot of toilet papers in the restrooms. There was a bar where passengers can drink alcohol while they wait. And the airport had free-wifi.
TOUCHDOWN DALLAS, TEXAS
Then we came to Dallas at later that night. It was a long day and the time difference wore us out. We were checked-in a hotel where each of us had our own suite rooms. It was crazy. I thought of my family and my husband all the time. Travelling was ok but I still felt alone for some reason.
FIRST MORNING IN DALLAS
We went down to have breakfast. There were no rice. There were pancakes, muffins and anything that weren’t in my usual breakfast table. There were overflowing packets of cereals, oatmeals, sugars, creamers, cream cheese and others. They were expensive in my country but in that hotel, it was just a normal breakfast scene. Len, Joan and I were comfortable with each other. It was a good feeling. JB started talking to us, still reserved though.
And then we met our Manager, Erica. She oriented us practically about everything. She drove us to our temporary hotel again for the week training. She took us to where we got our car rentals. I didn’t have mine so I had to ride with Len.
Erica took us to get our social security numbers. We were practically like chicks following mother hen. We are thankful having someone showing us around. She took us to places where we needed to get what we needed.
So we went to Walmart, and it was like a happy place. I could talk endlessly about everything but no words can ever describe all. Coming from a humble place to a very advance country was surreal. We had to be trained in Dallas for a week and then sent to our workplace in Tyler.
I remember going to the health facility and training for a week. Getting there was crazy. Going back to our hotel was crazier. I remember riding with Len and being lost in the freeway. Miracles happen though and we found our way home. No guts no glory haha.
I remember going to the mall. Raine, a nurse friend in Plano, was sweet to see me. She took me there. I remember my first purchase was a MAC lipstick worth $20. lol! I wanted to buy one coz it was so expensive back home.
ONE YEAR AFTER
Now I look back to our humble beginnings, I appreciate what we have now. Len, JB, and Joan (Ramil) have our own place. And from practically having nothing in our apartments, now we live comfortably.
Ramil and Joan are expecting a baby boy. Ramil turned out to be a funny guy after all. He practically cracks jokes about everything he sees. He had been a help when I was still living alone in my apartment. Len’s husband, Phil and daughter, Zhia is already here with us too. Phil is as funny as Ramil is. He reminds me of the friends I have back home, the craziest guys I ever met. JB is always nowhere to be found only because he is set to conquer to world. lol. He is always on travel. But he remains to be sweet as he always brings goodies when he is back in Tyler.
We use to be together almost all the time, now we get lucky if we see each other in a month. But, I believe the friendship is stronger. I am a believer of friendship. I have the best friends in the Philippines and I believe I found it also here in Tyler.
A year after, Niel and I are finally living together. I am enjoying married life and now that I am expecting a baby, I am happier. And our friends are growing in number. Tyler is not still Philippines and it will never be home but it is now a happy place for us.
Cheers also to those who left their families to have a new life. It is never easy even just to decide, much more to live this life. Cheers to us !! Happy One Year to us!