Agnes Lazo Elizarde

Born: Naguilian, Isabella
Migration date: September 1992

Growing up, I was taught that America is a very rich country and that there are a lot of opportunities (as long as you are not picky with what job you choose, you will be able to find any job or a decent job). I remember teaching and nursing positions were advertised a lot as an "IN DEMAND PROFESSION." Many people took nursing courses so that they could go to America or Saudi Arabia.

However, people did not want to just come to the US. They wanted to be anywhere else but the Philippines.

My husband from the Philippines became a US citizen, so by the time he filed the petition, it took six months for the visa to be approved. My family was excited that I was coming to the US. When we arrived here, the most challenging thing was finding a job. I really wanted to get into the State of Alaska to use my degree in accounting. Then I realized later, that THIS (working hard in America away from family) was your life.  It is very hard to be away from other siblings, because you don't see them, you don't see their kids, you don't see your cousins, you don't get to know them. I would say yes my expectations about the US were met, in terms of living and working...But then, you really have to work hard here because everything has cost.

Coming here...I would say it was not a choice, it was an opportunity.

If we were able to live there to earn money and sustain our family, I would say that it is better to be close to everyone. However, I wasn't feeling alone, because when we arrived here, we stayed with Nanay, auntie Nelia, and uncle Rudy. Our attention was raising my daughter Trisha and nephew, JR. For me, when we arrived here my life was my daughter, my husband, and the people in the house.

One thing I would like to pass on to pinays: as a Filipina mother, I wish I taught my children how to speak our own language and dialect. To Filipinas starting a family, think about your dialect. If you know it already, don't lose it. Pass it on. My hope is that pinays can help pinays around the world, continue what we are doing, and not give up.