Thursday, December 09, 2004

Got my Driver's Permit!

Golly! Been lazily studying the handbook for 1 whole week (with a lot of internet breaks, of course! I finally had the gumption to take the test yesterday. Gary went with me to Waterville's Bureau of Motor Vehicles Office.

$10 fee, photo ID (I used my EAD card, but they were not familiar with this less-often-used government issued ID, so I showed my passport, marriage certificate and birth certificate. They need not see anymore IDs.

My eye exam was done first, using something that I thought was computerized but not really. It's more like an electronic version of Snelle's chart for the visual acuity, with small lights flashing vaguely on either side. One eye tested first before the other. My left eye apparently was weaker than the right, but I could be allowed to drive in such eye condition, as long as I am comfortable with my vision. However, if I feel the need to wear glasses, I may do so.

Then the written exam. To get the driver's permit, I should be able to answer 24 out of 30 questions correctly. During checking, I was counting...1,...2,......6!...Another mistake and I'm toast!

Lucky enough, I had no more mistakes. I barely made the exam! All is well now...I was issued the permit, and was advised to take at least 4 months of practice before applying for the road test, which was valid for 18 months. I should have had 35 hours of driving by then, with 5 night driving, before I should consider the road test.

Haha! Now on to borrowing Ana's old car for me to practice on...Good thing she and Jake are still maintaining that car though they seldom use it. Now they are actually glad to have me use it for practice! Blessing in disguise.

I love my friend Ana...

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Target Shooting

After Thanksgiving Day, the kids were scheduled to spend the weekend at Mom's. So while we waited in the morning for them to pick up the kids, Gary thought to make use of the time to practice shooting. When Mom and Dad came, we let them get the younger kids first, since they are not old enough to be responsible in handling guns.

It had been a long time since we did this (last year, actually). Gary loves collecting guns, but hunting never appealed to him. Of course I was excited to have my turn too!

Now it is Patrick's turn. Gary made sure that the trajectory of the bullet is such that it would not hit anywhere near our neighbors, and that it would either hit the pile of firewood or go deep into the forest (which is part of our property).

Gary is re-loading the guns now, where on the same spot lies the target sheets .

So now he is trying his .480 Ruger, his favorite handgun (because it is powerful, and the kick gives him a high.

Josh even tried to shoot from a farther distance, using the flat boulder to make a good stable aim.

When he stood, Patrick was mimicking him.

Here Gary tries to check how he did with the AR 15.

Shannon and Ann, upon hearing the gunshots, came over to join the fun, using their muzzle loaders.

Now they are loading their guns,

with these different bullet parts that they have to load piece by piece into the muzzle.

Gary checked out their guns. Both guys were saying gunshooting is a sure fun way to spend cold days, rather than sit in front of the TV or do drugs or drink alcohol.

Dad also heard the gunshots and joined in, himself tyring that muzzle loader. I myself tried it upon Ann's coaxing. The magnifier was cool, but it was so hard to stabilize my hold of the gun that I would easily lose the target at the center, I had to rest the gun on the big boulder.

That was a fun day! It made me think whether I would want to work in the future...

Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 25, 2004

AOS Interview Notice

Received it yesterday, set for February 16 at 2:00 pm.

AOS interview notice Posted by Hello
click to see a larger photo; if it shrinks upon downloading the page, click on the expand button found below at the right side

Guess I will have to have a medical examination by a civil surgeon before that...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Luncheon Meeting with 2 Filipino Doctors

I am so elated! I have been corresponding through emails with the Filipino doctor couple, DR. and Dra. Amurao, and they agreed to meet me tomorrow for lunch!

While Dr. Guillermo Amurao works as a hospitalist/pulmonologist at the Redington Fairview General Hospital, Dra. Christine Amurao works as a senior medical researcher at the Occupational Health Research near the RFGH. She also used to be a stay-at-home mom, and when their kids got old enough for daycare services, she volunteered as assistant to well-known dermatologists here (she is a certified dermatologist in PI, with PGH training). Then both of them got a master's degree in Public Health. She was then given the position in the Occupational Research Hospital, as they were too happy to have a clinical doctor doing research.

I still don't know where I am heading, but this is a good start. I don't even mind being at an entry-level position, be it in a clinical, teaching, or research setting. The important thing is to start working, put my talents into use, earn some money, and personally GROW!

UPDATE (o eto na, MsT):

I went first to Dra. Cristine's office at the Occupational Health Research (it is a company started by a Dr. at the Redington GFH to develop a software which would be usefule in occupational health applications). Then we went together to the RFGH to meet Dr. Amurao at the canteen.

Small world. Dr. Guillermo Amurao is the son of a couple, Dra. and Captain Amurao, owners of the Airlink Aviation school in Malibay, and are good friends my with uncle-employer in the clinic where I used to work. I even joined twice the medical missions that they regularly sponsor in Lubang! They introduced me to the other Filipino doctors who also had their lunch there: Dr. Cielo Maca, another hospitalist like DR. Amurao; and Neurologist Dr. Amelito Malapira, who was surprisingly quite young for his specialty. All of them are probably around 3 yrs my senior, or probably just the same age as me.

They were simple, down-to-earth. I told them what I wanted to know (where I could possibly fit it given my background and experience), what I wanted to do (can start with an entry-level position; would be willing to be trained even with low pay just to get me started, but would rather end up working from home). I asked them whether a medical practice was worth the investment in exam fees and the troubles of residency training, given the high malpractice insurance costs, not to mention the malpractice lawsuits. Dr. Amurao actually had an experience on that, but it was dismissed because the complaint was misdiagnosis, yet records showed he was the first to make the correct diagnosis! Dra. Amurao said that the pay is good even at the residency level, $30/hr, which, of course, will go up the higher I go up the ladder, but she herself did not pursue that for the children's sake, despite the coaxing by colleagues. I told her I have the same considerations, and that that was the reason why I still would want to pursue medical transcription in the future, when I have enough money to enrol in the online course. Well, we were both mothers, and we understood one another. She said her husband works daily from 7am to 6pm and still on-call outside of those hours, that if she decides to be on the same boat, she could not imagine what would become of her kids.

They were very kind and accomodating. They accompanied me to the HDR to hear first-had whether there was any way I can fit in any of the vacant positions. Understandably and expectedly, since health-care professions are highly-regulated, I still have yet to acquire some sort of certifications for them to accept me.

There, I heard what I needed to hear straight from the people in the trade. If I will consider the nursing path, I will have to start at the CNA level, but I will try to see if I can make use of my credentials in nursing to bypass that stage, probably start at a higher level. But I will have to wait first for my friend in PI to send me those credentials. I will do some research first on scholarships/supports for such.

I have also submitted an application for scholarship in Med Trans. I am quite nervous as to what effect my being an immigrant will be, and my being a medical practitioner (they might think I can easily find a job to have the money to enrol in their course).

meanwhile, I intend to study the driving handbook and hopefully get a permit. Gotta learn how to drive around...Hopefully by next spring I will have my driver's license...

Hay...konting tiis na lang...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My Blog on Our House... a way for me to document how we slowly build our house, with our own hands, using our own skills (well, primarily my husband's).

But hubby, upon knowing that I am blogging about it, and whenever I report to him how another person has been impressed by it, his eyes would glow...So it was another way for me to show to my hubby how proud I am of him. He might not be a professional...he's "just" a high-school graduate with some college courses in engineering robotics, yet I can honestly say that he has a brain that has a lot of stored knowledge and still has lots of potentials. He can learn anything that he puts his heart into. That, to me, is a very good gauge of intelligence: the capacity to learn and retain information. There was even a time I blogged about me telling my kids to try to learn as much as they can from us (their parents) while they are with us. I never told them to study hard to be a professional. I just see that education is another screwed-up institution wherever.

Another purpose is to update my family back in PI how we are sloooooowly building our house. Initially, just so we can share our excitement with them, but now, also so that they may know that we have our own expenses to think about. Recently my sister and mother informed me that they have renovated their house upon the prodding of several relatives from the province. They borrowed money from my aunt and grandmother in California and spent around P100,000 already. Now they want to rent out spaces to students and are contemplating on offering laundry job and cooking to them, asking now some money from me and my sister in Canada for capital. I have no work yet, and we are still tight financially, especially with our unfinished house which we also want finished. Did they think I could just dip my hand into my pocket and pull out a thick wad of $$$??? Even if I did work, I would not work for them, but mainly for my family, so that we (especially my kids) can live a decent (not luxurious) life.

One offshoot of my tahanan blog is that Gary seems inspired to work on the house as rapidly yet carefully as he can, knowing that people all around the world might get a glimpse of it. This is the best part for me.

My hubby may not always be able to take me out because of our house...he always apologizes and promises that when it is done, we can spend more time going out. I don't know if he understands that whenever I go out and come back to the house, I stare in amazement and wonder of how my hubby could almost single-handedly build this "castle". My chest swells and almost explodes with unexplained elation (words will never be enough to convey the emotions I feel) thinking "THIS IS MY HOUSE..."It may not be much to other people, but to me, it is probably the best gift a husband could ever give to his wife.

And he wonders why I almost never ask him anything aside from groceries kept to the minimum...

Oh I love my husband so much.

Plans for the Immediate Future

Wow...I went out to mail some letters, one for Dr. Guillermo Amurao (an introduction of myself and asking if I could visit him at the hospital for a friendly chat), another to a decline for a promo offer, and another my complaint to SS using their survey form. It was soooo cold outside. I could feel my facial muscles stiffening.

If Dr. Amurao agrees to see me by next week, Gary will drive me to the hospital, then probably we can also apply for a driver's license on the same day.

Can't wait to explore my work options. I badly badly need it to maintain my sanity.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fe's birthday celebration

Oct 5 was Fe's birthday. The surprise party was planned by her business partner, Janis, who is a huntress as well. This is how surprised Fe was, when she entered Janis' house, expecting to meet a customer (they have a housekeeping business).

The two hugged after the shock has subsided...

Me, Fe and Ana...

The cake that Ana made for Fe. Look at the elaborate weave-style frosting at the side of the cake.

Fe reads here one of the cards that came with the gifts that she received.

Mary (a Burmese) on the left, and Janis' sister (?) (I have forgotten her name) on the right. It was a very warm group of people. Not snobbish or proud. Very accomodating, I felt at home with them. Wish we could have more time to get together. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 25, 2004

Social Security Administration Waterville Office is so Incompetent!

I filed my application on the last Thursday of August. Prior to that I downloaded a PDF application form, which also included instructions on how to fill it up, as well as the statement that said my card would be received 10-14 days from the date of filing.

A month and two weeks had passed, and I was wondering about my application. I called the 1-800-7721213 and the 8722723 numbers but I just got exasperatd by the answering machine and the endless loop of answers it gives. I decided to pay the office a visit for follow-up, but I had to coordinate with my friend Ana, as I myself have no means of transportation.

I showed to the officer my EAD card, which was the same ID I used to show the SS office that I was legally allowed to work, aside from my passport, marriage certificate and birth certificate for identity verification purposes. In fact, I brought all these with me again.

The man asked whether it was the woman (there were only two of them attending to us) who accepted my application, and I affirmed. He talked with her then came back to me. He told me that they are still verifying with the INS. I should expect notice of receipt after two weeks. I should just "hang on."

I asked when after the notice would I receive my card. He said two weeks after that (calculating a total of 4 weeks from my follow-up visit, equivalent to 2 months and a half from my date of filing). I asked whether I should follow up again or would they send me my card. He said I would receive it in my mailbox.

I said okay, thinking, "What is there to verify with the INS when my EAD card issued by the INS is already proof that I am cleared with them?" But I dared not argue. I did not want to jeopardize my status here in any way.

But I brought home with me the form for Customer Satisfaction. INS already uses Quality Assurance in their offices and sub-offices. The SSA, apparently, has not yet adopted it fully, basing on the lack of means for their customers to have a documentation of some sort that an application has been filed, and a follow-up had been made. However, their customer service questionnaire is one step towards that. I wonder if they really pay attention to it.

The application form I downloaded said 10-14 days, the questionnaire said their commitment is within 5 working days. These alone show a discrepancy in practices, and the actual scenario is not promising either.

I plan to send to them the questionnaire with my comments and complaints once I have my card already. And I want them to know that even non-government workers or immigrants like me have an idea of how quality management should be.

I was trained with ISO 9000:2000, and I have an international certification for Internal Quality Audit. I made a quality manual for a clinic applying the elements of QSR as per ISO 9000:2000.

These alone can already land me in a very good position in any hospital or clinic, not to mention my medical background and my 1-yr nursing course.

But I have to have my SS card first. Sighhhh....

Monday, September 13, 2004

Consequent exchanges about dr-nurses

To Peter and Roger,

Saludo rin ako sa inyo! I am not being sarcastic. Read on so you will understand me better.

To all whom I unintentionally offended:

(Ayoko na sana magsalita, pero dalawang araw na akong affected, pati mga anak ko at asawa ko. I needed to vent it off my chest, so here goes.)

To Peter:

Lory, Believe it or not I'm still happy being a doctor here in the Philippines. Ihave always believed that being a doctor is not just a profession, it is avocation. Prestige, glamour, financial gains folow when you get better in theprofession. They never were my primary goals. God gave us skills and talents.If we improve on them, God will reward us with more. Hindi ko ito inimbento,nasa bible ito, sa parable of talents :-) . A lot of the old doctors I know didnot become rich but they are well respected for their contributions to society.All I want is to grow old gracefully and with dignity.

I was happy being a doctor and serving the people, rich or poor, but I was not happy with the medical system. I have always believed that being a doctor is a vocation, and so is motherhood. The difference between the two is that a mother should devote her full time to the formative years of her children, after which she can then do it part-time, but she will always be a mother even beyond the death of her children. When I wanted to enter residency in OB-Gyn, it was not for prestige or glamour or financial gains, but because I felt happiest to see a new life coming to earth, and I wanted to be able to do more than just normal deliveries (especially when my sister had a CS on all her children). I never saw myself as plain Lory the doctor for those things you mentioned. Rather, I had been dreaming of a community where people exchanged (rather than pay) for services (There was once a time when I told my pediatrician: Sana, bumalik yung time na okay na kahit manok at gulay lang ang pambayad sa doctor. Natawa sya sa sinabi ko. He took it as a joke and answered with a joke: Sana pwede nang sex na lang ang ibayad [I found it funny kasi kahit me asawa’s anak sya, tingin ko bading sya, pero kahit bading, nirerespeto ko, ke doctor o pasyente o kaibigan o teacher.]) I know God gave us talents. Modesty aside, I feel blessed that my skills gained as a doctor were not the only talents that God showered upon me. I consider my discovery of blogging and website making (although at the very early stages of development) a new-found talent, and I am using these as a tool to share myself to others, even though at present I have no material wealth to share [oo, hanggang ngayon, di ko pa mapadalhan ng pera ang Nanay, Tatay, at mga kapatid ko sa Pilipinas.], being confined inside the house given the circumstances that we have no public transportation here and I have no driver’s license yet, and in the event that I have my driver’s license, I will not readily have a car to ride. Magba-bike na lang ako.) A lot of doctors I know became rich because they had to be politicians to be on top of the competition. Some of the doctors working for the government have used their positions to exploit the hospitals and clinics. Are you aware that there is a GAMCA, a governing body that assigns a few clinics (therefore the clinics had monopoly of business)
to conduct medical examinations to OFWs in the Middle East.(As an assistant to the med director I had read letters (CCs) from organizations fighting for their right to choose which clinics to go to for medical exam, taking into account the nearness, efficiency of staff, orderliness and cleanliness of the clinic.) Are you aware that the Quality Assurance Management required now of major (public) hospitals were originally a requirement by the ILO and the Maritime Industry (MARINA) for clinics and hospitals that conduct medical examinations on seafarers, but the DOH have mandated it to be applied also for OFWs in general. This Quality Assurance created more job opportunities for those experts in QA (those already practicing quality assurance in their hospitals on their own even prior to the implementation by the DOH. The governing body for quality assurance before the ILO required it was the PCAHO, patterned after the JCAHO, but with set of standards that were not quite the same (although congruent) with that of ISO. (Quality Assurance signs: Vision/Mission Statement, Quality Policies, etc.) Ang tinutumbok ko, these jobs created would only benefit the very few who have been experts there. Can you imagine the profits they got when they gave trainings (P5000 per head) which were mandatory before any of the said hospitals/clinics could be issued a renewal of their licenses at the expiration of their existing ones? That QAM required that these clinics’ staff undergo in-house training for quality assurance, including internal quality audit, which could only be conducted by certified QAM personnel, the same expert people (who were doctors), for a handsome fee of P20,000 for a small clinic of 20 staff or below (including the medical director, accountant, etc.) up to P75,000 for the larger hospitals like St. Luke. Certification itself was another thing. And you know what quality assurance is? Tracking down who is to blame when something gets wrong. It’s what many foreigners would call “cover-your-ass thing.” My consultant then was a British, and I told him that after the certification, I would be glad if he could train my assistant to be a full-fledged QA Manager, because I’d rather be a clinician, rather than be in the management (those were the times when I saw how my boss’ employees were so maltreated, and I had arguments with my boss when I fought for their benefits, saying these employees are our internal clients that we also have to satisfy. I was talking to deaf ears. Well, my boss needed the profits.) MY POINT IS, sukang-suka ako sa nakita kong sistema. MY ANGER WAS NEVER DIRECTED TO THE PEOPLE, dahil gaya nila, kabilang ako sa kanila, kahit ngayong nandito na ako sa US, ang pamilya ng asawa ko ay kabilang sa masa, kabilang sa mga nabiktima ng mga ganid na businessmen na puro profit ang nasa isip.

It saddens me to hear these words from you. Both of us got subsidized educationat QCSHS and UP. Med School was even free for us. Our country doesn't owe usanything, I think it is the other way around.

My opinion is that, Education is a right. We as adults have the obligation to teach the children in preparation for adulthood. It started out that way. However, even the educational system got screwed up, and now, very few schools have remained true to that purpose. Most of them have also turned into businesses.

We have no right bad mouthing ourcountry using rebellion as an excuse just because things did not turn out wellf or us. Lory, you are my friend. I have always been honest with you. I know youwent through a lot of hardship but who among us did not. We still areundergoing hardship. Your words are not what we need in this time of crisis.

You and Diwa were right. I should not have talked about my gripes publicly. I should have just sent that mail only to Gemma. My apologies. I did not mean to hurt your feelings.

It angers me to hear from you na "buti nga at walang makuhang doktor ngayon sa mgaospital dito", na "it's sweet revenge". Sabihin mo yan sa mga pasyente nanangangailangan ng doktor. Sa mga kamag-anak ng mga pasyenteng namatay bago matignan ng doktor.

Maniniwala ka ba na makamasa pa rin ako? Kahit kelan, lahat ng pasyente ko, tinuring kong tao. Me mga batang habang inoopera ng boss ko nun, hinihimas ko ang noo, binubulungan ko ng comforting words. Karamihan ng mga pasyente ko na naging kaibigan ko sa private clinic na yun ay yung mga tindera at pedicab drivers sa tabi ng palengke, pati mga japayuki. Pag meron silang gusting itanong sa boss ko na nahiya silang sabihin, either ako ang tulay or ako ang sumagot. How many times did I attempt to engage my boss in a project that would give free lectures during the weekend for purposes of public health education? I was willing to do that for free, and arrange everything, from asking several consultants to do their share at least once every 2 months, to soliciting from pharmaceutical companies not only for free drugs and leaflets abut also free whiteboard and pen and merienda for the lecturers. Nawalan lang ako ng gana, kasi alam mo kung bakit? Sabi ng boss ko: "Mainam na ideya yan. Alam mo, minsan, tayong mga doctor, kelangan din maging pulitiko eh." (Namputsa naman, napaka-idealistic ko ba’t naive na di ko nakitang ganun ang iisipin nya?)

Huwag mong isipin na kaya ko lang sabihin ito kasi masarap buhay ko ngayon.Hindi po. Malamang mas komportable buhay mo ngayon sa akin. Sigurado masmasarap buhay mo sa milyon-milyong pilipino ngayon. I have my own problems buti will not bitch about them here.

Sigurado akala ng milyun-milyong Pilipino, kasama ka na, masarap ang buhay ko ngayon. Depende yun sa kung ano ang interpretasyon mo sa masarap na buhay. Oo, masarap ang buhay ko na me oras akong asikasuhin ang mga anak ko, na me meaningful relationship ako with my hubby and in-laws kahit hirap din kami financially, kasi sa kahirapan naming nakikita how much we can survive just by helping one another, without having the need for financial rewards. Oo, masarap ang buhay ko, dahil sa wakas, I have re-connected with the earth through planting vegetables and having the opportunity to show my children how the earth nourishes us, and to teach them to respect the earth, telling them how lucky they are that they have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, soil to till, and plants that convert the energy from the sun into a form that is usable to us humans. Masarap ang buhay ko, dahil when I looked for the opportunity to raise my children decently, so far I have managed to teach them the importance of good nutrition (they like eating vegetables we harvested from my garden) and physical activity (they help me lug firewood, wash the dishes, clean the rooms. Of course they play, too. They ride their bikes or walk with me.) And there are a lot of other things that I have been instilling in my children that would not have been possible if I stayed there. If you are interested about how I am raising my children, one of hwom is your inaanak, see my blog about my children - . Raising them decently does not mean to me that I will pamper them with expensive clothes and toys and food.) Masarap talaga ang buhay ko ngayon kumpara sa buhay ko noon. Kasi nung BIYUDA PA AKO NA ME 2 ANAK, kayod kalabaw na ako para me maipakain sa kanila, di ko pa rin maibigay nang sapat ang pangangailangan nila. Gusto ko man i-homeschool sila non dahil disappointed talaga ako sa mga schools natin ngayon (both public and the cheapest private schools that I tried – I could not afford the exclusive private schools eh), hindi ko magawa dahil WALA AKONG CHOICE KUNDI KUMAYOD pambayad sa renta ng tirahan namin, pambili ng pagkain, damit, pangsweldo sa yaya (na di nakakatagal sa karampot na sweldong kaya kong ibigay – hanggang P3000 lang talaga ang kaya ko eh – lalo na at bukod sa yaya, sya rin ang all-around maid, na pinipilit kong tulungan pag nasa bahay ako kahit pagod na ako. Di ko masisi kung ninais pa nilang mag-japayuki. Meron din kasi silang binubuhay na pamilya.)

Just thank God for the blessings you have now

I have always thanked God for the blessings I have not only now but even during my worst times. It was faith that kept me going, and my sons were my inspiration. Nagpapasalamat nga ako nung ipinanganak ko si Patrick na hindi pa ako nakatapos ng medisina at wala pang trabaho, me mga kapatid akong nag-aabot ng pambili ng gatas. Pareho silang nagta-trabaho sa Taiwan non, isang nurse aid at isang factory worker. Sa ngayon ay pinapangarap kong maibalik ang pabor sa kanila. Sad to say, wala pa ako sa posisyong yun. Gaya ng nasabi ko na, mahirap lang kami ng asawa ko. Nagpapasalamat lang ako na maganda ang kalakaran ng school nila dito (hindi lahat ng schools dito sa US, maganda ang reputasyon). Pero nagpapasalamat din ako na kung hindi maganda ang edukasyon nila, at least me choice na ako ngayon nai-homeschool sila, dahil me katuwang na ako sa buhay. (Naiintindihan mo siguro kung sabihin ko na ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng katuwang sa buhay. Hindi ko naman talaga naging katuwang ang unang asawa ko by the very nature of his illness. Oo, alam mo ang hardships na pinagdaanan ko, pero tip of the iceberg lang ang nakita mo. Pero hindi ko kelanman sinisi ang ibang tao, at hindi ko kelanman tinanong ang Diyos ng “Bakit nangyari sa akin to?” Bagkus, I focused my eyes on the blessings: two healthy sons and my very own healthy body with the skills that I got as a gift from God. )

and help others if u can.


If I chose not to be a doctor but to be a teacher for free instead, is that considered helping?

If I, due to my present circumstances, could not reach out physically to other people, but used the technological advancement to reach out to a virtual community that is as real as I am, is that considered helping?

If I gave a series of lectures (using my knowledge gained as a doctor and as a medical student) on the following topics (all covered here and there are more such informative posts elsewhere in my online kitchen):

Teaching children to develop a taste for healthful eating
After calculating TCR, apply the food pyramid
Calculating TCR (aka Daily Energy Balance)
Food Exchange List

Is that considered helping?

You might find it hard to believe, but I used my online kitchen to be of public service, albeit not physically as a doctor. While you might have thought that I was probably using my new-found skills in computers as a way to brag about what I have or what I know (Oh I know a lot of people misconstrue my intent to share as an intent to brag about what I know or have), I suggest that you try to look into some of them and try to understand what I am trying to do. Those are partially to keep my relatives and close friends informed about us, mostly for me to document what is happening to us (I have always maintained photo albums as early as my elementary days.), and partially to be able to help in any way I can – mainly through my online kitchen (to help other Filipinas in the same situation that I am in as a tool for public health education in food and nutrition), and in my online garden (where I am trying to awaken the eyes of people to the beauty of the earth and hopefully to instill in them respect for this life-sustaining planet).

Ayoko na sanang sumagot, pero 2 araw na akong di makatulog hindi dahil kinukusensya ako, kundi dahil meron na namang judgment sa mga gaya kong umalis sa Pinas. Buti pa ang Diyos ko, hindi judgmental. I expected that the least from you, my kumpare. Tinira ko ang gobyerno, pinersonal mo ako. Pero okay lang. Maiintindihan mo rin ako (sana) pag magulang ka na, at sana, never kang mabiyudo especially while your kids are still in their formative years. Siguro kung katawan ko lang ang iniintindi ko, I would have stayed too, kesehodang wala akong maiabot na pera sa mga magulang ko’t kapatid. Pero pag magulang ka na kasi, maiiba ang priorities mo eh. Lalo na if you had the chance to witness how children are getting screwed up because of parents who were so busy with their careers. Magkahirapan na sa buhay, palalakihin ko muna ang mga anak ko shaped with my values. Paglampas na sila sa teen-age years at well-established na ang values nila, pwede ko na silang unti-unting bitiwan. Pwede na akong maging anybody whom I wanted to be (a doctor, a teacher, or anything possible). Pagkatapos kong matulungan ang sarili ko at mga anak ko, pwede ko nang buhusan ng tulong ang ibang tao. Pero in the meantime, habang maliliit pa ang mga anak ko, sa tabi muna nila ako. Pasumpit-sumpit na lang muna ang pagtulong ko sa iba.

To Roger:

Ka Lory,

Much as I didn’t want to be judgmental as per your suggestion, pasensya na at medyo hindi ako mapalagay dun sa mga binitawan mong pahayag sa huling posting mo about doctor-nurses and your apparent silent victory re the current crisis on medical personnel among local hospitals here. Samakatwid kagigising ko lang pero di ko na ata kelangan magkape.

“Whenever I read about the problems facing the Philippines now because of the brain-drain, esp those in the medical field, I could only think that revenge is sweet.”

You may have your personal reasons for leaving the country at such a time that everybody else was. And I will have to respect you for thinking that the realization of your dreams for your family lies outside of this country, as most everybody else will think.

Salamat sa pagrespeto mo sa opinion ko, Ka Roger.

But there are those who chose to stay behind, inspite of and despite of. And there is nothing to gloat at all at the fact that the current physician to patient ratio now in your “beloved country” is 1: 20,000 and that we are facing a major breakdown in basic health services in 2-3 years should this trend continue, especially in the countryside.

Pasensya na rin po at nagging insensitibo nga ako. Hindi ko po ikinatutuwa yun, pero gaya ng maraming pangyayari sa history kung saan kelangan munang umabot sa ganitong klase ng sitwasyon bago mamulat ang mga namumuno, I am hoping (and as you said, it is promising) na magkakaroon na nga ng pagbabago. Nakakalungkot man, pero di maiiwasan na maraming maging biktima ng kapalaluan ng mga lider.

Apparently your “rebellion” is directed towards your former government, which apparently has done nothing to help those in the medical field, lalo na yung mga baguhang duktor. The Philippine Medical Association now is engaged in talks with the House of Congress to increase the magna carta for government health workers, especially physicians. And the advocacy is promising, subject of course to availability of funding from the national treasury [the current fiscal crisis is an altogether different matter].

Salamat at nakita mo kung kanino directed ang galit ko. Pero taliwas sa sinabi mong hindi nakatulong ang rebellion ko, if those of us who did not stay chose to stay, mangyayari kaya ang ganyang pagbabago? Hinihintay ko pa rin na sana nga, magbago. Pero it is not so much that low salary of the medical workers that angers me, but the apparent indifference of the concerned bodies and their lack of wisdom to foresee this problem. Kung baga sa employer whose business runs on human resources, hindi nya inalagaan at tintratong tao ang mga employees nya kaya nag-resign na lang. Kailangan pa ng picket at pagkahinto ng business for several days at malugi ng bilyones bago pakinggan ang mga manggagawa.

But as medical professionals, we have known this for the longest time, that getting into a residency training program would require everything from you other than scholastic achievements, especially in government. It’s not a pretty sight, and it’s nothing to be proud about, but it’s not like just yesterday that things were being done this way.

Opo, Ka Roger. Pag-ka-graduate ko sa medicine, napaka-naïve ko at ignorante at totally alang alam na kahit sa mga hospital, me pulitika pa rin.

I’m just wont to ask why it did not occur to you to might want to train in the private hospitals, if you really wanted the training, where the system of admission was more merit-oriented.

It did occur to me, pero magkano ang sweldo sa private hospitals? I was hoping to land in a public hospital para mas malaki ang sweldo, kahit natatakot ako kung pano ang mga anak ko during their formative years kung masyado akong maging busy sa residency training (alam mo naman gano ka-toxic sa public hospitals)? Sa private clinic where I worked my ass for five years, I was earning a bit less than what I could earn in a public hospital as resident. Naïve and ignorant that I was, my work then was: no work, no pay (alam mo naman ang nature ng moonlighting). I had no medical insurance for myself and for my family (I did not know the rights of a worker). Madaling sabihin na hindi pera ang habol nating mga doctor, pero pag me mga anak ka na binubuhay mo, lalo na kung mag-isa ka (di lang pagkain, kundi pati tirahan, yaya, katulong, konting abot sa Nanay at kapatid na nag-e-expect ng tulong-pinansyal say o kasi doctor ka naman at mas maswerte ka sa kanilang hindi nakatapos, pano pa yung edukasyon nila nung tumuntong sila sa edad 5?), mahirap lunukin ang prinsipyo at pride mo pero kelangan.

Private hospitals? For a mere P4000 to P6000, mabubuhay ko ba ang 2 anak ko? Sabi ng boss ko nun, hahanapan nya ako ng pharmaceutical company na mag-i-sponsor. Alam mo naman ang kapalit nun: walang kamatayang karereseta ng produkto nila.

I’m telling you this because I had the same less-than-decent experience with my hospital before, where I had gloriously labored through residency and fellowship, got endorsements all the way to the hospital director, only to be cut from the program by some Malacanang-connected fellow who couldn’t even get past one of three qualifying exams. But I couldn’t get myself to blame government. It has to bear itself with more than enough problems of this hearbroken land. I just thought maybe it was time to move on to greater things. Somehow, I did not think that getting back at the government was going to serve the people in any way. I have always thought that government was an instrument of the people, and that it can only do as much to us as we allow it to.

No, getting back at the government was not going to serve the people in any way immediately. However, I am still hoping na magigising na sila.

Imperfect as it was, as this whole country is, it was all we [I] had.

Our government is imperfect, and so is the US government. No government is perfect. But having lived here for one year now, I can see how luckier the masa here is than the masa there. I can say so because despite my being here, kabilang pa rin ako ng masa. My children were qualified to have free lunch at school. They have access to quality education. Mahirap lang kami, pero oo, mas maswerte pa rin ang mahihirap dito, dahil dito, kahit maliliit na tao, napapakinggan.

“I have read documentaries (by foreigners) of our rich wildlife, and my heart weeps for my country. Bakit di natin nakikita kung gano tayo kaswerte (sana) dyan; bakit di natin pinagyayaman ang kung ano meron tayo? Bakit tayo nagpapaanod sa globalization, pwede naman sana tayong maging self-reliant? Bakit lagi na lang ang leaders natin, puro gahaman? Bakit? Bakit? Bakit?”

Everybody’s heart weeps for this country. And on the contrary, we [I] refuse not to see the beauty of this country amidst all its tragicomic history. We will weep and we will gnash our teeth. And though some may choose to give up on her, others continue to labor in her midst, warts and all. Maybe the difference between those who left and those who were left behind, was that we chose not to have a choice. And that’s alright too. I just hope it works well for everyone.

No, I did not give up on her. I am just pressed for time because of my need to be a mother to my children first and to assure that they will not grow up to be palalo. But I hope to reach a time in my future where I will be able to fulfill my dreams for my fellowmen. But that is not now.

Here are some cut and paste from my foodblog:

I have a dream for the Philippines: I wish (and hope) that it would turn back into a self-sufficient country at least food-wise; i.e., enhance the agricultural aspect, re-teach its people on how to replenish lost greens (the forest trees, and in the process invite back animals that have lost their habitats in the past), and in schools emphasize at a young age to its students the life cycle and the interrelation of one species to another, the symbiotic relationship of humans with animals and plants. I wish and hope the people will re-discover their connection with the earth and with one another in a sense of a true community, where everyone has enough, and everyone is secure.

And a dream for the world: I wish all the people will stop being myopic and try to see the world in all its beauty, to see the universe in all its grandeur, and realize that every creature, from Paramecium to humans to whales, are all part of the world and the universe. I am not a strict environmentalist, but I do hope that people will learn to respect the chain of life. Disruption (wars, deforestation, ozone depletion) in any part of the chain will create disturbance in the whole ecosystem. It is never a local effect.

and from one forum that I joined:

(1) (on the topic of Simplicity) I like sticking to the basics. I like following intuitions coupled by intelligent guessing based on simple scientific facts.
To me, simplicity is re-connecting with the simple-yet-complex world and the universe...taking delight in simple pleasures like being with people you love, seeing a bee kiss a flower, sniffing the scent of flowers, a hot bath and a massage...
To me, simplicity is accepting that I am but a speck of dust in the universe, and that all things on earth, both organic and inorganic, are interwoven in the complexity of life, that I, as a human, is just a bit high up in the food chain, but still my survival as a species depends on personal skills and lots of help from people surrounding me.
To me, simplicity is being happy with what I have. To me, simplicity is being contented with having things that really give the best value to me (and in that case, jewelries and fine clothes and shoes and a nice car are not them. A computer, a digicam, a nice printer, a good book, the internet are things that I am willing to exchange my life energy for.)
To me, simplicity leaves me with enough time to reach out to other people, and to appreciate them in return. (If I strive to be on the other end, I might not have enough time to do just that!) And simplicity to me means that I don't suffer from depression.
But that is just me. And I am comfortable with that and I am at peace with myself.
I don't care if others don't agree, as long as I am happy and I don't hurt anyone

(2) (on the topic of Careers and Education)
switiksangel said:
So That is how i got involved with the Protection of children From sexual Exploitation in tourism. (these are people who go to foreign countries to prey on children). Read about it at . I´m still working on it, updating legistlature of each country. (this brought me back into the bureaucratic world of politics as we tried to encourage that laws be created to protect the needy)
That is one aspect of life that needs to be fulfilled in me...the need to contribute to the betterment of the community/world in its truest sense... And when time allows that again, when me and my hubby are in the "empty nest" stage, I would like to return to the Philippines to start a project that will uplift the people and help them return to a state of self-reliance, without having the need to rely on external resources. I still don't know how to do it, but I was inspired with a couple where the Filipina is a nutritionist and they are in a business that helps the Philippines coconut growers get back in the market, not only locally but globally. Please see and support VIRGIN COCONUT OIL. It is already supported by some American doctors who are in alternative medicine (and their support is mainly because they believe in the coconut oil's beneficial effects on health basing from their background in biochemistry.) Any ideas for future projects that can help Philippines (first) and other needy areas/countries?
Unang-una, natutuwa ako na karamihan ng nababasa ko at natututunan sa mga Filipina members dito ay MARAMING HINDI NAG-IINARTE. On the contrary, maraming very sensible Pinays dito. Better than most Pinays in actual physical social gatherings na madalas alam lang gawin i-flash ang alahas, ang magagandang damit at makipag-contest sa achievements, especially those measured in financial terms. (Kaya like Francesca, hindi rin ako comfortable to attend such gatherings where plastikan is rampant.) balutpenoy said:
I don't want to be a part of that kind of system so i don't accept them or return the goods or cash. and let that person know that i don't do that kind of thing.
Kudos to you for standing firm for your beliefs! Cheesecake said:
I salute manang K, Ger and switiksangel for your heart for the less privileged or for the betterment of our country.I am presently working with an NGO (it's an European NGO, but of course the merits of its work transcends regions) advocating organic farming and promoting biodiversity and do research on the bad effects of GMO )genetically modified organisms in plants, animals and humans (cloning) on lives and the environment. We are focused on the South (being the under-developed countries, as compared to the North (developed countries).
Thanks! And I salute you too for actually already doing something about it on a global scale. At present, while I am a homemaker, I am tracing back our roots by trying farming myself (I have my vegetable garden and am contemplating on raising chickens and swine for our own consumption)! I have always wanted to "go back to the basics" and live mostly by intuition and by intelligent guessing . With all the manipulations in the foods available in the market (genetic engineering, using hormones on cattles and chickens, using fertilizers made with sewage waters, etc. etc.), there has been a growing concern about the safety of these for human consumption and the possible long-term effects on the world's ecosystem. Not to mention the appearance of Mad Cow Disease in commercial cows, the Avian Bird has become scary just to eat (to live!) and enjoy our food! Trying to raise food by ourselves gives me more peace of mind, especially that I am feeding my children. I am just so glad that my in-laws are farmers, who are generous enough to guide me in this endeavor. And with knowing the earth through this practice I get to enjoy the benefits of grass-fed cows, fresh strawberries, fresh eggs, fresh chickens, and many homemade goodies such as strawberry/blueberry jams and maple syrup. Add to that the myriad of learning tools we can get from the internet for free so I gain access to in-depth discussions on gardening, food, ecosystem, etc. (And I am trying to help others who might be interested by posting recipes on my website). I hope the people in the Philippines will learn that most of our traditions are actually things that Americans now want to go back to (recycling wastes, organic farming) or want to shift to (more veggies and fish in the diet). While we Filipinos tend to follow their footsteps, papunta pa lang tayo, pabalik na sila. They are now painfully discovering the ill-effects of some products of their technology which gave them a comfortable and easy (lazy?) lifestyle. Ger said:
I see myself going back to the Philippines and making art education accessible to the children there
. My hubby and I talked about the possibility of us spending our retirement days in the PI (because it will be hard for us old people to chop and lift firewood during the long months of winter). And I am considering investing in a resort that my uncle (a surgeon) is creating in Cagayan (north PI). WE want to attract foreigners as well as balikbayans. I want to be able to put up a healthcare facility there, and be an instrument in creating jobs as well as disseminating health info to the locals. These are at the moment still dreams on my part. Switiksangel said:
MissT said Financial Responsibility. how about we drop financial first and speak of responsibility in general
I hate to say but I could not really totally drop the financial thing before I can fully realize my community responsibilities. Hard to face, but we all got to live, and living nowadays entails having money. Using it wisely (by being financially responsibile) will help us use some of it for our basic needs and some more, and will actually help us save money for uses other than merely surviving. When we are beyond that point of merely surviving, then we can be more responsive to the needs of people outside of our own families (especially true for those with children already). And we can do more and better things if we have the luxury of "excess". That excess we can use to actually start a project, then when everything looks promising, we can then possibly solicit support from other organizations. Or, like what you said, that you will direct us to organizations that do such noble things, so our excesses can go directly to them.
MissT, I agree about Financial Responsibliity. I think children should be taught in school about this. Most graduates of college in PI have not the least idea on how to manage money. I also regret that the parents making their children help them in the farm (or other businesses) are seen as abusing their children, when in fact children learn more about the value of hard work and of money (although it is a different story when these children are not able to attend school because they have to help their parents). When I was in high school I had a classmate who sold things in class to earn money (but she did not really need it; they were rich) and I envied her for having the guts to be so enterpreneurial that I wished my parents exposed us to business (like we could have brought some baked goods to school to sell because we had a small bakery then).
So right now, with my foodblog and the things that I am learning from my Mom-in-law, there is this “canning” thing that I am currently working on. Unlike other posts which was of more benefit to the Filipinas married to Westerners, these future posts about canning I intend to be of use (I hope) to the Filipino people engaged in farming and vegetables/fruits production. While I was learning from my in-laws about the art of canning, I was thinking: Why have the Filipinos, who have a lot of these produce, not developed these methods? Then I realized, it was because of the year-round availability of these that we have not given much attention to preservation techniques! I hope those in the rural areas in the PI will find ways to make a business out of what I am going to teach in my blog re canning, and hopefully they will be able to penetrate the international market, supplying the countries with long winter with such food supplies, especially that most people in these countries do not find the time to cook their food because of their busy lifestyle. I don’t know how to go about the business (I don’t know anything about entrepreneurship), but I hope that this will be the start.

To Diwa:

Hello lory, if you were following the train of emails the pastweek, we were talking about konstant's dad and peter'sfree medical service. i think you were beinginsensitive in that email you sent.

Yeah, I realized that now. My sincere apologies.

In defense of myself (with all due respect), doctor man ako, tao pa rin ako, nagkakamali. Pero marunong naman ako mag-admit ng mali and to say I’m sorry. I know I don’t have the monopoly on being insensitive. Hindi naman ako lagging insensitive, at hindi lang ako ang insensitive.

(1) 2 pm na. Finally maisisingit ko na ang lunch. I started to eat, then I heard someone coming in to the clinic.
Nurse: Ma’am, makakahintay po ba kayo? Kasi kumakain pa po yung doctor naming.
Pasyente: Ano? 2 o’clock na, kumakain pa rin?
Nurse notified me and gave me the chart. I asked him questions to see whether it was an emergency case. Eh hindi, so I took the time to satisfy my hunger, para na rin mag-work ang brain ko.
(2)OB-Gyn Consulant to pay patient (a mother delivering her baby for the first time): Ano ba!? (Sabay palo sa hita) Ibuka mo nang maige yang mga hita mo at naiipit ang ulo ng bata! …Ay naku! Galingan mo nga ang ire mo!
Ako: (Sa isip ko) Palibhasa, hindi ka pa nanganganak…Palibhasa, hindi ka pa nakaranas mamaltrato ng mayayaman…
(3) Pasyente (phone call): Doktor, pupunta ako dyan sa clinic mo. Dadating ako mga 3:00 siguro. Hintayin mo ako ha?Boss ko: Naku, me operasyon ako eh. Papunta na nga ako sa Operating Room. Sa clinic hours ko na lang. 5 o’clock. (nagbabay sabay baling sa akin, “Mga pasyente talaga, minsan kung ituring ka, parang hawak nila oras mo.”

i understand you were treated unfairly but it's sadthat you forget to think of the people needing medicaltreatment, and wishing ill of the medical system backhome.

I am not wishing ill of the medical system in the PI. It is already an ill medical system, even here in the US, tThe medical system is going down. Why? Because with the present system, only the medical insurance and the pharmaceutical industries are gaining. Most healthcare providers are limited/restricted to what they can offer as dictated by the health insurance coverage. Sad to say, even here, more doctors are now wishing they chose a different career, since they cannot fully do what a doctor initially hoped to do: to treat in accordance with their knowledge in treatment and not in accordance to what the health insurance is willing to cover.

i am no doctor, i am just a plain housewife,

Yeah, you are not a doctor, so probably it is very hard for you to grasp what I am trying to explain here.

i do not have facts and figures to show but i tremble infear at the idea of having somebody back home i carefor who might need treatment in the future not get a decent one.

Would you believe it if I tell you that in my life there even as a doctor I had the same fears for me and my family, just because we had no money? Would you believe that right now, in my present situation, I still have the same fear not only for my family in the PI but also here where I am, because we still don’t have a medical insurance and that I can’t as yet practice as a doctor (that the most thing I can do is to apply what I know in Preventive Medicine). But then, I kinda have a fatalistic attitude about illnesses and life and death. Katwiran ko, kung mamamatay ako (kami), mamamatay ako (kami) kahit saan, kahit kelan, kahit sa paanong paraan, basta oras ko (namin) na.

and i think that the suffering of other people should be foremost in our minds, especially ifwe have the gift to do something about it.

I have the gift, yes, but right now, my priority are my children. I can only be a full-fledged parent to them for a limited time, the most critical of which are their formative years. When I have fulfilled my obligations to them, then I can turn my attention to other people. I would like my children to have for me the same respect and love that I have for my parents and my husband’s for his.

In the meantime, during my free time, I am using blogging partially as a tool to contribute what little I can at the moment.

I’m sorry for this long e-mail. I argued for sometime on whether to keep things to myself (I don’t owe anyone any explanation for my actions anyway), but I badly needed to get it off my chest, and hopefully my attempts at communication will achieve that very purpose of erasing misunderstandings.



Friday, September 10, 2004

Doctors Taking up Nursing - Why?

A high school batchmate working for GMA-7 asked for contact details of doctors whoare taking up nursing. I gave her one.

I am one of those doctors who took up nursing. So I have friends who are still in PI who finished such and are now processing their papers. They have contact with those doctors who are still taking up the course.

It will not be easy to convince these doctors to make their decisions public, especially with the bad reputation that we gain from unfriendly articles and the judgment we get from other Filipinos. I just hope that whatever my batchmate will come up with, it will be digging into the root of the problem and not be something that is judgmental.

In my own personal opinion, it is one of rebellion on my part towards the Philippine government in that they are not really doing anything to help those in the medical field, lalo na yung mga baguhang doktor. Bukod don, napakaraming public hospitals ang tumatanggap ng applicants for residency not basing on credentials but on contacts (eh di ngayon, di sila magkandaugaga kakaengganyo ng applicants, kahit sino na lang dahil nauubos na ang mga doktor dyan. Buti nga sa kanila!). Naranasan ko yan sa Fabella ( I applied for OB-Gyn residency): natanggap yung isang bopol classmate ko, ako hindi (FYI, modesty aside, I earned my medical degree through a scholarship.)! Sa East Ave sana nun, dahil dun ako nag-internship at maganda records ko sa performance, and my residents were waiting for me to join them too, pero by the time I was ready for residency, there was the implementation of QUERT (QUalifying Exam for Residency Training) effective in public (DOH) hospitals, and which included matching (I think it was a waste of time kasi meron na ngang PRC licensure exam eh. Insulto ba. Though I passed the exam, I was matched to a Batangas regional hospital! Ayoko nga!) Nawalan na ako ng gana mag-apply for residency training simula non.

Whenever I read about the problems facing the Philippines now because of the brain-drain, esp those in the medical field, I could only think that revenge is sweet. The Philippine community is a true social pyramid where only a few select people are always on top, and they never sincerely cared for those below. Masisisi ba nila ako na nagre-rebelde? I only wanted to at least raise my children DECENTLY. It was not possible when me and my sons were there in PI, unless magputa ako o kumabit sa matandang mayamang madaling mamatay (there were times when I thought sana hindi na lang ako doktor para me excuse akong gawin yun, pero realistically, di kaya ng sikmura ko). Here, hindi kami mayaman ng asawa ko, but we (including my sons) live a good quality of life. Wala akong pagsisisi sa pag-iwan ko sa Pilipinas. Nanghihinayang lang ako na compared to this country, we had plenty of natural resources (and needless to say, human resources), na nasalaula na rin ng mga ganid sa Pilipinas. I have read documentaries (by foreigners) of our rich wildlife, and my heart weeps for my country. Bakit di natin nakikita kung gano tayo kaswerte (sana) dyan; bakit di natin pinagyayaman ang kung ano meron tayo? Bakit tayo nagpapaanod sa globalization, pwede naman sana tayong maging self-reliant? Bakit lagi na lang ang leaders natin, puro gahaman? Bakit? Bakit? Bakit?

Okay, enough ranting. Tapos na ang chapter ng Philippine life ko sa ngayon. Simple lang ang wish ko: to raise my children decently and for them to be responsible people. I don't even care for the luxuries of life nor for the prestige of my title as a doctor (duh! My profession is not me.) Someday I might go back to the Philippines and try to directly influence the people there into being self-reliant. But I am not sure of that. Time changes a lot.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Classes start today

Yap! It is SEptember 1, Patrick's birthday, and again, now I have so much time to and for myself. Well, that's not entirely true because probably 50% or more of my time I spend on household chores. Like as of this time, 10 a.m., I have washed Juliana's blanket, and I am washing the whites (nakababad muna). I have done some weeding, checked out my vegetable garden to see what to harvest later today. I have also brought out a bushel of onions for sundrying. I gathered all the cucumbers slumbering in my fridge and gave them to the cows.
Now I have to attend to tje inside chores: make our bed, fix the boys' clothes and beds, and clean them a bit. Later today I will drop by Mom's to get more eggs.
For a small celebration of Patrick's birthday I will make peach muffins later (he asked for whoopie pies but I said I would do those on Thursday night for him to bring to school on Friday, or I might make brownies from scratch instead. Whoopie pies are just so unhealthy to bring to the class, the teacher might frown upon them.). I will also cook some more meatballs (these have been the latest craze among the boys) and pair them with the pasta sauce that I made yesterday. However, I don't have pasta at the moment, but I do have lots of red potatoes from Dad, so I will just make mashed potatoes instead. Then cucumber salad as usual, to make a balanced meal.
Ana called to tell me that tomorrow we are going to visit Fay, which is good. I have been wanting to meet her. She is another "totoong tao," according to Ana's mom.
I am gonna have an early lunch today cause I am already hungry. I will have potato-tuna salad with cucumber cubes. Papayat ako nito ngayong me pasok na ang mga bata because I will always be lazy to cook lunch for myself. Most probably I will just have leftovers.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I got my EAD card!

Yahoo! Finally, I have received my Employment Authorization Card! Now I can apply for work...but wait, I have to stay at home! I don't have a car yet, and no driver's license yet. I still have to get an SSN before I can apply for a driver's license. Only then can I work as well. This will be my first step. And this is my FIRST US Government Issued ID! Let's see...I filed the application June 10 (though our first attempt was on June 4, but it was closed). Then I reveived the notice about two weeks after that. I called for an appointment for the fingerprinting and biometrics, which was set last August 18. Now it is August 27, which is the 77th day from the date of filing. Good enough. Now the next step is for me to apply for my SSN. That will serve as my national identification card. Praise God!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Fingerprinting and Biometrics

Today Ana was so generous to drive me to Portland for my fingerprinting and biometrics, both for EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and AOS (Adjustment of Status). Going there is still fresh in my memory from the last time I did with Gary, so although we left at 6:30 a.m., we arrived there at 8:30 a.m. Ana did her best to speed up to 5-10 mph beyond the speed limit at the interstate highway and still stay safe, and she did a terrific job! (I was telling her that I might probably not try that long drive when I finally have the license to drive).

Well, we got there ahead of my appointment, which was at 9:00 a.m., but they attended to me anyway. It went smoothly and fast, it took me less than an hour to finish my business. Ana had her passport stamped as well. Digital imagery/scanning of fingerprints was used, and there was a polaroid camera so we did not have to go outside. I was told by the one who took my fingerprints that I should have my EAD card mailed to me within 90 days; if not, I will then go back to the INS office to obtain a temporary permit then wait for the mailed card. As for my AOS, their target processing time is 3-4 months. By then I should be waiting for my interview appointment.

After that, we all headed for the address of the Filipino store there. However, when we finally got to the street we could not find it, so Ana called the shop and asked how to get there from where we were. She was told that the new address was (from Deering Ave.) 51 Washington Ave. The store person could not give clear directions; just that we head for downtown Portland and we would not miss it. Yeah right....we drove and drove, trying very hard the (lack of) details in the small maps of Portland that we were carrying with us. Until we just felt lost as if we were in the middle of the ocean with only the waters on the horizon...Ana drove and drove until we finally found the I-95. Another distance of driving in an attempt to see the store (we managed to get to Washington Ave.) proved futile. WE finally headed back home, with Ana so tired especially at her back, and me very sleepy from lack of sleep the previous night.

We cheered ourselves for having accomplished at least what we really wanted to do there. But we were nonetheless frustrated at not having shot two birds with one stone, and having wasted time and gasoline for the store search instead of having used the money for goods instead of the gasoline. Sigh....

Well, another reason to celebrate was Ana's success at the long drive! We went home safely, all four of us (with her two daughters). And that is no small feat.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Barn burned

Mom came to our house last night...been trying to contact us for the past 30 minutes to inform us that their chicken barn was burning!... I felt guilty because I started using the internet at around 9 pm. Gary went with her back to their house; I was left with the kids.
When Gary came back, we readied for bed. AS I was about to massage him, he said I did not have to. Maybe he noticed how down I felt. I said I just felt sorry for Mom. Knowing how Mom get attached to their pets, even though these were meant to be consumed as food for the winter...that would have broken her heart. Plus, they are already old to be facing such a horrible experience.

This morning, the kids and I went there to see what help we could extend. We saw the rubbles, including some bodies of dead chicks, burnt weed whacker, small tractor, mountain bike (Gary's), lawn mower, small rotatiller, and other gadgets. They had been using the barn as storage for these equipment. They already called the insurance adjuster, and they could not touch/start cleaning the rubbles until the insurance adjuster had assessed the damage.
Mom was scheduled to mow her lawn today, but she just felt so weak, with a very down spirit that she did not have the strength to do any chore. I stayed with her and we talked. She said the fire, if not abated (like if they went out that night, which they did the other night), could have easily spread to the forest, involving their own house in the process (as it stood near the trees). The wind was blowing in the direction of our house. Forest fires are so hard to suppress, especially that the fire trucks have no way of keeping up with it because of the terrain. They would just have to wait at the other end, wet the trees there hoping they won't burn. A forest fire could have easily included our house in less than 30 minutes. That's a scary scary scenario...I dread to think of losing our unfinished house...Gary dread to think of having to build another house. MOm said that Gary spoke of jumping into the middle of the fire if indeed this house burns again.

Sigh...we still have a reason to thank God despite losing those chicks, the barn and the equipment there. AT least our houses are still erect, unharmed, and there were no casualties. Dad could have suffered from another bout of stroke. Mom said he was a bit incoherent during the fire -- totally confused as to what to do. I admire Mom for being strong and coherent during the time. I could empathize with them...They are old, and they do not need such stress.

Monday, August 09, 2004

I am excited with the many friends I have been making ever since I joined . Now I rarely have the time to update my blogs! lol!....Just corresponding with them, talking about any topic under the sun, collaborating with some of them re work/employment/income possibilities...ther are just so much to do, to write, and I have so much emotional support coming from them. I love that online community. Posted by Hello

Monday, July 26, 2004

Last week, Gary and I planned on an outing for next week because we received news that it would be sunny days on Monday and Tuesday. So he took this week off.
However, last night, the news was changed: it will rain Tuesday and Wednesday.
Blah! We spent the whole day today outside: me at my gardens (flower and veggie), him doing the sidings of our house, and baling hay (Dad cut the hay earlier). There was a sense of urgency among us. Oh yes, I now understand that feeling of trying to do everything you can on a sunny day.
I even prevented the kids from staying in front of the TV/computers while we had light outside. Told them they could do those things all they want the next days to follow.
We had to re-schedule our beach outing to Thursday. I hope this time it will truly be sunny as promised by the weather forecasters...

Thursday, July 22, 2004

My Sons' First Sex Education

I showed the following photos to Gary yesterday...

and asked him what he thought transpired that day...

He said,"Looks like somebody had to explain something about the birds and the bees..."

I said, "Right!"

"So who asked the question?"

"Ben E, though the two listened intently, laughing so hard when I used the Voltez V in comically explaining how the process takes place between two people."

Mga Nakilala ko sa Internet

Etong tsapter na to tatagalugin ko, para wala sa kanilang makasunod sa daloy ng kwento.

Bago si Gary, na-meet ko muna sina DL at DC.

Si DC ang una kong chatmate. Binulaga nya ako sa yahoo msgr. matalino at magalang ang dating, madali kami nagkahulihan ng loob. Nagpalitan ng pictures...omigod! mala-Kevin Costner! Ang lalaki ng muscles na di maitago ng simpleng shirt na suot. Eh type din nya beauty ko. Di tuloy ang tsikahan. GAnun gabi-gabi, 4 hours on the average, daily. Hanggang tumatawag na sya sa kin weekly. Nagbalak pa magpadala ng pang-internet ko (na tinanggihan ko). Parang me MU kami, pero dahil hindi pa nagkikita, we did not give each other false hopes. After 4 months biglang nawala. Hintay ako nang hintay sa internet cafe, nakipag-chickahan sa isang 20sh na French-Canadian na pinagbuhusan ko ng loob (dati na syang ka-chikahan habang hinihintay ko si DC. Yun pala type akong maging gf, kaya nga daw 5am pa lang sa kanya, inaabangan na nya ako. Eh gwapong matangkad ang batang iyon, matalino pa at iskolar, taking History and Literature. Nakipag-agree ako ng mag-bf kami kuno, pero libre kamit o search for other more appropriate mates, tinaggap naman nya yung conditions ko...ano, cradle snatcher?)...

Nainip ako. Explore ng internet. Explore ng Yahoo features. Maraming nakilala, pero alang naging ganon kalakas ang dating sa akin (karamihan, bobo, or boring, o arogante)...hanggang napansin ko ang yahoo personals. Try ko nga. Malapit na ang Holy Week non. Gumawa ako ng profile, with pic. Lumipas ang Holy Week. Internet agad ako...

Holy cow! puno ang inbox ko sa yahoo personals, me 3 pa na mautak dumiretso sa email ko! Alangya...napuyat ako nung gabing yun. (I saved all the emails in a floppy disk then read them at home, where I did not have internet connection.). 1 am na ako natulog. Maaga pa nagising kasi me pasok. Excited ang Manang.

Feeling ko 27 ako (ganun din ang guess ng karamihan sa kanila) kahit 31 na ako nun. Sa daming emails, 10 ang sinagot ko, na sinabihan kong nasa Pilipinas ako, biyuda at me 2 anak. Tanong ko, willing ba sya (sila) na ipagpatuloy ang correspondence sa akin kahit ganon ang circumstances? Kung hindi, wag na magsayangan ng oras. Kung oo, magdadagdag ako ng kwento about me. Apat ang sumagot. SA apat na to, pinag-aralan ko ang daloy ng mga salita. 2 ang natira (isang Irish-Am-31 at isang Italian-American-49). Si Irish-Am, mas gwapo. Ang mali nya, maaga nya akong tinanong kung kelangan ko ba ng visa. Kung ano man ang motibo nya (inosenteng tanong ba yun at atat syang makita ako?), hindi maganda ang dating sa akin. Para bang tinatantya na kung gusto ko lang ng green card. Si It-Am naman, sya si DL. Magaling makinig. Bawat sentence ko, me katapat syang sagot. At alam nya kung ano ang gusto kong sagot.

Si DL, Director ng isang kumpanya dealing with minorities and rehab of drug abusers. Madalas tuloy ang travel. Nag-Masters sya sa Public Health kaya talagang we had something in common. Nakagaanan ko ng loob, bagamat hindi marunong mag-chat. Dinaan tuloy nya ako sa araw-araw na tawag, 30 mins-1 hr a day, kahit sa bahay o sa trabaho. Na-in love talaga ako kahit hindi sya gwapo at kahit medyo mataba. Nag-agree kami to meet in hk nung sept 2001.

Bago nangyari ang meeting na yun. Sumulpot uli sa msgr si DC (after 2 months na nawala). Binalitaan ko (in a friendly way) na nakahanap ako ng bagong bf (pang-inis lang), then he wished me luck, sabay explain kung bakit sya nawala. Naintindihan ko naman, pero sori sya, naunahan na sya ni DL.

Mas mataba pa si DL sa personal, pero mas gwapo kesa sa picture. Ang problema, naging awkward ang kilos. Suddenly parang hindi nya ako kilala. Parang nawala ang elibs nya sa sarili na na-in love nga ako. Naramdaman ko yun kahit hindi nya sinabi. Hanggang mg mga biro na sya, birong totoo, na naghahatid ng mensaheng magpapakasal ako sa kanya kahit hindi ako in-love. Nasaktan ang puso ni Manang, kaya kahit type ko sana, yung naramdaman kong hindi lubos ang tiwala nya sa akin (at sa sarili nya dahil hindi sya makapaniwalang ang Pinay madaling ma-in love sa lalaking thoughtful), nagdalawang-isip ako. Natapos ang hk, tuloy ang aming komunikasyon, hanggang tinatanong na nya kung magfa-file na ba sya ng fiancee visa. Sabi ko hindi muna, kasi hindi pa ako sigurado kung love ko sya. Medyo love ko pa rin naman, pero nag-iisip na ako para sa mga anak ko. Si DL kasi, madalas din sabihin, dahil alam nyang gusto ko close to nature, malawak ang space, me privacy, eh sya city boy, nakatira sa apt, baka raw di ko magustuhan. Minsan naman sasabihin nya, pag nagpakasal daw kami, bibili na lang kami ng bahay sa countryside. Nagiging inconsistent na ah...Binalikan ko yung mga una naming emals. Sabi nya nun, alang problema ang mga anak ko, kasi byudang me 2 anak rin ang una nyang asawa, at ang mali lang nya, masyado syang lulong sa trabaho nagpapayaman kaya nawalan ng oras sa pamilya. Babaguhin daw nya yun the 2nd time. Pero  later, sa mga phone calls namin, pag naririnig nya ang sigawan ng mga anak ko (takaw-pansin pag me kausap ako sa phone eh), sabi nya di raw nya nami-miss yun. Patay baka travel companion lang ang gusto nya. Pamilya ang gusto ko, asawa ko at tatay ng mga anak ko. Nag-umpisa akong magising sa panaginip. "hindi ka in-love, tanggapin mo na. Maghanap ka na nang panibago. "

Not quite sure na gusto ko syang bitiwan, nag-agree akong makipag-meet ke DC (na nakakaalam na medyo bad trip ako sa mtg namin ni DL) nang pasikreto. Mas gwapo pa rin at mukang bata sa personal (10 yrs ang tanda sa akin). Pero dahil na rin siguro sa circumstances, naging awkward ang aming pagkikita. Para bang gusto sana namin na maging more than friendship pero hadlang ang "relasyon" ko ke DL. Siguro na rin dahil doon, me doubts sya sa akin. Feeling nya siguro naglalaro ako. Ako naman, di rin koomportable. Bukod doon, halos wala kaming mapag-usapan. Business kasi ang linya nya. Ang hilig ko sa natural science, lihis sa hilig nya. Golf pa ang fave sports nya, eh ako homebody lang. Inuntog ko rin ang sarili ko "gising! Hindi ito ang lalaking gusto mong  makasama habangbuhay". Sinabi ko sa kanya mukang hindi kami ubrang maging mag-asawa. Kaya kako maghahanap ako nang panibago. By the time na sinabi ko yun sa kanya nagkakilala na kami ni Gary, na naunang nangyari bago ako nakipagbreak officially ke DL.

nagbukas ako ng acct sa datedotcom. Me isang nangibabaw, gwapo matangkad matalino me mga anak na nasa custody nya dahil lasinggera (kaya nagdiborsyo). Sarap ng chatting namin, nang mapansin ko ang nag-hi na si Gary...malamlam ang mga mata, kahit di nakatingin sa camera sa pic ng profile nya, there was something in him that got me interested. klik ko rin na interest.
Unang email...gist ng past nya.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Sarah has long been asking for the author of this book because she plans to get one (I bought it from National Bookstore in Glorietta) before I came here.) before she goes to US. I thought it would be better to show how the book actually looks like.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A question in asawa forum was raised: Internet relationships...why?

I posted this response:

from a Filipina's viewpoint (specifically mine) :

I dated several local men while I was still a widow, most of them I met at the clinic or through texting (referred by some other friends). Found them all boring and arrogant just because they were professionals [beyond their professions, they were quite BOBO (stupid)], such that talking about subjects outside of our jobs (which were not related), we had nothing else we could talk about.

I started chatting in Dec 2000 (a friend introduced it to me), met some a**holes but also few good men who could hold long conversations with me despite difficulty in typing (on their part). Emails revealed more of the inner person. Chatting with webcam verified the identity (and the almost real-time conversation further verified that no one else was doing the previous correspondences) without endangering myself bye premature meeting in person. I developed an emotional attachment to one man at a particular time (I tried 3 times, long-distance relationship plus meeting in person, before I chose the man with whom to spend the rest of my life with) which I misconstrued as being in love with him.

Why the internet? Physical attraction thru photos was the initial step. Building trust and confidence on the person through a long period of endless emails and chat were another. The net KEPT ME SAFE against being a prey to men who would be itching to take advantage of a vulnerable widow. It gave me the option to give my contact details or not, and such things I only gave when I trusted the person enough to try meeting him in person. When the actual meeting (which was most often another test about the sincerity of the man, the costs and the trouble of meeting me being quite a hurdle) proved the internet relationship futile, the men I trusted were graceful enough to accept the fate (the end) of our relationship (which also proved to myself that I had a good judgment of character) and happily accepted a friendly relationship with me (mainly because they have deep respect for me) and wished me luck in my search.

The net also gave me more options. In the Philippines, being a widow with two kids (single parent) was already a factor to lower my value, despite the status of being a doctor granted to a woman. Having the looks to fool men into perceiving me as a single (unmarried) woman, many would be discouraged upon learning about my two sons, or would try to just have a non-comittal relationship (but I was not into that). That left me with not much choice among local men. The NET was an ocean full of fishes, and I actually learned that having children did not present as a hindrance to finding a good man worldwide; rather, it lifted my status (one man quoted "finding a beautiful woman is hard, a beautiful wife even harder, and a beautiful mom the hardest"). And because the net was a fast-paced communication tool, many things about the person could be learned in such a short time (which amazed me then). Emails presented an opportunity to see consistency, and reading between the lines also gave insightful info into the personality of the sender. Chatting provided the chance to gentle interrogation that often catches the other person off-hand. As such it has been a viable avenue for building trust and an emotional attachment so strong, it could only be fathomed by those of US WHO HAVE ACTUALLY UNDERGONE THE SAME EXPERIENCE.

This is no exaggeration. I am talking based on my own experience, and in no way trying to convince you to do the same in search of a mate. It's up to you to make your choice as to the method of finding a mate. One thing for sure, the net is a better place to look for one rather than the bar.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Kwentong doktor

Yesterday I went to Mom's house to see how beet greens that are ready for harvesting look like. We had a brief chat, and she told me about a friend's dilemma.

Mom: You see, Lory, my friends, upon learning that Gary's wife is a doctor, call me all the time to talk about their illnesses. Guess I'm expected to relay them to you to get your opinion for free.

Me: It's okay, Mom. I am actually glad to be of help in any way. It also stimulates my mind anyway.

Mom: Yeah, my friend, not yet in her 50's, she has been suffering from enlargement of her breasts that she went from 34A to 36DD! She has been having a hard time looking fo a bra to fit her, and has difficulty breathing. She has seen 5 doctors and no on her 6th. The last 5 said they don't know what is happening to her.

Me: Are there any discharges? Is the enlargement symmetrical?

Mom: Yes, there is discharge.

Me: How does it look like? DOes it seem to be milk or pus or blood?

Mom: Well she didn't say...but she is terrified of her condition.

Me: Did they perform diagnostic tests like ultrasound and mammogram?

Mom: Yes. She did undergo there and the doctors saw nothing wrong. No cysts, no tumors. But her breasts are so big! She is really uncomfortable with it. And the doctors said they don't know what's causing it.

Me: And the doctors said they did not know what is happening to her? Didn't they have the sense to refer her to a specialist? If I were them I would refer her to an endocrinologist. Seems to me that the symmetrical enlargement is secondary to a systemic problem, and that the discharge, if it looks like milk, might be secondary to a hormonal problem, most probably prolactinoma, a tumor in the anterior pituitary gland. Did they suggest any Cranial CT Scan?

Mom: Well, one referred her to a plastic surgeon for mastectomy....

Me: What???!!!! That would be addressing the symptoms and not really getting to the root cause. No matter if they removed the breasts the problem would still be there unfixed! What is it with these doctors? Do they have licenses?

Mom: Oh, that would be frustrating, we pay so much for the doctors and we don't want them to say they don't know. My friend said the plastic surgeon would do the surgery but that won't be covered by the insurance because it is only for aesthetic reasons. My friend says she is willing to pay for the procedure IF that will solve her problem. They did some blood tests for the thyroid, but the results are not out yet.

Me: What I will do is just I will research on the topic on Prolactinoma and I will bring it to you. You can discuss it with her on the phone so she could ask her doctor the proper questions, and she will study more about the symptoms, if there are similarities.

Mom: I could bring it to her. Maybe it would be better if you can also come with me.

Me: Sure. Just tell me when. I remember one instance in the Philippines when a man in his 40's came to our clinic saying he has been troubled because of easy fatigability. A short walk and he would be gasping for breath. He had been to two doctors prior to us, and ECG and X-ray were done, revealing negative results and the doctors told him there was nothing wrong, implying that he was malingering probably to make disability or sickness benefits. But he said there was something wrong that's why he is desperate to know what it was. I told him if easy fatigability was the problem, then there is something wrong with his oxygen transport system. If lungs and heart were normal, the only thing left to do is check the blood. I requested for complete blood count and his red blood cell count was half the minimum of the normal range. So I dug out further his history, asking whether there was a blood-losing incident, perhaps a chronic bleeding in his GIT, an ulcer, etc. He suddenly answered that he had been having bloody stools everyday that it made him afraid to go to the bathroom every morning. There, I told him...chronic bleeding leading to severe anemia resulting to easy fatigability because the blood can not cope up wit the oxygen demand. I then referred him to the gastroenterologist for some endoscopic exams after requesting further basic tests related to his condition and precribing some drugs to help his anemia. So, your story just tells me that people are the same everywhere. WE have such useless doctors in the Philippines and you have some here too.

So we made the arrangement by Thursday. I did my research when I came home and when Gary came home, while we were having supper I told him about the story of Mom's friend. I haven't even gone to the point where I explained the supposed course of diagnosis when he quipped that it was probably hormonal. I told him, "See? That's what I told Mom! That would be my consideration! You could have been a better doctor than those that she went too!"

Oh...I really admire my husband...He's so intelligent sometimes I am afraid he might even know about medicine than I do...

Why I wanted an American for a husband

Long before I decided to marry again, I had been corresponding with a married American man who opened my eyes to a lot of things and who actually played a major role in my maturity level now. His name is FC.

I met FC when I was working as company physician in Dusit Hotel (my employer had a retainership contract with the hotel). I initially had to attend to his co-worker (they were in PI for business) who had diarrhea. He was cute and was jolly friendly. I had a crush on him, but I did not expect anything would develop from that point in time. 4 days after I treated his friend he was in the clinic again, this time with fever. I thought...hmmm...did he just want to see me again? There were 4 of us doctors rotating in that hotel. I could not help thinking that he might have purposely gone to the clinic in time for my duty. It was a viral infection, but I instructed the nurse to check on his illness' progress. During the check-up I mentioned to him something about listening to the body cues -- that the fever was a way of telling that the body needed rest. I left a calling card with the nurse, instructing her to give it to him. Kilig si nurse, pero she told me she noticed he had a wedding ring. Oh well, I was not that serious about it anyway. But I was kinda excited...

I felt strongly that I would receive an email from him within the next few weeks..and I did! But it was a gratitude letter, saying that he planned to heed my advice in that he and his wife wer attending a wedding of a relative's and that he would have a whole week off to rest. That started our friendship. I saw how mature he was, how he valued his family. WE kept exchanging emails, talking about a wide range of topics..He was such a sensitive man, always on the lookout for ways to help the marginalized children and women. He said I gave him a lot of insights about how it was to live in the 3rd world, and that a lot of his convictions were confirmed by corresponding with me. I developed a "close" relationship with him, pouring to him all my heartaches and frustrations as if he were my interactive diary. By the subsequent month he was to come back for a follow-up on their company's machinery in Laguna. I felt cold...I was anxious and unsure and excited about meeting him again with fresh eyes...Apparently he was too, although I did not know that before his trip back. We remained on a friendly level until the next visit.

When he came back we had friendly "dates". The first night he deliberately refrained from meeting me. He was a bit nervous. But the next nights we had been together dating every night. WE learned more about each other...but never carnal knowledge. On our last night together he confessed he had fallen in love with me, that he did not mean to be so, but he could not help falling in love with me ("What can I do? You're lovable and intelligent, it was not hard to fall in love with you."). But we were on a dead end. Even if his feelings were reciprocated (and I admitted that), he was married and we both respected the sanctity of marriage. I never wanted to be a home-wrecker. That last night we finally spent the night together all night in his hotel room (I was cautious about seeing the employees of the hotel!), but we just held each what I would call as silent mourning for the love that we shared yet could not consummate. Though I desperately wanted to surrender myself to him I was thankful in the respect that he showed me. And he gained my respect more because of that (I could never imagine a Filipino man being able to pass up on that kind of opportunity!). For a while we just continued our long-distnace relationship, exchanging stories and views and savoring the platonic relationship (I told him on our last night together that I loved him too, but that I was not expecting anything in that relationship.)

Then a nurse friend introduced me to chatting sometime in 2000. It was a very exciting way to find another man. Gradually I was spending less time writing to FC. Chatting made me realize that there were a lot of mature, intelligent and interesting single men out there! Suddenly I had a lot to choose from. Chatting made me realize that I was highly desirable (at least to the white men), and that being a widow with two kids actually reflected a higher value! AS one email told me,"It's hard to find a beautiful woman, harder to find a beautiful wife, and even harder to find a beautiful mom!" Wow, suddenly I felt, "Ang ganda-ganda ko!" And I had a lot to choose from (thanks to the internet!) I did try to correspond with other Nationalities, but so far, those that attracted me most in terms of looks and intellect were the Americans. Whereas initially I thought of them as arrogant bastards (I did meet some like that), my relationship with FC and my chatting with a lot others gave me more insight as to the good nature of a lot of them. So I considered having an American as my second husband.