I was born in Manila, Philippines, an only child. Raised in our hometown of San Pedro, Laguna without a care in the world. My parents were strict but I was a happy child. I didn’t mind having neither brothers nor sisters. I enjoyed quality times spent with my lola (‘grandmother’ in Tagalog), cousins, aunts, uncles, but mostly, times I spent with my parents, especially my father. I was daddy’s little girl.
He took me to many places like parks, company functions, beaches, and even to our local bank one day because he happened to see a Filipina ‘mega movie star’ leisurely chatting about with the bank manager–whom he knew. So we went; got my photo op…and to this day, I still have that photo. Most times, I hung out at the store where he worked because I knew that there would be a pretty outfit waiting just for me when the new shipments arrived. (wink, wink).
My mom and dad came from humble beginnings–having gone through what I can only imagine today or perhaps have seen in a Lifetime for Women episode on TV. They were hard workers; successful at what they did. My mom was a floor supervisor for a large corporation. My father was a senior accountant/store manager for a large department store. Moreover, my father was quite a story-teller, thus never missing an opportunity to share them with me and at family occasions. Stories about his childhood, his parents and my favorite, of how he met my mother.
And so it is, the story of our lives and…the beginning of a new-found adventure.
Fast forwarding our time capsule, life didn’t come easy in the beginning. We gave up stability and left behind a large family circle from the motherland, only to start all over again. My mother took odd jobs and so did my father. He also went back to college to hone in on his accounting skills. But in the midst of their busy schedule, I was never taken for granted. I didn’t like our situation, but, in all fairness, I gave it a chance alongside them and we supported one another.
As days gone by I found myself with new friends from all parts the world. After only a few months of our arrival in the U.S. we moved out from my aunt and uncle’s place to an apartment studio and after a couple of years down the road, to a home we can at last call our own. Most of my adolescent and adult years were spent in the Bay Area, from San Francisco to Daly City. I met a man I was fond of, things got complicated, I fell out of fondness and our marriage dissolved. But with absolutely no regrets we had a son.
Life goes on with a full-time job, full-time school and balancing a personal life in between. My parents were always my saving grace. They took care of my son whilst I pursued a bachelor’s degree.
All the while, not looking for a new relationship, I managed to take notice of a young man in class. We hardly said a word to each other, just timid glances and hello’s. When class was done for the quarter we said our goodbyes…and I thought I would never see him again.
Alas, a new semester began having only one course left to finish my long-awaited bachelor’s degree. I didn’t want to take this particular course and was ready to drop the class. Without hesitation, I stood up and voilà…the French guy from last semester appears. He, too needed this one course to finish his bachelor’s degree.
I would have never dreamed that our stolen glances and timid hello’s in the corridor of the university would somehow blossom into friendship, love, marriage and family.