From California to Puerto Rico, Happy Father’s day

kids

art of esther

I told my son (20-yr old in college) that I am leaving California to work in Puerto Rico so that he can finish college as I will try to help him financially. Watching him taking a lackadaisical approach in his studies made me think that I was not giving him enough challenges including learning to drive early on. I am leaving California and my two teens for Puerto Rico and for a dream contract job as travelling SPC consultant for a medical device company. As I boarded the plane, I saw some tears in my daughter’s eyes – my best friend and I also cried. She told me to save my money to be able to buy a small and affordable house in the bay area and that she refused to spend the money I sent each month but saved it instead.

To my surprise Puerto Rico and the Philippines (where I was born and raised) are similar in that they both: love Manny Pacquaio, lechon (pork), lumpia (egg roll), kiss to greet a friend each morn, dancing, leche flan (egg custard), plantain, warm beach, insects, greenery, yucca and yams, warm hospitality, Spanish language (only 25% of Tagalog has Spanish though) and more.

I came to memorize each name of the waiter, cook and receptionist at the Hilton where I stayed. It was my home for three months, spending time in the ocean to get rid of insect bites and strengthen my skin cells and body. I am glad that I brought the Eucalyptus oil that I bought at Whole foods and the coconut oil that helped me during the time that I had a cold and was sick or even just having skin rashes or insect bites.

I learned a new skill, InfinityQS SPC application, the use of a relational database application for automating manufacturing data.  One time, when I was stopped by a policewoman who spoke only in Spanish and I responded in English for over speeding, I was able to understand her as some of the Spanish words are also used in Tagalog.

After 3 months, I now missed California.  I missed spending quality time with my two teens who slept with me until they were 9 years old and were delivered at home by midwives. I missed dancing Zumba and ballroom in the bay area and in Filipino parties. I missed my friends, Whole Foods, the cold Santa Cruz beach, the farmer’s market and my loves.

Happy Father’s day to all fathers. I am reminded of my father, Nelson, who ensured that we were in bed at night with clean feet, put our priorities above his always, labored in difficult places and work to support his family of 6, told me to take care of my younger siblings when given more blessings in life and told me to find the treasure that I was looking for in the USA with courage, faith and love.

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